Timing is very important when it comes to prepwork. What season is it? Is it a busy season? Is it hot? Is it cold?
You really have to take this into consideration because it can reflect how much money you'll be out for.
May is a good time because it was the lower section of the year for visitor movement. No important national holidays or specific heavy travel times, so prices are lower for accommodation and flight.
One of the reasons I chose mid May was because it was during the seasonal change from Spring to Summer and would be very comfortable. The temperature highs were very mild, around 70-75F and went up to 85F by the end of May. There was also very little rain. Excellent if you want to flaunt your stuff.
Another reason was that the plane tickets were cheap. From California the plane ticket was only $600 roundtrip. I do regret choosing the cheaper option however and will go the better route, mostly because of safety concerns. My company works on aviation computers (avionics) and my boss mentioned that Chinese aircraft companies have a bad rep in safety due to pure carelessness and being cheap. And if you have an issue with your flight it becomes a large situation, as I have witnessed. China Eastern already has a barrage of bad reviews, but my experience comes from how they tried to make a quick buck off me.
In the morning I arrived at Narita and ate breakfast there. An hour later, unfortunately, food poisoning occurred from the contaminated food. So I was locked in the bathroom for 4 hours and missed my flight. (It was definitely from Narita because I skipped dinner the night before to flush myself after eat large portions of beef.) Biggest pain in the arse, literally.
Thank god I booked from AMEX using my AMEX card. They definitely helped sort things out and since I booked with insurance they would've been able to put me on a direct flight without penalty back to LA. China Eastern wanted to charge me $366 to change my flight and made up an extra class IN ECONOMY to get more out of me. Thanks to AMEX I was only out $40 and got on the next flight out. This whole ordeal included an hour and a half conversation with AMEX on the phone.
Generally if you show up to get on your flight the carrier/company doesn't have to charge you or should only charge $80/90.
Next time I will go the better route, even though it'll be more expensive.