I try to plan far ahead because I hate moving after I have settled somewhere.
I find myself a hillside and dig inside. I make room according to what my future needs may be, then I dig down and create a safe room from which to start my mining operations. For some reason I dedicate tons of effort to this underground room, the last one I made had a farm and a huge room where trees could grow, it was so refined that the only way you could tell it was deep under the earth was because there were no windows.
After I get a set of iron armor and enough food, I go outside (on the surface) and destroy the hill. I build a fortress on top of where the hill was, and a spider-proof wall all around the area. Then I start tending to my crops and taking in sheeps, cows and whatnot.
At this point I start exploring and connecting all points of interest to my base through simple cobblestone paths. But that's another story... my main base is always the first one I settle in.