Are you ready for a vacation? If you start saving at the beginning of the year, then you could end up creating a genuine dream trip. Keep in mind that if you’re working on a budget, chances are you won’t be able to tour Europe or book a first class cabin on a cruise. However, you could pick a single European destination and find a cruise bargain if you know where to look. It all comes down to the planning.

Choose Your Destination Wisely

On some level, if you’ve never been to a place then you don’t know what you’re missing. This means picking out your destination should be easy. Start with how you’re going to get there. Suppose you want to go to Hawaii or Rome. Check out the flights for your ideal vacation time. The further out you book, the cheaper that will be. Now, you might discover that Rome and Hawaii are out of your budget range. That doesn’t mean you can’t find a great history place or a wonderful beach closer to home. Remember, anywhere you go will be a new experience.

Choose Your Time

Travel agents will tell you about “peak times.” These are when everyone wants to go on vacation. It’s also when you should avoid. For instance, if you want a great deal on a beach rental, go before Memorial Day or after Labor Day. The prices drop off dramatically. If you’ve got your heart set on a cruise, then you definitely want to go off-season. Big savings then.

Choose Your Accommodations

A vacation is all about exploring your destination. It’s not about staying in a hotel room. Yes, you want comfort but that doesn’t mean four-star accommodations every time. Every town you would visit has a range of options from hotels to hostels to vacation rentals by owners. You might actually discover that staying away from a hotel is going to be your best bargain. If you’re traveling with your family, then you’ll want to pick a place that has some sort of kitchen. You’ll save a lot on food if you can have breakfast or lunch at your vacation homebase. Even storing snacks you buy on the outside will be way better then raiding a hotel mini-bar.

Choose Your Transportation

Part of your frugal vacation planning will involve transportation. It basically boils down to rental car or not. If you’re going to some place like New York, you don’t need a car. If you’re going to a beach town and staying in a house, you might be able to get by with public transportation. Check out your destination to see what options you have. If you want to go exploring, then consider renting a car for just a couple of days on your trip. Perhaps towards the end of your vacation you can use the car to get you back to the airport.

Where are you going on your vacation this year?