It’s the middle of winter and — while there are some of you that love the snow because you ski, ice skate, or whatever you winter-loving people do — I personally cannot stop thinking about when it is going to be warm again. I love the spring. There is a fresh smell in the air, people are falling in love, and I can finally take off that Old Navy hoodie. So what better way to celebrate the start of such a great time than to go on a spring break vacation?

Illustration by Joanna EbertsThere are tons of spring break packages out there offering you a deal on all sorts of things — from three nights in a local timeshare in Mexico to seven nights in a penthouse suite in Las Vegas — but these deals are not made as “one size fits all.” There might be a good deal for that penthouse in Las Vegas, but it is still too expensive, and that timeshare in the boonies of Mexico might be too sketchy for your style. So, I have a few tricks up my sleeve that will shave off a few dollars of the spring break that best suits you.

Book Early

This cannot be stressed enough. Make sure you have your itinerary and all the necessary travel documents at least a month or two before your trip. This prevents mistakes from hurrying and you will be able to catch the early bird deals that they use to lure people to travel before the hotels and flights start filling up.

Stay away from canned trips

Companies like promise you the best deals for spring break, but that is not true. They come with a lot of fluff: Agents on call to answer questions (that’s what the info desk is for) and coupons that you will never use are deals that may not be flexible enough for you. You are better off putting your travel dates in website forms on Expedia or Orbitz and watch a decrease in price, sometimes as big as two hundred dollars.

Switch around the dates

So you’re now on Expedia and your looking at flights and hotels (combining the two gives you some great deals), you would still like your dream trip to be a little cheaper. It helps to have a flexible schedule, after all, you don’t really care about that 8 a.m. class you have on Monday when you come back — so try flying on weekdays. On Mondays or Tuesdays, for instance, the flights and hotels are cheaper because there is less traffic. This can usually move your price down by about $80.

Don’t forget about the coupons

What is great about sites like Expedia and Orbitz is that when you book a flight and hotel they usually have coupons all over the internet (just google “Orbitz/Expedia coupons”). Depending on where you’re going, you could find discounts ranging from $50 off if you’re going to a nearby place like Florida to $200 off if you’re hitting the Caribbean.

Whatever your plan is for this spring, following the four easy steps above should save you a lot of money. Happy hunting!