Sun, Snow or Sail: Money-Saving Tips for Spring Vacations

PHOTO: In this Oct. 19, 2014 file photo, the cruise ship Norwegian Sun is docked for a shore day in Puntarenas, Costa Rica.PlayJoe Kafka/AP Photos
WATCH Planning Your Next Vacation Early May Help You Save

Spring break is fast approaching and for most travelers, that means one of three things.

Sun, snow or sail.

The type of vacation you choose is, of course, personal preference. But in any case, there's no reason to spend a dollar more than necessary.

Here are money-saving spring break tips for beach, ski and cruise vacations:

Sail:

This is what the travel industry calls "wave season," the time of year when cruise companies put itineraries on sale in order to lock in bookings for the year. Besides discounted rates, be on the lookout for cabin upgrades, discounts on shore excursions and on-board ship credit. For example, Norwegian Cruise Line's "free at sea" program lets travelers choose between free beverages, free specialty dining, free wi-fi or free shore excursions. Book in a certain cabin category and all of those are free.

Silversea cruises offer free pre-cruise hotels and up to $2,000 in on-board spending credit. Princess Cruises offers up to $600 in on-board spending per stateroom.

See: The Best Cruise Ships of the Year

Snow:

It's wise to book now if you're planning a ski getaway. Famous ski areas like Mammouth, Breckenridge, Deer Valley, Utah and Sun Valley Idaho are experiencing good snow.

Those driving to their ski destinations can wait a little longer to book to see how the snow falls. In any case, be sure to consider condo and home rental options in addition to hotels for extra space and to save money on meals by utilizing the kitchen. Airbnb has entire homes for rent in addition to rooms in homes; HomeExchange.com lets people swap, and other than the membership fee, the trade is free of charge.

See: 5 ways to Travel Free

Sun:

Book now. Right now. This is the most popular kind of winter trip. In fact, TripAdvisor's just-released report of the top 10 winter vacation destinations found nine of those were in warm-weather locales. The best deals, according to the site, are found in Cancun, Fort Lauderdale and Orlando.

See: Nation's best Family Beaches