goodGIFTS Cheap Winter Vacations IN FOUR EASY STEPS by Rick Seaney Contributor The holidays can be a killer shopping cooking and family visiting not to mention the cleaning up. So you deserve a vacation or maybe you dont but I wont tell. Fortunately winter is the perfect time for a cheap getaway. Heres how to create one in four easy steps but you must act now. STEP ONE CHOOSE THE RIGHT DESTINATION Some destination ideas that wont break the bank The Caribbean will be pricy but there are often a few relative bargains including Puerto Rico the Bahamas and sometimes Bermuda especially from New York. Flights to Florida are usually good deals especially Fort Lauderdale Miami Orlando and Tampa. Skiers should look at two generally cheap cities Boston which offers easy access to New England resorts or Denver the gateway to excellent skiing in the Rockies. STEP TWO FLY WHEN ITS CHEAP Find some of the best domestic deals of the year after the first week of January through mid-February. Make it even cheaper by flying during the week Tuesdays and Wednesdays but Saturdays can be cheap too. Tip Avoid flights on Fridays and Sundays which is when youll typically pay top dollar. STEP THREE LOOK AT PACKAGE DEALS Some airlines offer packages which include flights plus a hotel deal and sometimes even a rental car. Look at these options carefully though the hotels may be more than youd be willing to pay normally but the overall discount may put the total package within reach. STEP FOUR BOOK NOW Some airfare deals require advance purchase from 7 - 21 days before departure so book quickly. And remember to fly sooner rather than later because once Presidents Day weekend comes along in February airfares shoot up in anticipation of Spring Break. Rick Seaney is co-founder of FareCompare an airfare search site devoted to helping shoppers find the cheapest flights possible. FareCompare also offers easy-to-use practical information to help travelers save on every step of their journey.