1. Book ASAP! : Set airfare alerts and check hotel prices. Booking early can be very useful especially if you plan to use miles/points. I plan to book by NYE by the end of March.
2. Travel just before prices jump: sometimes your schedule might allow you to book a Thursday evening flight just before prices triple. For instance traveling to Wednesday 3/27/2018 during evening hours can cost much less than the next day on. Even if you have to pay for an airport hotel, the savings can be substantial.
2A. Push the return: in the same vein, instead of returning on 4/8/2018, try 4/9 or 4/10 if you can. In my family’s case this is not possible because to us missing class is a no-no, but I know plenty of people who think missing one day won’t hurt.
3. Points and miles shine in high season: assuming there is award space available, there is no better time to use your points/miles reserve than when you can only travel during high season.
4. It has to be low or shoulder season somewhere worth going. A tool like Google Flights or Momondo let you see all the destinations in the world and find those at great prices. you might find that one or more of the spots on your wish list might be on sale.
5. Be flexible. Continuing from above, we have a list of favorite places to visit this year, in our case we might swap Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm for Florida, then visit FL late this year.