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The key to cheap travel is knowing the best time to find cheap flights and cheap hotels. So we created the CheapTickets 2009 Value Travel Forecast, a month-by-month guide of top destinations that offer the most savings for travelers.

To help identify the best budget-friendly travel opportunities for next year, we analyzed hotels booked on CheapTickets from December 2007 to November 2008 and calculated the percentage of savings compared to peak rates.

Here are the winners (and honorable mentions) for 2009:

Italy vacationsJANUARY: 37% savings in New York
In addition to a 37 percent savings on New York hotels compared to peak rates, retailers are buzzing with post-holiday sales, and big-city attractions are easily accessible now that the holiday crowds have come and gone. Visitors can also take advantage of New York City’s Restaurant Week in January, giving them access to some of the city’s best restaurants for a fraction of the price.

Other January cheap vacation destinations: Santa Barbara, CA and Hong Kong

FEBRUARY: 42% savings in Italy
In February, Italy is just starting to come out of its winter cloak, and budget travelers will appreciate the lower airfare and savings of up to 42 percent on Italy hotels when compared to the high season. February visitors can experience one of Italy’s most famous festivals, Carnevale.

Other February cheap vacation destinations: France and Colorado Springs, CO

MARCH: 53% savings in Portland, ME

This historic, seacoast town is filled with galleries, one-of-kind boutiques and incredible restaurants serving everything from creamy clam chowder and lobster rolls to nouvelle New England cuisine.

Other March cheap vacation destinations: Reno, NV and Canada

APRIL: 58% savings in Brazil
In April, the summer surge of tourists in Brazil is complete, which means fewer crowds, but the same great tropical weather.

Other April cheap vacation destinations: Santa Fe, NM and Columbus, GA

Lake tahoe hotels MAY: 38% savings in Lake Tahoe
For those who love the outdoors, Lake Tahoe is the ideal destination in May. The lake is popular for water sports and beach activities, and with 38 percent savings on Lake Tahoe hotels compared to peak winter rates, going during the off-season means affording activities like a guided cruise or dining at the many lake front restaurants.

Other May cheap vacation destinations: Denver, CO and Atlanta, GA

JUNE: 38% savings in Egypt
With 38 percent savings compared to peak rates, June visitors can relax on the wondrous Red Sea or Sinai coasts, take in the high culture of Cairo or even leisurely float down the Egyptian Nile on a river boat.

Other June cheap vacation destinations: Columbia, SC and Dallas, TX

JULY: 47% savings in West Palm Beach, FL
Of course you can sit on the beach, but there are also cozy pubs, energetic dance clubs and concert halls for the traveler looking to have some summer fun.

Other July cheap vacation destinations: Baton Rouge, LA and Riverside, CA

Tuscon hotels AUGUST: 52% savings in Tuscon, AZ
With temperatures averaging 103 degrees in August, Tucson may not seem like a late summer’s dream. However, with 52 percent savings on Tuscon hotels compared to peak rates, travelers can take refuge and save big in the serenity of some of Arizona’s finest spas.

Other August cheap vacation destinations: New Orleans, LA and Las Vegas, NV

SEPTEMBER: 30% savings in Orlando, FL
Theme Parks report their lowest attendance during the month of September, making it the perfect time to book a cheap Orlando hotel.

Other September cheap vacation destinations: St. Martin and Puerto Rico

OCTOBER: 25% savings in Mexico
Getting a great deal to Mexico is as simple as knowing when to go. Jet-set to Mexico in October instead of a winter month and save 25 percent on Mexico hotels compared to high-season rates.

Other October cheap vacation destinations: Hilton Head, SC and Maui, HI

Irelandvacation NOVEMBER: 43% savings in Ireland
Typically known as one of the more expensive European destinations, visiting in November will boast a savings of 43 percent on Ireland hotels compared to peak rates. This beautiful country also offers travelers a great selection of free tourist attractions, such as the Hill of Tara and Glendalough.

Other November cheap vacation destinations: Jacksonville, FL and Greece

DECEMBER: 56% savings in Napa-Sonoma, CA
December in Napa is every wine connoisseur’s dream. You’ll miss the beauty of the ripening vines, but have full access to all the wineries and even the wine train with very little crowds, all the while enjoying a 56 percent savings on Napa/Sonoma hotels.

Other December cheap vacation destinations: Seattle, WA and Washington, D.C.

CheapTickets resources:

Tagged: City, FREE!, Off-season, Tips & advice

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