Dream vacations come in all shapes and sizes. For some, it may be visiting every ballpark nationwide. For others, it’s island hopping in the Caribbean.

Yet nearly three-quarters of Americans haven’t taken their dream vacation because they think it’s too expensive, according to a recent Bank of America survey. But dream vacations don’t have to be out of reach. Ted Allen, travel expert and Food Network host, has teamed with Bank of America to provide smart budget travel tips:

• Monitor airfare and hotel rates a few months out to potentially save hundreds of dollars on last minute price surges. Travel during off-peak times to stretch your budget and avoid crowds.

• Use a credit card that rewards you for purchases made throughout the year. “My BankAmericard Travel Rewards credit card earns an unlimited 1.5 points per dollar on all purchases, and since my points don’t expire I can save them up to offset future travel expenses,” says Allen. “And it’s great when I travel overseas because there are no foreign transaction fees.”

• Establishing a personal connection with travel representatives helps open doors for hidden upgrades and deals. For example, with one phone call you may be able to check a bag for free.

Don’t defer your dream vacation forever. Simple tips can make your dream a reality.