Ski Vacation Travel Tips

by Jessica

July 28th, 2010

No matter what kind of trip you’re planning, it’s always good to get travel tips beforehand. Learning about what the local food specialties are, or what gestures are offensive and should be avoided, or how to ask where the toilet is in the local lingo – these are all good things to know before you arrive in a new place. Even if you’re planning something as simple as a ski trip, there are things you probably know to look into before you get there.

But there are other things you might not consider until it’s too late – i.e., after you’ve booked your trip. The list below includes some of the things you should think about before you even book your ski trip.

>> And don’t forget to read all about how to find cheap airfare for a ski vacation!

Ski Trip Travel Tips

  • Can you travel mid-week and take advantage of deals? – Lots of people squeeze weekend ski trips into the winter months, not taking off a solid week or two but getting out and enjoying the slopes for a couple of days without needing to use up precious vacation time. The problem with that is weekends become extremely expensive for anyone who’s on a budget. If your schedule is more flexible, be sure to look into taking your ski trip mid-week. You may find prices on everything from airfare to hotels to ski lifts are drastically reduced. Who knows, you may save so much that you can even spend an extra day skiing.
  • Is there a smaller ski resort that’s cheaper? – The bigger and more famous ski resorts may be the ones everyone knows about, but they’re also usually the most expensive ones. Any area that gets lots of snow in the winter, however, also has smaller ski areas that may not have the best runs but are often significantly cheaper. Not only that, lesser-known ski resorts have added benefits like smaller crowds and shorter lines.
  • How much does it cost to check an oversize bag? – We’re all getting used to the new fees pretty much every airline is charging for checking bags, but what about those oversized bags you’ll need to carry all your ski equipment in? Yeah, that’s going to cost even more. Oversize bag fees vary by airline, so do your homework before you book your ticket to see if you can save a little bit by booking with an airline that has lower fees (just make sure that savings isn’t wiped out by a much higher ticket price overall). Also check on the weigh limit for that oversized bag, because you’ll probably be able to pack it with more than just skis to help limit the number of bags you’re carrying.
  • Are any ski resorts offering special deals? – In years past, some ski resorts offered discounts or credits above and beyond the usual ski package deals, and it’s worth checking around to see if any resorts are offering interesting specials when you’re planning your trip. For instance, some hotels have given guests $20-30 in hotel credit for checked baggage fees. Other resorts have offered special deals on equipment rentals so guests wouldn’t have to bring all their ski equipment. So in addition to any general deals ski resorts are offering, look at special extras they’re offering, too.
  • What about renting ski equipment instead? – If skiing is only one of the things you’d like to do on your trip, maybe hauling all your own ski equipment isn’t a good idea. While the quality of the ski equipment available for rent may not necessarily be what you would choose if you were buying your own, but if your vacation includes only a day of skiing then it’s probably easier to rent rather than bring your own ski gear. Not only will you not have to worry about carrying oversized equipment bags around, you also won’t have to pay the oversized bag fees.
  • Will you need special equipment on a rental car? – Unless you’re staying at a ski resort that has airport transfers and you’ll never need to have your own wheels, chances are you’ll be renting a car for your trip. And if you’re renting a car and you’re not renting ski equipment at the resort, you’ll need to make sure the right gear is on top of the car for carrying your ski equipment. Ski racks usually cost extra, so shop around to find the car rental company with the best deal. Another extra that’s nice to have – especially if you’ll be visiting several ski resorts around one area – is a GPS unit, so that’s another price to compare between car rental companies.
  • Can the kids ski for free? – Taking the whole family on a ski vacation? All of the little costs add up quickly enough when it’s just one or two people, so you can imagine how quickly they add up with a whole family. You won’t always find spectacular deals like “kids ski free,” but it’s always worth looking – and there may be other promotions to encourage families to come out for a ski vacation by helping to offset the costs. Free ski lessons (i.e. childcare) for the little ones, deals on rental equipment for the kids’ gear, etc. Look at ski resorts that are geared more toward families, and you’re more likely to find family-oriented deals.

photo by Dennis from Atlanta

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