Cheap Ski Vacations
For many hard core skiers, the end of summer immediately triggers thoughts of the first snow and early skiing. For the casual thrill-seeker, planning a cheap ski vacation may not occur until the last minute. Whatever the level of enthusiasm, it's certain that traveling to the top ski destinations in the United States, Europe, or elsewhere can be quite expensive. But there are things you can do when planning your next cheap ski holiday that will help you fit winter fun into your budget.
1. Plan your ski trip outside the peak season. In the Northern Hemisphere, passes and tickets are generally cheaper during September and October, and then again in March and April. This isn't to say that discount ski vacations aren't to be had during the peak months. However, rates do tend to go up across the board during the peak months. Also, remember that peak season may differ slightly by location, so do your research.
2. Take a cheap ski vacation during the week. Weekends on the slopes are almost always going to be the busiest times, and travel and resort operators know this. If your schedule is even a little flexible, do yourself a favor and compare rates on airfare, resorts, and lift passes between weekends and weekdays. You'll likely find significant savings.
3. Ski vacation packages are usually the best way to save. There is great savings to be found in organized ski packages. You have several options for finding these packages. First, travel aggregators like Expedia and Orbitz have special sections of their site set aside to help you find discount ski vacations. Another option is to look for specialized winter travel carriers in the location you're targeting. For example, if you're thinking about heading to Colorado, then a company like SnowVentures may be just what you need to save money on your ski trip.
4. For your next ski vacation, travel in a group. Whether as a family or with a group of friends, many ski operators offer special group rates on resorts, lift passes, and rentals. It may sound boring, but even going with a tourist group for your next ski holiday could net you some serious savings.
5. If you're looking for last-minute ski deals, try a travel agent. As many travel agents tend to buy allotments of tickets during the winter ski season, they'll frequently offer last-minute discounts to ensure that they sell most if not all of their allotment. Don't be afraid to ask them if they have a cheap ski vacation available. Travel agents and resort owners will sometimes have specials set aside for people who ask for cheaper rates.
Here are some other tidbits of advice that may help you have a cheap ski holiday:
• Consider less-traveled places for skiing. In the U.S., for example, have you thought about a Michigan ski vacation?
• Save money by packing your own lunch for eating on the mountain
• Consider if your group truly needs to rent a car. Shuttles often go from the airport to resorts.
• Consider a bed and breakfast rather than a resort.
• Follow some of Gadling travel writer Amy Chen's advice for how to find affordable ski deals.
Photo by eric.surfdude from Flickr