It’s no secret, ski trips can really get up there in price when it comes to family vacations. That’s why most people try to score the best ski deals possible. Between the flights, lodging, lift passes and general spending, stuff really starts to add up. Not to mention the added expenses like pet boarding, house sitting, and time off work. The good news is, you don’t have to sell the farm to hit the powder. These tips, with some planning, will help you score the best ski deals.
So How Do You Score Ski Deals Anyway?
As a professional travel blogger, I’ve seen my share of ways to save when it comes to travel. With a plethora of awesome budget travel websites at your fingertips, you too can take in the knowledge. But in case your fingers don’t have time to do the walking, I’ve listed the best tips for you to find the best ski deals as well as some overall tips to apply to all your travel planning.
Sign Up for Alerts
There are some pretty awesome bulk travel sites out there that have been selling experiences and discount travel packages for years. Sites like Travelocity, Hotwire and Expedia all offer travel packages and constantly run deals. If you subscribe to them for alerts (most let you specify your destination) then you’ll always have the latest deals in your inbox meaning, you can save on flights. Airfare Watchdog is a great site for this.
Join a Budget Flight Database
I can’t preach this enough, you need to join a budget flight database like Scott’s Cheap Flights. I absolutely love this site. I paid full price for my membership (one year was $39) and I get daily price alerts when crazy low fares come on the market. This means I can get the best possible prices so I don’t have to worry so much about the cost of lodging or lift passes. Plus, you might just find yourself booking an exotic mid-year adventure.
Cash in on Your Credit Card Points
So a beautiful thing happened two years ago when I joined the American Express Delta Sky Miles Business Platinum Card. Not only did I start earning point for dollar, but I got a 70k mile sign up bonus and I get an extra 15k bonus miles every year for spending a certain amount. I also get a free domestic flight, priority boarding, free checked bags and a lot more. There is another great card called the Chase Sapphire Card that gives awesome perks as well.
Whatever card you choose to join, be sure to understand their enrollment process, whether or not they have annual dues, what the interest rate is like, and whether or not you can use your points for anything (like car rental, lodging, or flights). Once you’ve found the right card, it’s important to use it as much as possible and pay it off so you can maximize your point earning potential.
Subscribe to Tour Operators
Now that you have the best tips for airfare, you’re going to want to score the best ski deals. You can do this by subscribing to a tour operator like Alpine Elements for inbox updates on their discounted packages. Like right now they have packages under 500 quid per person that get you flights, lift passes, lodging and catering, a deal I wouldn’t know about if I was not subscribed to their newsletter. This is not the same as a bulk seller like Expedia. This is an individual operator.
Know When to Book
Timing is everything when it comes to booking. If you book over the summer or fall, you’re likely going to get higher prices. You want to book your ski trip early to mid-winter to get the best ski deals. Tour operators are always looking to fill up their spots and often slash prices this time of year so they can reach capacity. When they do this, the prices become more attractive and you can likely get your extended family and friends on board with coming along too.
Extra Tips, Shop Winter Wear in Mid to Late January
If you’re planning an epic ski trip then you most definitely have to be ready for the cold. While most ski resorts rent out snowsuits and ski boots, you still have to maintain your own base layer and be ready for the cold when you’re off the slopes. So what does one wear when they are in a wintery wonderland?
It’s important to first have the right base layer. This means a thin, fitting, dry wicking material that moves with your body. Think of it as an extra layer of skin to keep your naturally sweating skin dry. Making sure your body is free of moisture is the most important step to staying warm. You also want to have dry wicking (preferably wool) socks for the same reason.
After your base layer, you’ll want to have a good sweatshirt or fleece lined jacket as well as fleece lined leggings or waterproof pants for your mid layer. Finally, you’ll need a proper winter coat. Something waterproof and lined. Once you have all of your winter garments in order, it’s important to make sure you have the right gloves, scarf, hat and possibly headband (to cover ears). These items should be chosen based on their function. I like to have gloves that I can use my phone with and a scarf that is massive like a blanket. While these would all make great Christmas gifts, you can certainly save your family the money and get them at a much bigger discount if you wait until after the holidays.
Don’t get played by shopping for your winter wear during fall. You’ll pay the highest prices when you could be paying up to half the price if you only shopped in mid winter. When it comes to base layers, jackets, and cold weather accessories, you don’t want to skimp on brand or quality. But shopping full price for good brands can possibly add up to even more than your travel. Check sites like Amazon or go straight to the brand like the Northface and stalk their deals. Trust me, you will most certainly thank me for this tip later.
Skiing with your family or a group of friends does not have to break you. You can have a memorable family vacation and not worry so much about the spending. If you follow my tips above for the best ski deals, you’ll be well on your way to saving a ton of money on booking, travel, expenses and even your winter gear. Is this your first time skiing? Check out my first ever ski trip to Lake Tahoe.