With skiing being so expensive, you could be forgiven for assuming that a ski holiday could put an irreparable dent in your savings. Fear not.
There’s never been a better time to go skiing, what with several travel portals offering steal deals for travelers since the past few seasons. But mind you, when we say ‘cheap’ you can’t really expect to have a rollicking ski trip that costs you under USD 500. A more realistic version will set you back by at least USD 800/person, for a weekend trip, especially when you take into account the traveling, accommodation, renting the equipment, and the likes.
But provided you keep a few things in mind, you can always cut down on the extravagance without compromising on the fun elements. Here’s how you do it.
Choose your destination wisely
The best skiing destinations will always seem appealing, but they can turn out to be equally expensive as well. Therefore, it’s better to forgo the glamor, and head to lesser destinations that are all about the skiing. Having said that, travel portals like Expedia, along with Ski.com offer some awesome deals even for top-notch destinations. It goes without saying that picking the right deal involves hours of patient research and analysis. If you are in doubt, heading to a trusted travel agent will help you get your queries answered.
Whole hog vs. DIY
Packaged deals, more often than not, tend to cover everything including the travel expense, stays, meals, lift passes, and all there is. This works well if you are traveling with a group, as you may land even better deals. On the flip side, though, packaged deals never leave room for any tweaks, so you can’t really indulge in some spur-of-the-moment adventures. So, if you’re heading as a group with plain skiing on your mind, a packaged deal would suit you well.
On the other hand, if you’re going solo, you may want to have a holiday that’s tailor-made for you, as you certainly won’t be looking for huge rooms or family-friendly hotels. DIY is the way to go; and if you need assistance, there are plenty of travel agents to head to.
Time your trip well
If young children aren’t in the picture, you can easily avoid scheduling a trip during the school holidays. Early December, most of January, mid-March, and late-April are the times when most ski towns see moderate to low business, and are actually handing out deals on a platter.
Snag it early
As with all travel deals, booking early definitely gives you an edge when it comes to saving money. Savings may be in the form of slashed rates (percentile discounts) or valued add-ons (free extended stays). The downside to this is that later modifications to your trip may not be entertained, and you’d actually end up spending more to accommodate the tweaks in your plan.
Or nail it late
The travel business is tricky, and highly contradictory. So, where on one hand you have the early-bird mayhem, you also stand to gain some last-minute steals. If you are willing to take the risk of scheduling last minute, you may actually land a reasonable package in the lull period (early December, mid January, or post-Easter). Keep in mind, though, that last-minute deals may, at times, only be very basic, so stay away from these if you hold lofty expectations.
Look out for value additions
Always keep an eye out for freebies that suit you. There are packages that let your child in for free, allow you to rent equipment for less, or give discounts if your group is large enough. These freebies may or may not be advertised, so you can contact the hotels directly, or ask your travel agent for more information. For families or largeish groups, living in a sale-catered apartment or a villa will work out to be cheaper than living in hotel, where you’d have to fish out extra for meals.
… whatever you do, ensure that you do not compromise on safety measures in order to save a few bucks. This means that you absolutely have to shell out a decent amount on insurance, considering how risky skiing can be. Also, if you happen to be a beginner, do make sure that you take lessons and use the right gear to make the experience memorable, comfortable, and safe.
There are endless ways to go hunting for money-saving holidays. But seriously, don’t go overboard with the penny-pinching part, lest you suck the fun out of your holiday merriment. Just relax, and remember to have as much fun while booking your trip as you will on the holiday.