5 Tips to Save Money on Your Ski Vacation
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Winter is just around the corner! Soon, the snow will start falling, which means ski season is upon us. As a life-long skier, this is my favorite time of the year. I always look forward to planning ski getaways!
Folks who collect flexible credit card points are already ahead of the game when it comes to saving on a ski vacation. Because you can use points to save money on flights to terrific winter destinations, like Colorado and Utah. But flights are just one part of the equation. That’s why we put together a list of a handful of other tricks that can save you along the way.
Before you book your ski vacation, be sure to check out these useful tips, which can save you time and money.
1. Check Your Skis or Snowboard for FREE Just by Having Certain Credit Cards!
Nowadays most airlines (besides Southwest) charge up to $30 per checked bag. This means a family of 4 checking skis could pay $240 round-trip just in baggage fees.
And unfortunately, Southwest doesn’t fly to all of the top ski destinations. So if you have to fly another airline and want to avoid out-of-pocket checked baggage fees, you should consider applying for a credit card that has a free checked baggage perk. Or a card that offers a statement credit for travel fees, which includes paying for checked bags.
2. Consider Airbnb Instead of a Ski Resort
When traveling with family or friends, paying for multiple hotel rooms near a mountain can get pricey. That’s why you might consider searching Airbnb, or another vacation rental site, to book a house or condominium close to the mountain.
Not only can you save money on accommodations, but a rental means you might also get access to a kitchen. So folks who like to cook can save money on eating out as well! Plus, most vacation rentals have washing machines and dryers. So you won’t have to travel home with your wet ski gear.
And you can even use credit card rewards to offset the cost of your Airbnb stay. For example, you can earn easy to redeem miles with the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card. Just pay for an Airbnb stay with your card. Then, use miles to “erase” the charge!
3. Even If You Own Gear, Ski and Snowboard Rentals Might Make Sense
Typically, ski and snowboard rental shops will have the latest and greatest skis and snowboards. So if you don’t have your own gear, don’t rush out to buy $1000s worth of fancy equipment. And even if you do own gear, you might consider renting to avoid the headache of lugging your skis around. Million Mile Secrets team member Keith remembers checking his snowboard when traveling to Park City for one day of skiing. He says he’ll always rent gear in the future for short trips because of the time he wasted at the airport waiting for his board.
Plus, sometimes ski resorts have packages that include rentals and lift tickets for less than the cost of buying both separately.
If you decide to rent skis or a snowboard, I recommend talking to folks at the rental shop to let them know what kind of skier or rider you are. Let them know what you have liked and disliked in the past. Or if you’re unsure, just let them style you out in what they think is best.
Throughout your stay, you can test out different skis and styles. This is a great way to figure out what types of skis or board you like best if you ever decide to make a purchase in the future.
The trickiest part for skiers is getting the right sized boot. Don’t fret if you need to go back and change your gear if it’s not fitting right. That’s what the ski techs are there for! People often spend a whole day (or longer) in uncomfortable ski boots without trying a different pair. Don’t let this happen to you! You’re supposed to be comfortable skiing.
4. Use The Local Bus System
Almost all ski towns have great bus systems going to and from town. This is an easy way to avoid the costs of getting a rental car and having to find and pay for parking every morning before you hit the slopes. Often times, taking public transportation can actually be faster than driving because they drop you right in front of the mountain. This is much better than paying to park and then having to take a shuttle or walking to the mountain.
Check the bus system schedule beforehand and see if there’s a stop close to where you’re staying.
5. Buy Lift Tickets in Advance and Check for Multiple Day Passes
If you don’t have a ski pass for the entire season, I recommend checking for resort specific deals. Most mountains offer a discount for buying lift tickets in advance. Plus, you can usually save money buying multi-day passes.
There’s a good chance you’re going to get a much better deal online than at the ticket office window. This goes for ski school and lessons, too.
There are only 2 months until the snow starts falling and the lifts start spinning! Can’t wait to ski or ride this winter?! ME EITHER!
For rates and fees of the Gold Delta SkyMiles card, please click here.
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For rates and fees of the Hilton Aspire Card, please click here.
If you have any other money savings ski vacation tips, feel free to share in the comments below!
Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)