Taking a ski vacation to a world renowned resort, such as Vail, can be fun for the entire family. It can also be expensive, very expensive. Ski vacations are notoriously “wallet emptiers.” By following the steps below, you can save a great deal on your family vacation, and maybe even stay a couple of extra nights with the money you save.
1. Hop online and check out the deals that are available at the ski resort you have chosen. If no deals are listed online for the resort’s website, make a phone call to the resort and inquire about their deals. You’ll never know if there’s a deal unless you ask. Some businesses offer discounts or deals for people who use cash or a certain type of credit card, but these deals aren’t advertised. Additionally, many places will give discounts to people who are members of the AAA auto club. Always ask before shelling out any dough.
2. Before booking a hotel, do a little research to find out if there are any “stay for free” deals. Some hotels will actually give you a night’s stay for free when you book a certain number of nights. These deals may go on throughout the ski season, but may only apply to weekdays or certain weeks. It’s really worth checking out as some hotels can cost over $500 per night for a “no-frills” room.
3. Some people are really opposed to a package deal, but when going on a ski vacation, packages are almost always the way to go. Take some time and do your homework before committing to a package deal. Check out the price of a combination flight and hotel deal, such as those offered by nationally recognized travel websites like Orbitz.com, Travelocity or Priceline. Next, check out the cost of package deals offered by the resort. Some resort hotels will offer deals for rooms and ski rentals or lift tickets. Next, it’s time to do some math. First, use the flight and hotel package deal. Additional costs in this deal are going to be the cost of a room or rooms, equipment rentals, and lift tickets.
Once you have your final figure, move on to the room and equipment or lift ticket package deal. Remember to add in the cost of the flight for your final figure. If your math is correct, you should see which package is going to offer you the greatest savings.
4. One great way to save big on a winter destination is change where you are staying. This doesn’t mean you can’t go to Vail like you promised your children, it just means you may not be staying in a hotel that’s part of the resort. Consider consulting with a real estate agent in the Vail area and inquire about any homes or condos for rent during the time you want to take your holiday. A condo may initially appear more expensive than a hotel, but you can cook in the condo, which is a huge savings compared to eating out three times a day. Parking in a condo is likely free, which is another savings from hotel parking or resort parking. One of the best benefits of renting a home or condo is the privacy. You will have the type of privacy you have at home, rather than listening to people partying at all hours of the evening.
5. One of the biggest mistakes people can make when booking a winter vacation is waiting too long to make reservations. Hotels fill up quickly, and they are in high demand during the peak season. For the procrastinator, this means that you are going to pay dearly for a room. Additionally, if you plan on renting a vehicle while you’re on vacation, waiting until the last minute may mean you and your family will be “hoofing it.”
Of course, there are many other ways to save big on the overall cost of a winter vacation. The tips above are only “the tip of the iceberg” when it comes to vacation savings.
When booking a flight online, remember that prices are often reset on Wednesday mornings and that planning ahead is the best way to ensure you get what you need, without experiencing any unpleasant surprises.