Winter is coming and it’s time to dust off the skis. But how are you going to afford the family vacation to the mountains when skiing and snowboarding can be so expensive? Of course, you’ll need to get to the mountain and find a place to stay. But don’t forget about renting equipment and paying for lift tickets or lessons in your ski vacation budget. I love saving money when I travel, so here are a few of my best tips to save money on your ski vacation.
We want to say thanks to Dosh for partnering with us on this article to help you save money on your ski vacation.
How to save money on your ski vacation
When you go on a ski vacation, there are a lot of expenses to think about. Of course, you’ll have to get to your mountain destination. Then, you’ll need a place to sleep and store your gear. Lift tickets and lessons make this sport one of the more expensive winter hobbies for families. And, of course, you’ll need to eat and drink during your trip.
Use miles to fly to your ski vacation
Whenever I travel for a ski vacation, the first thing I look for is a way to use my airline miles to pay for the trip. However, using miles may not always be the right choice. When pricing out domestic travel, always compare cash prices vs. how many miles are required to book the flights. For example, you might find tickets for $200 round trip, but the airline is asking 60,000 miles for the same flights.
This is why I use a combination of credit cards to earn rewards. I like having airline credit cards that earn miles towards free flights, waive checked bag fees, and offer priority boarding. Pick your favorite airline and you’ll find a card that offers these benefits.
It is also good to have a flexible currency credit card where you can use the points as cash to book travel or transfer the points to an airline partner to book with miles. You won’t get free checked bags or priority boarding, but the flexibility to redeem for maximum value works to your advantage.
Save money on your hotel
Depending upon the length of the ski vacation, your hotel room could be more expensive than your flights. Whenever I book hotel rooms for ski trips, I compare cash prices vs. the cost in hotel points.
Hotel points are a great way to save money on a ski vacation. In fact, some hotel programs even give you the 4th or 5th night free when you book using your points. That’s a savings of up to 25% off! Or looking at it another way, you’re getting to extend your trip an extra day at no charge.
The problem with ski resorts is that they can be expensive points redemptions or you can have trouble finding rooms available. In those situations, I like using Dosh to book my hotel rooms when I’m paying cash. Not only does Dosh offer the same prices at popular online travel agencies (OTAs), but you can also receive up to 40% cash back on your reservation!
When searching for rooms within the Dosh cash back app, you can see reviews from TripAdvisor and compare prices against the OTAs. You can book a room with over 600,000 hotels around the world, so there will definitely be some available at your ski destination.
Buy discounted lift tickets
Prices for lift tickets vary widely depending upon the mountain resort you are visiting. Look for specials like Kids Ski Free, multi-day passes, and ski & stay packages. Some airlines even offer a free same-day lift ticket when you want to ski on the day you arrive.
Every January, ski resorts across the U.S. offer free lift tickets for school-age kids. The resorts want to introduce skiing and snowboarding to children so that they’ll be interested in coming back again and again.
In most cases, the more you buy, the more you can save. The same holds true with multi-day lift tickets. If you can commit to skiing at one mountain for multiple days, you can save a bunch of money. Depending upon the length of your trip or if you’ll be returning later in the ski season, it can even make sense to buy a season pass. With an IKON or EPIC season pass, you can ski dozens of resorts for one low price.
Before clicking purchase at the ski resort’s website, I always check prices at Liftopia. This discount lift ticket reseller allows you to buy your lift tickets in advance to over 200 ski resorts. Book ahead using my referral link and save!
And don’t forget to check local hotel websites. Sometimes it makes sense to do a “sleep and ski” package where you get your hotel and lift tickets for one low price.
Save money on food
Because I usually have flights and hotel taken care of with miles, points, and the Dosh cash back app, food is one of my biggest expenses while on ski trips. I like to save money by booking hotels with a kitchen, free breakfast, or an executive lounge. And I also use the Dosh cash back app to pick local spots to get up to 10% cash back at participating restaurants.
Many hotels and Airbnbs have kitchens inside. Preparing meals three times a day may not sound like your idea of a vacation. However, a couple boxes of cereal and a carton of eggs can go a long way towards saving serious money on food by eliminating eating out one meal a day.
Even if your hotel doesn’t have a kitchen, choose one that offers free breakfast, happy hour snacks, or an executive lounge. Some of these hotels may cost a little more, but when you’re traveling as a family or with friends, a few extra bucks for the room can save hundreds during your trip.
When I’m traveling to a new city, I search for new restaurants to try using the Dosh cash back app. I figure if I’m going to spend money, I might as well earn some of it back from Dosh. When dining at these participating restaurants, I’ve earned up to 10% cash back on my meals from Dosh. Best of all, once I’ve registered my credit cards, earning cash back is automatic. And, of course, I’m going to use a credit card that offers a category bonus for dining out.
The Bald Thoughts
A ski vacation doesn’t have to be a budget buster. By saving money on your flights, hotel, lift tickets, and food, you can afford to travel to your favorite resort this winter. Even if you aren’t able to use all of these tips, implementing just a couple can make a difference in how much you’ll spend on a ski vacation.
What are your favorite ways to save money on ski trips? Let us know in the comments below.