Ski vacations are fantastic for getting away from the business of life to relax, enjoy good exercise, fresh air and scenic beauty. Here are a few tips SkiEnthusiast has learned to get the best value.

  • First, check a few travel websites for going rates and places to stay (pictures are key to finding a nice pad). SkiEnthusiast recommends Hotels.com, Expedia.com or other popular sites. You can also find great deals on the mountain’s website where you are staying. Sometimes, I stay 20 or so minutes away from the mountain to save up to 50%.  With young kids, I always stay slope side for shear convenience (parents get this).
  • Once you have a general idea of where you would like to stay and the going rates, visit Ski.com by clicking the link. I booked a trip to Lake Louise, Canada and Ski.com had the lowest price and great service. Note that when you book airlines, hotels and rental cars together or at least two out of the three there, you receive larger discounts.
  • If you are traveling with a large group, research the prices of luxury home rentals. These homes have a hefty price tag but when split amongst 10-12 people, it is a very reasonable rate and sometimes cheaper than a hotel.
  • When you decide to book your reservations, consider purchasing travel insurance. It is typically inexpensive and can save you a bundle if you need to cancel your plans for an emergency. Be sure to read the cancellation policy to understand how the agreement works before you sign (not all cancellations are refundable).
  • A few days before your trip, call the hotel to ensure your rooms are confirmed and you have the number and type of beds you requested. Also, call the rental car company to ensure your car is confirmed.
  • Before you check-in for your flight, check-out Seatguru.com to find the best seating on the plane you will be flying. Emergency exit rows have significantly more leg room than standard coach.
  • Take advantage of on-line check-in before you go to the airport. Most airlines provide this service on their website up to 24 hours in advance of take-off and allow you to print your boarding pass at home. This enables you to use kiosk luggage check-in and bypass lines at the check-in counter.
  • Sign up for frequent flyer miles and rental car preferred programs. When you have preferred status, you can go directly to the pickup area to get your vehicle without waiting in line.
  • Sign up for TSA Pre and become a Known Traveler.  This gives you expedited security screening (much shorter lines) for a better travel experience. Perks include not removing shoes, laptops, 3-1-1 liquids, belts and light jackets.  I used this all the time.
  • Consider an upgrade to premium economy for $30 – 80 (at ticket purchase).  Its worth the extra 6 inches of leg room because its the difference of opening or not opening a laptop.

I hope these tips help you save money and time to make your trip more enjoyable. Have fun and come back safely.