Whether you’re a veteran skier or a fresh-faced skier hitting the bunny slope, planning the family ski trip may seem daunting, especially if you’re on a budget. A ski trip’s cost doesn’t have to break the bank, though. Figuring out how to ski for cheap is a priority for many families, and carefully planning a ski vacation can go a long way to ensuring you can focus on creating great memories.
Ready to plan your trip? Here are some simple tips for planning a ski trip everyone will remember.
Decide Where to Go
The earlier you decide, the easier it’ll be to make a plan and secure your top choices for hotels and restaurants, which gives you time to comparison shop for your family budget. You might also want to sign up for ski lessons and getting an early start will ensure you reserve your space.
Vacation With Extended Family or Friends
If you have children, it can be particularly fun to get a large group together for a ski vacation. Resorts often have camps for kids so the younger family members have an activity while the adults hit the trails. For those planning their family ski vacation on a budget, it can also be more economical to go with a large group. You can share the costs of a slope-side condo or townhome together and prepare some of your own meals.
Timing Is Everything
Anyone planning a ski vacation on a budget needs to consider when the most cost-effective time to ski might be. Depending on where you hope to go skiing, the season can last between four and six months. By choosing to ski during an off-peak time, likely before Christmas or after mid-March, you might be able to save a bundle. Booking your trip early and searching for deals can also help cut down on your ski trip cost.
Create an Itinerary
Making activity and meal reservations before you arrive at your resort is essential, especially at very popular ski resorts. But some planning can go a long way toward being able to stick to your budget. If you’re staying in a condo or rental house, and you plan to make meals at home, make a menu so you know exactly what to buy from the grocery store when you arrive. If you’re making restaurant reservations, create a special folder or binder for all your reservation information and have it on hand when you arrive at your destination. Or go digital, creating a document or calendar that everyone can share so all your guests have access to the plans will surely cut down the unknown. Bonus: no more questions about what’s for dinner!
Save on Equipment Rental and Lift Tickets
Sticking to any budget on a family ski vacation means making smart decisions about equipment. Plan to price out your equipment rental in advance. While renting equipment at the resort is generally the most convenient way to go, you may be able to save money by renting your equipment online from a different ski outfitter.
By renting equipment, you save yourself the hassle of hauling gear to and from home. But if you and your family are avid skiers, consider investing in some select equipment that you can use over and over again, and potentially resell later. For example, a youth ski helmet can cost as little as $40 to purchase, but a rental may cost upwards of $10 per day.
The same goes for lift tickets. At popular resorts, you may pay $100 or more per day for a lift ticket. Look into purchasing your lift tickets online in advance, which may help you lower your ski trip cost. You’ll also likely save when you purchase a multi-date ticket. And if you’ll be vacationing for close to a week, check into a season pass.
Gear Up Early
It’s important to purchase your gear as early in the season as possible — definitely before you reach your destination. Yes, the resort will likely have what you need on hand, but the prices will be higher to account for the convenience, and that can significantly raise the budget of your family ski vacation.
Here’s a list of items each family member will likely need for the slopes:
- Turtlenecks and sweaters
- Long underwear
- Ski socks
- Neck warmer or face mask
- Ski jacket
- Ski pants
- Mittens or gloves and liners
- A hat
- Sunscreen and lip balm
Make things easy on yourself by packing your ski clothes and accessories into a separate suitcase, then packing everyday wear into another smaller bag.
Know You’re Protected in All Your Adventures
Wherever your winter takes you and your family, make sure you’re prepared. To learn more about how you can be covered on and off the slopes, contact your local Farm Bureau Agent.