10 Ways to Enjoy Winter Sports Without Going Broke
NEW YORK ( MainStreet) Popular winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding can offer fun for the whole family, but the high costs of transportation, equipment, day passes and accommodations can often drain your wallet faster than you can speed down the mountain. Thankfully, there are ways to enjoy your favorite cold-weather activities without going broke. Here are ten tips to keep in mind as you plan your next winter sports outing.
Purchase Ski Packages
Instead of paying for things like lodging, meals and ski passes separately, you can often save money by taking advantage of ski package deals.
"Resorts that offer all the 'fixings' can generally bundle savings in a package," says Andrew Young, Travelzoo's editorial director for North America.
Just be sure that the package includes services you need and not extras that you won't use, Young warns.
Rent a House or Condo
Ski hotels can be mighty pricey, especially during peak season. Factor in expensive meals out, and you can blow through money pretty quickly. To cut back on costs, consider renting a condo or house, which can offer lower rates per night than hotels and allow you to prepare some of your own meals.
"I was looking at Mont Tremblant [in Quebec] for Christmas and there were no hotel rooms under $300 per night, but I could find two-bedroom condos for $150 or so," says Eileen P. Gunn, founder of the family travel site FamiliesGo! "You give up amenities like an indoor pool, concierge and housekeeping, but many will have shuttles to the ski mountain and Jacuzzis."
In addition to paying less per night there, condos and houses offer the chance to eat breakfast at home and cook or get takeout for at least a few dinners. "It's handy to not have to eat all your meals out because ski town restaurants are always crowded and overpriced," says Gunn. "If you're driving and you really plan ahead, you can make chili or pasta sauce or soup or a baked ziti to bring with you so you have some hardy winter food ready to eat at the condo."
Drive Instead of Fly
Due to the high cost of airline tickets and baggage fees, consider driving to your destination rather than flying there.
"Not only do you save airline ticket costs, but it's nearly impossible to fit bulky ski clothes into a carry-on," says Gunn. "You'll save luggage fees and extra fees for snowboards, skis and so on."
Lodge Away From the Mountain
While it might be tempting to stay in a lodge right on the ski mountain, you can save big by booking accommodations a bit farther away.
"The closer your lodge is to the slopes, the more money you'll pay," says Gabe Saglie, senior editor for Travelzoo.