5 tips for booking a ski trip on a budget | PostIndependent.com
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5 tips for booking a ski trip on a budget

Caitlin Row
crow@gjfreepress.com
Two ladies take in the view of Breckenridge Ski Resort from the sledding hill near Breck's dog park.
Submitted photo |

Editor’s note: Free Press Staff Writer Caitlin Row has lived in three High Country ski towns over the years, worked closely with Colorado’s tourism industry, and even booked room reservations for a high-end resort hotel. She loves to travel on a budget and write about her adventures! She may be reached at crow@gjfreepress.com.

A magical weekend away to Colorado’s ski country doesn’t have to break the bank. A little research and know-how will go a long way.

And since it’s already winter in mountains, you better start planning! Here are five tips that will surely realize you some savings when booking your ski vacation this winter.

1. DO YOUR RESEARCH

Finding a hotel with a complimentary ski shuttle or within walking distance of the lifts is definitely preferable to paying for parking at the ski resort; so is finding a hotel with in-room kitchenettes (dishes, a refrigerator and a microwave), so you’re not forced to eat out every meal. Have a dog? Booking rooms at pet-friendly hotels may save you from paying a pet-sitter. Want to ski every day? Consider booking a ski-vacation package that includes lift tickets as part of the price.

By researching hotel options long before your actual trip, visiting lots of websites, and taking notes to compare values, you’ll be able to pinpoint your needs and better pick the best available option.

2. CALL DIRECTLY

When you have narrowed your hotel choices to two or three, call directly to conduct more research; then book over the phone instead of reserving your room online. By talking to a real-live person, you’ll often learn pertinent information not available over the web. And by talking to someone who’s working on-site, you’ll also be able to gauge what your stay will be like by the customer service provided.

By calling directly, discounts or room types could additionally be offered that aren’t available online. Plus, reservation agents are far more likely to work with you on your stay if you’ve already shopped around.

All in all, you’ll never know unless you ask.

3. FOLLOW FLASH SALES

By receiving email alerts about flash sales through TravelZoo.com and Jetsetter.com, you may be able to book last-minute deals to your favorite (but pricey) hotel in places like Vail or Telluride. These sales don’t last long and often have specific dates attached to the deal, but it will definitely realize you sizable discounts if you act fast.

One negative: By signing up with alerts like Jetsetter, your email in-box will fill up fast with deals to places you’re not trying to visit. It can be a little annoying, but that’s just the way the cookie crumbles.

It’s worth it.

4. TRAVEL ON LESS POPULAR DATES

During ski season in Colorado’s resort towns, there is often a surplus of rooms available Monday through Wednesday. If you’re able to travel early in the week, you’re more likely to book hotel stays for less. Again, call directly to the hotel of your choice to find out if they’re running any weekday specials. You may be in luck!

If you love visiting ski towns but don’t like to ski (or the crowds), you may also want to consider visiting during the off-seasons in spring and fall. It’s still beautiful, and rooms may be discounted sizably to attract guests when the lifts stop turning.

The only bummer about off-season is that some restaurants and other businesses close until the town gets busier again. But hotels will often keep lists of restaurants open for the duration of off-season, so all you need to do is call down to the front desk.

5. BECOME A REPEAT GUEST

If you’re happy with your stay, consider staying at that hotel again and again … and again! By establishing a repeat relationship with a hotel, you’re more likely to receive upgrades and be notified about special “friends” deals.

Hope this helps you book your next trip to ski country!


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