Isn’t it a little too early to plan family ski trips? For the travel and budget savvy, it never is. Besides, waiting until a month before ski season hits its peak will only guarantee packing woes and sky-high premium prices. Hence, the early birds will not only get the worm, but also the best accommodation the resort has to offer.
While many will prefer the convenience of pre-packaged vacations, some may opt for the DIY ski vacations. While yes, planning every detail of your ski getaway will entail a lot of haggling, research and planning savoir-faire, the pay-offs can be huge:
- Flexibility. Everyone gets to have a say on what they can do during the ski holiday. It’s a win-win situation if each member of the family has their own preferences.
- Freedom. Planning your own ski getaway means you have the freedom to explore the ski resort your own way. This means you can visit off-the-beaten-path sights and even go backcountry skiing (with a guide, of course). You won’t have to worry about sticking to the schedule set by your travel agent.
- Savings. As you get to plan out every aspect of your ski getaway, you can take a pick on the cheapest flights and accommodations available in the resort.
But with great freedom comes great responsibility. As you’ll be handling every detail of your trip, you have to go through all lengths to ensure that your trip goes smoothly. This includes enrolling your kids to a ski school of your choice yourself, and making sure everyone and everything is accounted for (the last thing you want is to lose your luggage or skis in between connecting flights, or find out little George got in the wrong flight). And if you’re bringing along young children or toddlers, the stress can be magnified further.
Hence, if you’re still going down this route (at your own risk), here are a few tips you need to remember when planning a DIY ski getaway:
- Avoid the rush. Planning a DIY ski getaway entails a lot of research, hence, you need to do it earlier. This not only guarantees that you get first dibs on the best accommodations, but you’ll be getting it for a lot less. Discounts abound during off peak seasons as most ski resort operators try to get more people to book early to avoid the rush.
- Check the fineprint. Many airlines, especially budget carriers charge extra for ski or snowboard gears. Hence, if the airline of your choice allows you to book in carriage early, do so in advance as you could be charged more if you wait until check-in.
- Choose late or early season. Prices are usually cheaper during early season (when crowds are just trickling in) or late season (when everyone’s eager to go back to reality) as snow conditions aren’t usually certain outside of peak season. Plus, you get to enjoy the serenity of an almost empty ski resort during this time.
- Choose lesser known destinations. Peak season still guarantees the best snow condition. And if you’d like to hit the slopes during this time of the year (but still want to avoid the crowds), go for lesser known resorts and destinations. With a little research, you can spot hidden gems which can guarantee just as much fresh powder as their more popular counterparts at a fraction of their cost.
- Don’t forget childcare options. Ask the hotel or the resort operator if they have babysitting or daycare centers where you can drop of your little ones while you enjoy your day on the slopes. But do it with caution: Some daycare facilities employ people who may not have the necessary certified to tend to younger children. Hence, it’s best to research first on the day care facilities before entrusting your toddler to their care.
Remember that DIY ski trips may not be for everyone. Hence, it’s best to look into other options first before considering this route. A poorly executed one will not only guarantee woes, but also hidden charges you’ll be much surprised to find out.