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Ski the Slopes the $mart Way

Spring Break is just around the corner and that means it’s time to plan your ski trip! There are many venues and resorts you could choose to go to while on your trip and for a great price, if you book ahead. You must keep a few things in mind while you’re planning your budget friendly trip.

How many people are going?

You must know the amount people going, not only for traveling and carpooling purposes, but also for sleeping accommodations. Trivago website, a popular travel planning website, says that you should look ahead of time and book a hotel at least one month in advance in order to find the cheapest prices. So mark it on your calendar when you want to leave for your ski trip and book your hotel in one-month advance. This will ensure you save money, rather than just booking it the day of and paying an inflated price due to the popularity and demand for hotels because of skiers during spring break. http://www.hospitalitynet.org/news/4070411.html

How many days are you staying?

The amount of days you stay is not only important for booking the hotel and knowing how long to book it, but for also financial reasons as well. It is statistically proven that the more days you spend skiing, then the less you spend each day.  Refer to the photo below. You can notice that you spend less on the 5th day compared to the 4th day and so on and so forth. Keep in mind, the longer you stay the less expensive per day it is for you, BUT the total price will keep increasing. Ski resorts want you to stay longer and that’s why they decrease the price per day. But you should have a set amount of days you are planning on staying and stick to that instead of staying longer and longer because of the good price because this could affect your budget substantially. This should be taken into consideration when planning your ski trip budget.

Do you have Ski Equipment?

Another thing you should take into consideration is the ski equipment you need in order to ski. Do you have ski pants or skis or ski poles? You need to know ahead of time where you plan on getting your equipment if you don’t have any. You should compare prices and not settle for the first one you come across. Maybe ask family members or friends if you could borrow ski equipment from them so you can keep the cost of the trip low.

What’s your Budget?

Last but not least, you should know your budget and how much you want to spend on your trip. You will have to know the cost and fees to go skiing and also the other expenses that will occur, such as food and gas expenses. There are several tools you can use in helping you budget for your trip. One tool is an app you can download on your phone called Mint. This app allows you to connect your bank and credit card and thus tracks the spending. You can say you only want to spend X amount on this category and mint will help you keep track of how much you are spending and let you know how much you have left. It can be a very helpful. Another helpful source would be the budget spreadsheet on the Powercat Financial Counseling website www.ksu.edu/powercatfinancial. If you click on the Budgeting tab on the website, then you will be directed to lots of great information and excel spreadsheets that you can utilize in your budgeting process of your trip planning.

And finally, don’t forget to have fun. You can make a lot of memories and have a ton of fun on college ski trips without breaking your bank. You just have to remember to create a budget before you go and map out all of your expenses. Keep track of your money when you spend it and mentally think, Is this part of my budget? This will help you have fun and also not stress about money. Now you should be ready to Ski the Slopes the $Mart Way!

Hannah Eilert – Peer Financial Counselor I