Tips for saving money on ski vacations

Winter is the season of ski vacations, but it can also be one in which you spend a lot of money if you're not careful, especially with the holidays approaching. However, you don't have to skip your ski trip just because you think it'll be too expensive. There are several ways you can save money and still have a fantastic time on your vacation.

Book as early as possible

The sooner you book your ski vacation the better. Booking early will not only allow you to choose the dates you want, but you'll also get first shot at the cheaper and discounted rooms.

Sign up for email and social media

Signing up for the resort's email list and following them via social media could be your key to getting a free or discounted ski trip. Often places will give away free tickets through a contest, especially through social media sites like Facebook or Twitter. Even if you don't win, you'll likely still be able to get your hands on promotional discounts that can save you big bucks.

Search for online deals

In addition to social media and email, check online through deal sites and on the resort's website for promotional codes that you can use during booking. You'll likely have to go during a certain time period in order to be eligible for the discount, but it might be worth it depending on the final cost.

Go mid-week

Ski resorts are more booked on the weekends than they are during the week which means mid-week prices are much cheaper. If you can find the time to go during the week, you'll be able to save quite a bit of money than if you went at any point during the weekend.

Stay off-site

Check around the area and see if there's a place to stay that doesn't involve staying on the resort property itself. It's usually cheaper to stay off-site in a cabin, hotel or other vacation property. Check on vacation websites, such as homeaway.com, where you have your choice of places to stay nearby that won't be as expensive.

Eat off-site or make your own food

Ordering at a restaurant at the resort is likely to cost you much more than if you were to eat elsewhere. Skip the restaurant and eat off-site at a restaurant nearby or better yet, make your own food. If possible, stay at accommodations that have a kitchen so you can shop at a nearby grocery store and cook your own food.

Take advantage of personal discounts

You may be surprised just how many discounts are available for ski vacations, especially lift tickets. For example, if you take public transportation to the ski resort, you may be able to use your ticket stub for a discount. If you're a veteran or active military member, you may also be able to get a discount. Even some states offer specific discounts that aren't available in other states. A little searching via the Internet can save you quite a bit of money.

Compare renting equipment vs. bringing your own

You may be set on bringing your own ski equipment, and that's fine if you're driving to the ski resort, but if you're flying or taking the train or bus, it may be better to rent. Compare prices to rent the equipment with the cost it would be to take it on the plane, train or bus, especially if you're flying, so you don't get socked with a fee for oversized or overweight baggage.

With the prices of almost everything increasing, you may automatically shut down the idea of going on a ski vacation this year. However, if you do a bit of research and planning, you could end up finding enough discounts so you can take your trip while still having plenty of money leftover.

More from Lauren R:

6 things to do when you're falling behind on bills

6 ways to avoid annoying a job interviewer

Tips for living within your budget