The Best Ways to Travel With (or Without) Your Skis

If you’ve ever deliberate a ski trip, that getting your ski gear to the mountain just isn’t easy and never low cost, particularly when planes are concerned. We seemed into whether or not it’s higher to examine your ski luggage, ship them or simply hire stuff while you get there, and we’ve found some definitive truths, and steps to take, when it comes to value and comfort.

The first step: Get out your baggage scale. (Or purchase one.) No matter the way you determine to transport your gear, each technique has weight restrictions, so it will likely be a useful instrument it doesn’t matter what.

The subsequent step: Figure out if you will get free luggage together with your ticket. Two free checked luggage can be superb: one being your suitcase, and the opposite being your ski bag. One little bit of excellent information is that you probably have separate ski and boot luggage, six of the biggest airways — United, American, Alaska, Delta, Southwest and JetBlue — will rely them as one piece of baggage. These airways additionally don’t penalize you for these luggage’ outsized dimensions, although the 2 luggage do want to weigh, collectively, lower than 50 kilos. Not going over the restrict needs to be straightforward most often. We weighed a big, wheeled snowboard bag containing two boards with bindings and boots, and it was solely 27 kilos. Overweight bag charges begin at $150 spherical journey and go up. For $150, you may hire gear for no less than three days.

So in the event you’re a premier member on any airline, fly that airline in the event you can and reap the benefits of your bag allowance. Problem solved. If you’re not, then attempt to fly Southwest, which permits two free checked luggage with all tickets. Problem additionally solved. As daunting because it sounds, getting outsized baggage by the airport isn’t that unhealthy. The luggage are out of your palms virtually instantly, particularly in the event you can examine curbside. (Don’t neglect to tip.)

Free luggage aren’t a chance? This is when you think about renting tools. It’s simpler and extra handy than it could appear at first, and comes with a couple of benefits. The gear is at all times tuned up and prepared to go (a contemporary wax in your uncared for skis or board can value you $50), and the store could have the fitting tools for the terrain, which can differ from your private home slopes. Renting may also be a fantastic deal for households: Children below 12 typically get a free, or no less than discounted, rental with every grownup rental. Finally, in the event you often take public transit or a shuttle from dwelling to the airport, you gained’t have to lug the gear.

Whether renting gear is cheaper than paying to examine the luggage relies upon totally on what number of days you’ll use it. An common grownup rental package deal can value up to $50 a day, and infrequently much less. Will you be on the mountain for 2 or three days? Then renting is cheaper than checking two luggage.

What in the event you’ll use the gear 5 days or extra? That’s the place you suppose forward; you’ll pay about the identical for 2 luggage as you’ll to hire for 5 days. So in the event you’re going to be snowboarding longer than every week, paying for luggage turns into price it once more. Can you get by with checking solely your ski gear and residing out of a carry-on? Checking one bag prices at most $60 spherical journey, so it’s cheaper to pay for the bag than hire, so long as you utilize your gear greater than as soon as.

Don’t need to wait in a rental line on the mountain? If you’ve gotten entry to a automobile, hire from a store on the town; it could even have higher costs. If you don’t have a automobile, see if Ski Butlers serves the area. The service will bring the rental gear to your hotel or condo door, and then pick it up when you’re done. The standard adult package is $50 a day. That falls on the high end of rental pricing, but you can get a 10 percent discount if you book a week in advance.

There is only one type of person who needs to ship their stuff: someone who’s absolutely set on using their own gear and can’t check a bag. Why not? Maybe you’re traveling in a large, fractious party and need your hands free in the airport. Maybe your gear absolutely must arrive by a specific date. Maybe you’re not heading straight to the ski hill but visiting other places first and don’t want your gear tagging along.

No matter what your scenario, know this: Shipping is never cheaper than checking luggage. We got price quotes from four luggage shipping services — Ship Skis, FedEx, Luggage Free and Luggage Forward — for sending one ski bag from New York City to Breckenridge.

The least expensive shipped bag — which, by the way, can weigh no more than 25 pounds — costs $140 round trip. The most you could possibly pay for a single checked bag, which can weigh up to 50 pounds, is $120 round trip.

Yes, that’s only a difference of $20, but that’s the one-bag price. The disparity grows from there. For two bags (again, each one can weigh, tops, 25 pounds), the cheapest shipping option is $110 more expensive than paying to check your one 50-pound bag. Also, if you’re shipping a ski-bag/boot-bag combo? Surprise: They don’t count as one bag anymore. You’ll have to pay for them as two separate bags.

With shipping, you also have to plan ahead to get the best deal. The quotes we used for comparison are for five-day ground service, meaning you need to ship your bags out almost a week before your trip.

Shipping services do offer one major advantage: They pick up your gear at your house. If you don’t have a car or shuttle that can get you to the airport with all your stuff, and renting gear is not an option — or money is simply no object — then the extra convenience may justify the extra cost. Of those four shipping services, Ship Skis generally had the best rates; Luggage Free came close, letting you to ship a heavier bag (up to 32 pounds) for nearly the same price. Luggage Forward was, all-around, more expensive than the others. And skip FedEx too: it charges an extra fee for pickup, and the rates aren’t great, even with the company’s ship your gear program, which gives you discounts on certain FedEx services.

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