As I fiercely type from the cramped comfort of my Delta middle seat, I can't help but preplan next year's trip to Colorado.I'm actually multi tasking: blogging from my iPhone and 'installing' my elewrap. Finally, the ongoing marital battle of 'who stole whose charger' is over. Just try to claim that black & white cord as your own, Mr Farina. I double dog dare you. The somewhat tedious task of wrapping my charger millimeter by millimeter with a thermoplastic cover has become the best distraction possible when currently dreading the fact that we're not thirty rows closer to the cockpit. Is it inappropriate to say that I've found another use for my now-stronger iPhone cord: a noose for the screaming toddler two rows behind me. Too far? Fine. A noose for myself.
My husband is so calm on a plane. He puts on his now-color coded headphones and gazes out the window at the passing scenery. He'll be content until our layover in Minnesota. Myself on the other hand, I'll be fidgeting in the above mentioned seat, clawing at the the recycled air coming for the vent above me and and dreaming of solid ground.
Last year, I shared our very first visit to Colorado and this year, I wanted to share all of our travel tips with you guys. Mr Farina and I had talked about doing a ski trip for over six years, but always thought it was simply out of our budget. We were wrong. The trip of your dreams may be more affordable than you think.
This blog post is a how-to.
HOW TO: Breck on a Budget
1. AIRBNB ALL THE WAY!
We have not stayed in a single hotel since our introduction to Airbnb. This trip in particular, my wishlist must-have for a complete winter wonderland experience was a fireplace, while my husband desired to be conveniently located close to slopes.
We found the perfect place. An A-frame cottage with my fireplace, located just 10 minutes from Main Street, with a heated parking spot just walking distance from the Village slopes.
While not all Airbnb rentals are charmers, the Robert's family deserves some recognition for their beautiful home. A custom leather bound guest book sat on a table, just waiting for its newest entry. The fully equipped kitchen allowed us to get groceries and prepare inexpensive home cooked meals. They loaded the joint up with board games and cards for evenings filled with "friendly" competition and free entertainment. Plus, scoring this rental with its own off-site parking spot prevented us from ever having to pay for parking when we went into town.
2. Kick the name brand car rental company to the curb.
Mom for the win on this one. Rather than last year's Hertz car rental, this year we decide to rent an SUV from my mother's recommendation. We were astonished to find that AVR was more than 50% cheaper than their competitors and were pleased that the all wheel drive Dodge Durango comfortably fit luggage and ski gear for four. We also chose to take advantage of the savings by pre-purchasing our gas with AVR at a discounted rate.
3. RENT your ski gear, rather than buying.
We were fortunate enough to connect with MyThreadventure while planning our trip to Colorado. As Floridians with zero ski gear of our own, their hassle-free rental concept was too enticing to pass up and we're excited to share this company with you.
It's simple. We went on MyThredventure.com and picked out his and hers jackets, bibs for me, pants for the Mr, two pairs of goggles and extra warm Under Armour. Provide both arriving and departing flight information on the checkout page and you're done. Mythreadventure will meet you right at the DEN airport when you land, rented ski gear in hand. When your trip is over, simply throw their gear back in their duffle bag and meet them back at the airport on your way home.
Panic set in as I realized that we were getting picked up by a shuttle and being brought to our off property car rental company, unable to reach the cell-lot where our gear was waiting for us. No fear, MyThreadventure to the rescue. They were easy to communicate with and met us off airport property and hand delivered our luggage before we headed into the mountains.
Renting our ski clothes allowed us to use brand new, name brand gear for a fraction of the cost, while also avoiding the baggage fees associated with packing bulky snow-proof clothing. They even threw in a couple granola bars which came in handy with a hangry, traveling husband.
The last evening of our trip, we were contacted by MyThreadventure to confirm our departure time and we were greeted by a smiling face the next morning when we handed them back our dirty clothes.
4. Buy lift tickets & lessons online.
Lessons and lift tickets are two of the priciest parts of skiing, however we found that purchasing our tickets online prior to our arrival would save us a few bucks.
As a first timer, lessons were a must for me. Opt out of paying for a private lesson and do group lessons instead. By day two, I was a level 4 skier, despite the fact that there were 6 other people in my group. My husband lucked out and only had one other person in his snowboarding group, providing him personalized lessons, despite having only paid the group cost.
5. Travel with another couple.
Last year, we were in search of a romantic Rocky Mountain retreat, but this year we decided to invite my mother and step father along for the fun. Traveling with another pair will allow you to split the cost of the car rental and cut that Airbnb expense in half. Next year, we're thinking about inviting a third couple along for the adventure!
6. Visit Keystone for crepes.
Breckinridge is known as a vacation destination and is riddled with tourists willing to pay premium costs. We made our way over to Keystone for some extreme tubing and were relieved to get away from the crowds in this tiny town. We walked passed a small business with a sign advertising a $6 crepe, a price unheard of in the town of Breckinridge.
Last year, we were told that we couldn't leave Colorado without getting crepes. Somehow, we managed to return home crepe-less. This year, we couldn't leave without stopping at the The Crepe Stand. I was getting my fucking crepe.
$6 later, a mouth watering cinnamon sugar crepe was in my grasp and the hype was everything I thought it would be. Note to self: next year, get the savory Turkey, Brie and Pesto.
We've almost landed back in Miami, but Colorado is already calling us back for our third visit. Who's up for the trip?