Most likely the furthest thing from everyone’s mind is planning travel abroad. And rightly so with an aggressive pandemic, closed boarders and dormant airlines. It may then seem ludicrous to even allow the notion of planning next winter’s ski trip enter your mind – given the instability of the present situation. Remarkably however – there are a few reasons that could actually make this one of the best times to start planning your next ski trip.

Free cancellations

It goes without saying that for anything to be considered it would have to offer a free cancellation guarantee. While almost all operators and services travel related usually carry strict cancellation policies under normal circumstances, now is the time that we will are seeing a lot of relaxing of those policies. Those businesses being proactive in surviving the leaner times ahead may be offering free `no questions asked` cancellations on bookings made at this time in an effort to reassure potential guests. As the consumer – it is a win win as you will likely be able to book your accommodation & services for cheaper than usual and with much more flexibility. If the time of your visit comes around and you are not able to travel or choose not to, you can simply cancel. It will cost you nothing – except your time – to book an option or two under these relaxed policies.

Significant discounts

As touched upon above there are also lots of discounts out there for next winter – be it Early Bird or other – than there normally would available be at this time. Accommodations and services will be competing with each other for the reduced business that they anticipate for next winter. To give them the edge and incentivise guests, prices will be reduced from the norm even during peak periods, and in many cases much bigger discounts than we normal see. Once things resume as after this awful time has passed us by – the prices will creep back up once more as we try to regain normalcy. Coupled with the free cancellations, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to book a few lessons or hotels while the prices are low.

Time to do your research

One of the rarest commodities of the modern working world is time. Though we work so hard to afford our travels, we often lack the time prior to travelling to properly plan and do our research. With so much informations and misinformation online, finding exactly what we are looking for can be like finding a needle in a haystack. When we are disappointed on holiday is it often because our expectations were not managed – be it by us or the services that we booked – which is difficult on all sides (and often costly). It does take time to learn about a new area, a new resort, to find which mountain is suitable for our skiing, which hotels meet our criteria and which ski school can fulfil our wishes. There is also a responsibility on our side to have a good think (and discussions if travelling with others) about what we envision and how we envision our holiday taking form. No two people, families or groups are the same – and neither are their holidays. Therefore the more time you invest in finding the perfect destination, accommodation and services – the greater your enjoyment of it. One of the biggest silver linings to this pandemic is the gift of time that many have been given. So let us use it before we are back on the non-stop rollercoaster of normal life with no time to properly plan our travels.

Nadine Robb is Owner and Instructor at Hakuba Ski Concierge. Hakuba Ski Concierge is a boutique ski school in Hakuba, Japan.

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