Colorado is a massive state that is filled with beauty and adventure—especially during the holiday season. People travel from all over the world to check out why Colorado is the #1 ski destination in North America, and enjoy the 300 days of sunshine. You would probably imagine needing to rent a car to get to your holiday vacation destination up the mountain, but we disagree! There are many reasons why traveling Colorado without a car is ideal, and here is why:
1. All of our mountain resort towns are incredibly pedestrian-friendly! Many bars, restaurants, and shops are within walking distance of the resorts. If walking doesn’t fit your fancy, most of the towns also have free transportation options within city limits.
2. None of the major car rental companies offer snow tires—and if you come to Colorado during the holiday season—you will most likely be driving in the snow. This is a problem when Colorado traction and chain laws go into effect. These laws are in effect from September 1st to May 31st. You absolutely do not want to risk driving without AWD/4WD, snow tires, or tire chains when these laws are in effect.
3. AWD/4WD SUVs are very expensive to rent. You will likely spend over 500 dollars to get a vehicle that may only partially comply with some Colorado traction and chain laws. You won’t want to get caught being non-compliant with your vehicle due to the hefty fines that come with ignoring the laws.
4. Rental cars are becoming increasingly hard to find these days. Travel is up 60% compared to last year, not only because of the pandemic but due to the global supply chain issue that has disrupted auto production. If you are lucky enough to score a rental car, you will most likely pay a much higher rate than you ever have before.
5. Rental car insurance can be very expensive to have. It could add up to $30 a day to your bill! If you choose to use your own insurance and damage the rental car, you’ll have to pay a large deductible and your insurance rates will go up after the claim.
6. Uber/Lyft is not a common service in the mountains, especially if trying to get a ride to or from the airport. Most mountain resort towns are nearly 2 hours away from Denver International airport and will not get you up there. Also, these towns tend to have fewer locals, so getting a ride even around town may prove to be difficult.
7. Driving in the snow is dangerous, and many people from across the world have never driven in it before, increasing the risk factor. Taking a drive up windy mountain passes, up and down steep grade hills on ice sounds like a lot of fun, but it can be a terrible experience.
8. Take a mountain shuttle to your holiday destination! Several different companies will meet you at the Denver International Airport and take you up to oh-so-popular summit county, where you will find the vast majority of ski resorts. Getting on a shuttle will take away the worries of having to drive through the snow and holiday traffic yourself. You just have to sit back, relax and enjoy the beautiful drive!
9. Hop on the Ski Train to go non-stop from Union Station in downtown Denver to Winter Park Resort. You won’t have to worry about transportation from the airport because you can hop right onto the A-Line and go straight to Union Station! Make sure you buy your tickets early, the train does sell out.
10. Check with your hotel/Airbnb host. Many housing agencies will accommodate transportation from the airport. However, keep in mind that if you are traveling to a ski resort, you may have a harder time utilizing this service due to the distance from the main airport. There are many ways to travel around Colorado during the holiday season without renting a vehicle. Hopefully, you consider that to save a few bucks from an unnecessary expense!