Searching for an affordable staycation? We asked local travel agents to help us plan a winter trip to the Waterpark Capital of the World.
If you can’t get away for an extended beach vacation during Wisconsin’s long winters, a staycation at the Dells is the next best thing. Central Wisconsin’s scenic attractions, outdoor adventures, waterparks, and abundant restaurants make it the perfect escape for singles, couples, and families who need a break from their everyday stresses.
We sat down with a couple of local travel agents to learn how to get the most bang for your buck when visiting Wisconsin Dells. These money-saving tips will save you hundreds of dollars on lodging, dining, and attractions, so you don’t have to break the bank during your trip.
Tip #1: Use the Wisconsin Dells Visitors & Convention Bureau
The Wisconsin Dells Visitors & Convention Bureau can help you save money in two different ways. First, they keep an updated list of current specials at local hotels, resorts, and attractions under the “Find Great Deals” section of their website. Some deals are a percentage off the retail price, while others are BOGO deals or something like, “Stay two nights and get one free.”
Second, the Convention & Visitors Bureau releases a vacation guide every year that’s not only filled with great information about what to do, but when to do it. The guide outlines all the major holidays and events in the area, so you know when to expect hotels to book up more quickly and be priced much higher.
Tip #2: Book Early
Although you may be lucky and find some last-minute deals, you’re much more likely to get better rates if you book early. Hotels and resorts work like airlines to the extent that they only sell so many rooms at a specific price. The earlier you book your stay at one of the waterpark resorts or hotels in the Dells, the better chance you have of securing less-expensive rooms.
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Tip #3: Plan Your Visit Around the Best Prices
Local travel agents stress that timing is key to planning an affordable trip! Both winter and the spring break season make the Dells’ indoor waterpark resorts especially busy, so you’ll always find the best rates on weekdays. But if it’s too hard to make a mid-week visit work for your family, at least try to avoid three-day weekends like President’s Day or Memorial Day.
Tip #4: Purchase a Passport to Savings
Sometimes, you have to spend money to save! According to local travel agents, the best way to get discounts on dining and attractions in the Dells is to purchase a Passport to Savings. This attraction discount program allows you to buy ticket bundles for cheaper rates and includes nearly a dozen of the area’s most popular attractions, including the Tommy Bartlett Exploratory, Wizard Quest, Tom Foolery’s Adventure Park, and the Kalahari.
The more tickets you buy, the bigger discount you get. Combo tickets for two attractions come with a 15% discount and for each additional attraction, up to six, you’ll receive an extra 5% off– up to 35% off six attractions. You can purchase your tickets online, but you must do so at least three days prior to your arrival. All sales are final and nonrefundable.
Tip #5: Book a Package Directly Through a Resort
Many of Wisconsin Dells’ biggest resorts provide an all-inclusive type of experience for their guests. Although their room prices are higher, they typically include waterpark passes. For example, a day pass at Kalahari is $59.99. If you add up the number of passes you need for one day, even if you buy discounted tickets through Passport to Savings, it’s often more affordable to book a package and stay at the resort. Some resorts, like Chula Vista, offer a truly all-inclusive experience with food and drink.
You’ll also find seasonal packages and deals on many of resort websites, so don’t automatically assume you can’t afford to stay at one of the area’s biggest. You’ll be surprised at the deals you can find!