Tips for a cheaper ski holiday
Skiing is one of the best active holidays, especially for families, but it can also be one of the most expensive ways to enjoy time away from home. There are so many items to pay for, including ski lift passes, equipment hire and lessons, and because the winter season is short, prices are hiked in response.
Here are some great tips for a cheaper ski holiday.
Go low to ski high
There are plenty of resorts and villages that are lower down the slopes and therefore do not command the same prices as on-slope or higher altitude accommodations. If you make sure there are good links by bus or gondola to the slopes you can still enjoy plenty of time skiing but enjoy paying less for where you stay. You’ll find that eating out in locations further from the slopes is far cheaper, too.
One of my top tips is La Tania in the French Alps with easy access to Courcheval slopes and the wider Three Valleys.
Book half board
If you book half board, such as at a catered ski chalet, you’ll save on food costs. Eating out in cafes and restaurants at ski resorts is notoriously expensive so you can be sure that everyone will be well fed but for a set cost at the chalet.
Catered chalet normally includes breakfast, dinner and afternoon cake as standard and many will offer free wine with evening meals.
There is usually just one day per seven days of a holiday when the chalet host will not cook dinner for you.
An all-inclusive package might seem like a pricey up-front cost but it means you’ll pay very little for anything during your stay. There are holiday companies that include flights, transfers, full-board accommodation, drinks, lift pass, equipment hire and ski school for one set price.
It might seem like a hassle to book a self-catered chalet but it does mean you will save on eating out costs and wasted food, for example, if your children are fussy eaters. This sort of ski holiday works best if you go as part of a group of families and share the cooking and chores.
Google alerts for deals
If you know where you want to ski this winter, set up a Google alert for ski deals. That way you will be the first to see the holiday deal and you can be the first to take advantage of cheaper costs.
Pack a lunch
Eating out at lunchtime is expensive wherever you ski. In the Alps, for example, it’s not unusual to pay €30 per person for a simple meal of burger and chips. Taking a French baguette, cheese and ham – or any of these yummy filling ideas – to share with the family will be far cheaper even with ski resort supermarket prices.
Look for picnic rooms at ski resorts so you do not have to eat outside where it can be chilly.
Buy your own booze
Like the picnic lunch suggestion, buying alcohol from a supermarket or from duty free as you pass through the airport will be cheaper than spending every evening in a bar.
Currency know how
Brexit is causing the pound to be very weak against the euro and the dollar so it’s important to get the most you can for your money.
Do not leave your currency purchase to the last minute so you end up with the worst rates at the airport. Using a credit cards will often incur big charges, too.
There are several better options such as travel cards that allow you to pre-load currency of your choice and also avoid bank fees. Or shop around on-line for the best currency deals at the time.
The popular Alps ski destinations are likely to be the most expensive so you could shop around to find better options. Andorra has long been a budget skier’s top choice and now skiers are heading to Eastern Europe and the Pyrenees in both France and Spain.
Although it might seem costly to go further afield, such as to America and Canada, the prices for accommodation and food can be a cheaper.
Lift passes included
Some companies will include a lift pass as part of the holiday package. This means you won’t be subject to an unfavourable exchange rate.
Kids go free
Some holiday companies will include children under the age of 12 for no extra cost if hey share a room with parents.
Go last minute
Booking early is rewarded when it comes to saving money on ski holidays, but so too is waiting until the last minute. Ski holiday operators would rather a room was occupied than not so if you have the nerve and you can take time off work at the last minute you might pick up a great bargain deal.
Ski in term time
This is not an option for many families with children at school but if you can, you’ll save a great deal of money going when others can’t. There are families that take their kids out of school for a ski holiday and it’s something I did while my daughter was at primary school. I believe a ski trip is a great activity and form of education.
Go at Easter rather than half term
If you are tied to school terms, it is usually cheaper option to choose to go on a ski holiday at Easter rather than half term. The Easter holidays are usually quieter, too, although you can risk the snow quality being less than perfect.
Buy, hire or borrow kit before you go
Can you borrow ski clothing from friends for your kids? Can you buy clothing and kit second hand? Have you looked at the cost of hiring ski equipment from a local ski outlet and taking it with you? Look at various options before automatically booking ski equipment at the ski resort.
Go for longer
Oh, how many of us dream of going for a full ski season rather than just a week? Well, it’s a cheaper option if you can do a few things first. Rent your home and use the money to pay for accommodation abroad. But a full season ski lift pass, which is far cheaper per day than a week’s pass. Gain employment as a ski chalet host or a driver of a transfer bus.
While it might seem like a stranger thing to say that going for longer will b cheaper it actually could be I relative terms.
A ski holiday is a great way to enjoy time abroad – and even better if you get a cheaper deal.
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