12 hacks for a cheaper ski holiday
Millions of us are virtually addicted to our annual dose of skiing.
Life just isn’t the same without being able to get out there in the snow, take in some clean, crisp air and then throw ourselves down a mountain or two.
But it costs a fair old packet.
And this year, with the pound hurtling downwards faster than an Olympic slalom gold medal winner, it’s even worse than usual.
You could always stay at home and visit the dry slope, of course.
So, here are 12 ways you could still enjoy going on the pistes without breaking the bank.
Go somewhere different
If you can bear to avoid your favourite Austrian, French or Italian resort, the most money is probably to be saved by choosing one of the cheaper resorts.
Eastern Europe, places like Bnakso in Bulgaria, do not perhaps have the same kudos and appeal to many of us, but they have improved significantly in recent years.
They are also loads cheaper than more established rival Alpine resorts, not just for equipment hire, but ski passes and dining.
Even heading for the Pyrenees can be significantly cheaper, perhaps consider Baqueira-Beret, or Grandvalira in Andorra.
Compare travel insurance deals now
Go last minute
Booking well ahead can save you money, but so can being flexible and booking very late on.
There are often great deals to be had as operators get desperate to hit their targets and fill pre-booked rooms for knockdown prices, rather than leave them empty.
If you can, book a week before you’re ready to hit the slopes.
Booking at the last minute and preferably outside school holidays is not possible if you have school kids in the family.
If this is the case, it’s best to go early in the season (too late now for that), or late.
That means aiming for Easter and avoiding the Feb half-term week.
You will often save money this way, especially if you consider less popular or mainstream resorts.
Go self catering
From Airbnb to a private chalet, you can save loads simply by buying and preparing your own food.
Some all-inclusive deals may look good (after all, all your food needs are covered), but it’s unlikely even the best deal will beat what you can save by doing a bit of shopping and cooking yourself.
The fact is that a couple of boxes of cereal and a couple of loaves of bread will sort out breakfasts for several days for just a few pounds.
In the evenings, you have the flexibility of eating a simple bowl of pasta instead of a full-blown dinner, if you feel like it. And you will save money.
Oh, and, if you really want to scrimp, rule out those lunch time blow outs and settle for a sandwich – or just miss lunch altogether, it only cramps your skiing style anyway!
Go for rentals
Unless you’re both an adult (and won’t grow anymore) or you’re a real expert who demands bespoke gear, just rent everything, from goggles to boots, skis and helmets.
Taking your own gear may save in the long run, but it’s costly to buy and a pain to transport.
Go out of town
Whether you go for self-catering or a hotel, pick somewhere a little away from the resort’s main action.
You’ll probably have to rely on the shuttle to get you to the lifts in the morning, but you’ll save on the cost of accommodation.
Go straight to the resort to book
It’s certainly convenient to book a package from an operator or through a travel agent and most in the UK do just that. But you can often do much better by cutting out the middle man and booking direct with the resort.
Check out its site for deals, you may be pleasantly surprised.
You can often find very economic deals on accommodation that include the cost of a lift pass.
You’ll obviously still need to book your own flights, but with budget airlines reaching more and more destinations, that’s rarely a problem.
Go for a deal with a lift pass
If you do go for a package that combines accommodation and flights, you will often do well to make sure a lift pass is also thrown in.
These are an expensive part of the holiday and getting them as part of a deal can offer big savings.
Go as a group
If you can get together a group of friends or families you will almost certainly be able to bring prices down by getting a discount on your booking.
One option is to book an entire apartment, for example.
Split multiple ways, this can work out pretty cheap. Plus you have more flexibility than being in a hotel.
Go for a shorter time
When you’re raring to get on the slopes, juts a few days of skiing can seem very little.
But we all know the feeling – two, three, perhaps four days, of intense skiing, we start to feel we’d like a rest.
It’s easy to think you’ll need a longer period to really get into it and enjoy your skiing, but short breaks can be just as satisfying, if you ski during your time intensively.
And they’ll work out cheaper.
Go without lessons
There’s nothing like ski school if you’re a beginner and a little later a private lesson or two can really improve your abilities.
But you’ll save a ton of cash if you can avoid lessons all together.
Instead, make use of the many many high quality tuition videos out there on YouTube.
They may be inferior to lessons, but they’re the next best thing.
Go WITH insurance
Never go without good insurance cover.
Yes, it will add to your costs, but skiing is a high-risk activity (certainly compared to lying on a beach, it is).
Serious accidents are rare, but talk to the rescue teams and you’ll find they’re not as rare as you might hope.
Get good insurance or you could find your ski holiday will cost you a great deal more than you bargained for.
Make sure you have the right cover by comparing travel insurance on A Spokesman Said.