Money Saving Tips for a Ski Holiday
If you're worried about the cost of a ski holiday, then check out some great ways to keep the cost down. From simple checks on your mobile, through to repeat bookings and booking early. Check out the list below to keep more money for yourself!
1. Early Bird Bookings
These are discounts given to those willing to book up to a year in advance. From apartments to package holidays you **can** save up to 25% off the total price of the holiday just by booking early. If not a direct financial discount, you will get big incentives like pay for 6 nights and get the 7th free.
You will usually need to provide between 10% and 25% deposit, giving you right up until a few months before the holiday to find the rest.
Companies which have had early bird deals previously include Inghams, Neilson and Crystal Ski.
2. Repeat Bookings for Chalets or Apartments
If you have enjoyed your ski holiday and fancy going back to the same resort next year, don't be afraid to ask the owners if you can get a discount. In our experience many are more than happy to give you a deal as they would otherwise have to pay an agency to try and find someone to rent it.
A 10% discount is normal, but we have heard of discounts up to 20% for the same chalet in the same resort in the same week (and that was a "High Season" week).
Something else to think about. If you don't fancy the same chalet in the same resort, see whether your chalet or apartment company have other properties in the same resort, a neighbouring resort or even further afield. That way you can get a discount as well as experience something a bit different!
3. Head to a less Popular Resort
There are literally thousands of ski resorts out there - for instance did you know there are over 800 winter sports resorts in Austria alone! Many of these would not be suitable for a ski holiday as they may have only one slope or not be interconnected, but there are some gems out there that remain 'tourist-light'.
For various reasons, that include transfer times, you have a number of great ski resorts like La Thuile in Italy, Vaujany and Montgenèvre in France and maybe even Nendaz in Switzerland where Brits are not known for flocking there in any great numbers. Advantages include cheaper accommodation, cheaper après ski and even cheaper lift passes too.
4. "Low" or "Mid" Season Dates
Try to check when peak seasons are on the slopes as this will often double the price, especially if it clashes with half terms for UK, France, The Netherlands and Italy. If you are restricted to school holidays then why not consider Easter in a High Altitude resort like Val Thorens or Tignes, rather than New Year and Half Term.
5. Choose Self Catering
There's a number of benefits with this and of course one major drawback. Self catering is a lot less expensive than a catered option. If you're ok to cook simple meals rather than going out, you can save quite a bit of cash whilst having the convenience of serving up whatever suits you (and the children). You'll find lots of luxury, self catering apartments that come with hot tubs, spas, saunas, huge lounge areas and more. Come on- spag bol or a quick pasta based meal isn't that hard to rustle up with a french stick!
6. Hire a Car
Why hang around waiting for the transfer bus that visits 4 other chalets before yours? If there's more than 2 of you and you have a dedicated 'free' parking space with your accommodation then consider hiring a car. If you fly into Geneva, then you can rent cars from either the Swiss side or the French side of the airport. The Swiss side offers cars with winter tyres as standard, and a much simpler exit from the airport if you're heading Chamonix way.
Why drive apart from the cost? What about convenience for children, visiting other slopes and resorts, picking up more food and of course less waiting around when it comes to home time!
7. Lessons, Hire & Lift Passes
You can now find amazing deals on hiring ski and snowboard equipment before you even arrive in the resort. Saving up to 45% on your rental can mean you are over £100 better off with a family of 4. Secondly, some ski schools offer a discount for early booking. It means they are guaranteed to fill their classes and are able to plan ahead for extra tuition if demand is strong. It also ensures you get a place if their ski instructors are limited in number!
Lastly, increasingly you can book your lift passes before you arrive too. Again this provides you with a discount on the in-resort price.
8. Buy Food & Drink Before the Resort
Goes without saying, if you are self catering, or will require beer and spirits, then don't leave it until you are in resort as there's often at least a 50% premium to many "must have" food items. Plan out the journey if you are self catering and driving yourself, then stop off at the nearest large supermarket where you will not only save money, you get a lot more variety. You do know that's what the catered chalets do don't you!
In addition we also recommend you take some key spices, instant coffee, washing powder and dishwasher tabs with you as you may not even be able to buy them!
9. On the Slope Food & Snacks
Eating frites on the slopes in the sun is what we all want to do. But with a family of four the price very quickly racks up each day. Why not think about having a picnic each lunchtime when you can have a quick roll/sandwich, piece of fruit and a mars bar or flapjack. This will save you a fortune and means you can get back on the slopes that much quicker.
For the slope snacks, remember to make a trip to your local supermarket in the UK before you leave home and get enough to last you the week.
10. Need for Nothing in Resort
That's right! Apart from beers, small food supplies or eating out, if you're on a budget, everything else needs to be bought with you to spend as little as possible. So think sun cream, sunglasses, gloves, hats, accessories, camelback in fact everything you need. Resorts are notoriously expensive as you are a captive audience. There's a reason those ski jackets start at Euro 600 each!
11. Après Ski on the Cheap
It can't be done - can it? There are ways to ensure you don't end up spending £100 a night on beer and staying out until 3am. If you are family there are lots of ways to enjoy the evening with activities ranging from ice skating to a long meal out. If you're with your mates, or as a couple, and want to find some great bars and night clubs, why not check out where the chalet hands and chefs go - the seasonaires know all the best places. There are also happy hours in most bars in a resort - you just need to work out where they are and see if you can go from one to the next. Most are in the early evening - say 4pm until about 8pm - when most people head home off the slopes!
12. Mobile Charges
We all need a phone, if for nothing more than organising the night out in resort. Check with your provider for the best Euro or US 'call charge package' on the calls. It may even be worth you getting a local sim card that comes with prepaid credit. Whichever route, make sure you plan this well before you fly - otherwise you will come back to a bill in the £hundreds.
Yep your cash. Ok there's a whole host of things to think about. Prepaid foreign currency cards, cash, travellers cheques or just rely on your debit or credit cards? Ok the worst option is probably your credit card as this will come in with lots of hidden charges like 3% of the cash you withdraw, an exchange rate that can be 5% worse than a currency exchange and finally a fixed cost for using the ATM to get at your money.
Once you have taken out all the cash you need, the next best thing is to have a prepaid currency card up your sleeve. If you are purchasing foreign currency, pre-purchase this online using Travelex or say HiFX. Always compare the commission, delivery charges and exchange rates.
14. Ski Insurance
Don't even think about putting one foot on a ski slope unless you have adequate insurance. You can compare a range of insurers to get the best deals online. Prices can start from £79 for a family of 4 in Europe for a week. The small amount upfront could save you over £10,000 costs if you break something on the slopes. Why not check out sites like http://uk.SkiInsurance.com to compare deals.