How to: Save Money On Your Ski Holiday!
Published on November 9th, 2015 | by Ollie Harrisson0
We found this list which tells you how to save cash when you’re skiing. It’s brilliant.
Timing is everything
1. You can save money by avoiding certain periods. February half-term (February 14-22, 2009) is always expensive. So is Easter, though not as expensive as Christmas or New Year. Low-season weeks are early December and January after New Year because Easter is late next year (April 10-13), there should also be some good deals in March.
2. Book early. Ski Beat (01243; www.skibeat.co.uk), for example, is offering free childcare, a saving of £265, on certain weeks, if booked before October 31; Snowline (08701 123118; www.snowline.co.uk) is reducing certain holidays by £100 per person if booked before October 31.
3. Pre-booking airport parking can save up to 50 per cent. Book throughHoliday Extras (0871 360 2020; www.holidayextras.co.uk/airport-parking) or compare prices at Travel Supermarket(www.travelsupermarket.com/air_park).
4. Shop around for winter sports insurance and compare standard ski rates with those of tour operators. Many policies don’t cover off piste or dangerous sports, so if you are going to try parapenting or any activity not covered in a standard policy, you will need specialist winter sports cover. Check out Dogtag (08000 364824; www.dogtag.net) or the Ski Club of Great Britain (020 8410 2000; www.skiclub.co.uk)
5. The rate of exchange can make a big difference to your budget. With the current weak pound, change money in advance to get the best rate. For price comparisons and the cheapest rates, go towww.moneysavingexpert.com. Check out the commission rates on currency exchange and credit cards when changing money abroad. Nationwide’s debit card (08457 302 010; www.nationwide.co.uk) and Abbey’s Abbey Zero card (08456 021582; www.abbey.com) don’t charge commission on foreign purchases.
Train, plane or car?
6. If you’re taking your own skis, don’t forget that some airlines charge for ski carriage. EasyJet (www.easyjet.com ) charges £33, for example, while Ryanair (www.ryanair.com) charges £50. Swiss(www.swiss.com) and British Airways (www.ba.com) don’t charge for skis at present, although BA may well introduce charges in the future.
7. Self-drive, with an average journey time of 10-12 hours to the Alps, is often a cheaper option for families than flying. If you are self-catering, having a car means you can save money by stocking up at large supermarkets outside the resort. Erna Low (0845 863 0525;www.ernalow.co.uk) has several packages which include a free upgrade to a Eurotunnel FlexiPlus ticket and one free return crossing onEurotunnel (0870 011 3259; www.eurotunnel.com)
8. You can get an extra day on the slopes if you travel by the overnight snow train, operated by Rail Europe and Eurostar (08705 186186;www.eurostar.com), which runs from St Pancras International to six stations in the French Alps.
9. Stay in a self-catering apartment; the larger the apartment, the cheaper the “per bed” cost. At new developments, such as the four-star resort of Arc 1950, and at high-quality renovations by companies such as Pierre et Vacances – you will find everything from a cosy studio apartment to a luxury 10-person-plus chalet-style apartment with free access to swimming pools, saunas and hot tubs. Try Erna Low (0845 863 0525 www.ernalow.com)
10. Do you really need porters, room service and a swimming pool? If you know you’ll be spending very little time in your hotel, why pay for the services you won’t use? Good-quality b & bs or small three-star hotels are cheaper and often offer nicer rooms, a more convivial atmosphere and better food than a mass-market four-star.
11. All-inclusive chalet hotels are good family value. Mark Warner (0871 703 3880; www.markwarner.co.uk), for example, has 13 chalet hotels where the price of a holiday includes flight, transfer, halfboard, ski hosting and afternoon tea. Prices at Chalet hotel Hauts de Tovière in Tignes, for example, are from £509 per person, based on two sharing.
12. Big resorts can work out cheaper than smaller ones as they have a greater variety of hotels and pensions, such as one- and two-star hotels and a greater choice of good-value restaurants. They also have public facilities, such as fitness centres and swimming pools, which you might not find in a smaller resort.
13. There are youth hostels in most international resorts. TheChamonix Youth Hostel is at the bottom of the Bossons glacier and the Zermatt hostel even has rooms with views of the Matterhorn. Verbier has The Bunker (0041 27 771 6601; www.thebunker.ch), a former atomic shelter that offers several packages including food and lift pass.
Lessons, equipment and lift passes
14. Keep an eye on the cost of lift passes as they vary from resort to resort. If you are going to a large ski area, you could save money by buying a local pass and a day’s extension to ski the whole area. For example, a six-day lift pass for the Trois Vallée is €225 (£175) but you can buy a pass for just Courchevel for €182 (£141) and a Trois Vallée day extension €22 (£17) saving of £34 per couple.
16. Don’t choose a top international resort with huge ski areas if you are a beginner. Pick somewhere smaller where tuition and lift passes will be cheaper. Perfect resorts for beginners include Champoluc or Cervinia in Italy and Obergurgl and Solden in Austria; Crystal Holidays (0871 231 2256 www.crystalholidays.co.uk) offers several choices for family holidays.
17. Compare ski-school prices online; note that group lessons are always cheaper than private ones. Many operators offer free ski hosts to show customers around the mountain – this can be a better confidence boost for an intermediate than a costly lesson. The Ski Club of Great Britain has representatives in most international resorts for members to ski with (020 8410 2000; www.skiclub.co.uk).
18. The Association of Snowsports Countries is offering free ski lessons for a week – from either January 17 or January 24 – at 50 resorts in Andorra, Austria, Canada, Finland, Norway and Switzerland. Further information and details of participating tour operators atwww.freshersskiweek.com.
19. If you are new to skiing, do not splash out on expensive ski wear you may never use again. You can hire ski clothing, equipment and roof boxes from Edge2Edge (01293 6493000; www.edge2edge.co.uk), who will even deliver skis/snowboards to some airports.
20. Book early for savings on ski/snowboard rentals. You can book online and get discounts with international franchises.www.intersportrent.com has more than 250 outlets in France, Austria and Switzerland with discounts up to 40 per cent. Skiset(www.skiset.com) offers 20 per cent off resort prices in Italy and Andorra.
Getting to the airport
21. By booking in advance you can save on train tickets to and from your nearest airport; check also if two singles are cheaper than saver returns. You can also save money by avoiding the dedicated train service, theGatwick Express, for example, costs £28.80 for an open return while the Southern Trains service costs £21.80.
In the resort
23. It’s tempting to use mobile phones to keep in touch with party members on the mountain, but remember costs quickly add up. Check with your provider to see if there are any overseas discount rates.Vodafone, for example, offers a Vodafone passport, where the first minute costs 75p but subsequent minutes come out of your monthly call allowance.
24. If you are not on half board, make lunch your main meal and eat in the resort. There are usually lunch–time specials which work out cheaper than eating on the mountain or having dinner in the evening.
25. Remember that drinks in a resort are expensive and can blow a considerable hole in your budget. Make the most of happy hour or après-ski specials and stick to cheaper drinks, such as draught beer or wine, when rates go up.