If you are looking to spend time in the mountains on a budget, follow our advice on money saving ski holiday hacks. This will allow you to travel and enjoy more ski adventures because you are so good at saving pennies!
A bonus money saving ski holiday hack is avoiding buying poor quality equipment and constantly having to replace it. If you buy high quality goggles and ski clothing, you can use them season after season!
Look out for off-peak prices and book early or last minute
First and foremost, try and have some flexibility as to when you can book your holiday, as you will find that you can dramatically save pennies when avoiding peak season times such as Christmas, New Year’s and School Holidays. In fact, it is usually better to go for the early season (November/ early December) or late season (March/April). This does not necessarily mean you will miss out on the best snow if you aim for higher-altitude resorts. If you have kids and need to book within the school holidays, go for Easter rather than half-term. Try a 5-day trip over a week.
Avoid big-name resorts
When narrowing down your search on which mountain resort you would like to visit, try and consider the lesser-known towns. You will not only benefit from a significant price reduction, but you will also be able to avoid the crowds and queues that plague many big-name resorts. If you are hoping to visit a popular resort, it may be worth staying one town over – that way, you can still experience the ambience of your sought-after resort while not breaking the bank.
Research package holidays
There are tons of deals online that include an all-in-one click holiday experience. You could go for an all-inclusive ski holiday or catered chalet to cut down on the food costs. Likewise, you could look for a holiday apartment if you are not fussed about the grandeur! In a package holiday, you will have flights, accommodation and sometimes a lift pass and ski hire are included in the cost. Give these companies a look at if you’re heading in and around the Alps, Neilson Active Holidays and Crystal, and for the States, American Ski Classics and SkiWorld.
Book the trip with a group
As they say, the more the merrier – especially when it comes to having a blast in the mountains and having a big group can really help cut down costs on transfers and accommodation. You could live it up in a catered chalet surrounded by your nearest and dearest for just a fraction of the cost of a hotel experience for two. You could even reap the benefits of group discounts on lift passes!
Budget fly or Drive!
Flying has traditionally been the most popular mode of transport to the mountains, it can be one of the most convenient and quickest options. However, it is also the most pricey, so it might not be everyone’s preferred option in the current economy. Another way you can save is by finding great deals for flights (particularly in off-peak times) by searching flight comparison websites like Skyscanner. Private transfers from the airport to the resorts will set you back significantly, too, so try hopping on a coach or renting a car! In addition to the flight, you will need to factor in the additional costs of airport parking and/or transport to the airport and transfers or car hire in the Alps. And luggage allowances can make bringing skis and equipment pretty pricey.
If you do not mind a road trip adventure, why not take in the scenic views by travelling by car? For example, estimated trips from the UK to the Alps do not have to cost more than fuel, on-the-road snacks, ferry tickets and tolls. It will take you a good full day to drive, but if you are sharing the driving, it will not feel too much of a chore! France’s motorway system is easy to navigate, and the roads are generally pretty clear. However, you do pay for the privilege with some fairly high tolls. Another thing to highlight is that it is a legal requirement in the French Alps and many other mountainous areas of Europe to have either winter tyres or snow chains for your vehicle. So, if you have not already got any, that could increase the cost. The tolls on French motorways are more expensive than you think, so it can be a costly option if there is just one or two of you, so make sure you fill the car for the escapade.
Check the forecast and be ready for all types of weather. The resorts will have all sorts of tempting flashy ski gear, but it all comes at a very steep price! Ensure you have enough layers and spare gloves, and snow buffs. These items, in particular, are easily lost or may still be soggy from a day’s skiing, so it is good to have a couple of each in circulation. To really go that extra mile with saving, you could buy second-hand, borrow or get creative with ski wear and equipment.
Do not underestimate the on-slope food and drink prices
The mountain food is an absolute treat and well worth indulging in once or twice, but if you end up buying up the mountain at on-slope restaurants, you will end up spending a big chunk of your budget on food and drink alone. Try and skip the on-mountain hot chocolate and burgers and bring your own food up the mountain. It is good to bring a backpack with you for day trips so you can always have a supply of energy-fueling snacks and a reusable water bottle. Aim to go within the happy hours if you cannot resist the lure of the Apres Ski sessions. There are ways to still have fun and indulge without whittling all your money away.
Buy mountain lift pass online and in-advance
Lift passes can sometimes become one of the more pricey necessities that creep up and leave you feeling a little short of change. To avoid disappointment, book well in advance and look out for good deals online. Some companies offering package deal holidays may include a price reduction, which is worth investigating! While skiing is expensive for adults, most resorts provide discounted or free lift passes for kids. Another thing to remember when planning is that ski lessons also gobble up the pennies, so try and take afternoon lessons or group lessons, which come at a cheaper rate.
Watch out for currency fees and be financially protected
There are a couple of ways to ensure you do not unnecessarily spend more than you need. When visiting a foreign country, there may be currency fees that will add up and end up jeopardising the money pot for the Après pints! Try sorting out your cash conversions before your trip – most places will accept cards, but no one will refuse cash payment. If you are in the habit of paying by card, get a fee-free card prior to your trip, such as Monzo or Transfer Wise. Ensure you are financially protected by choosing the correct insurance, as this could be extremely expensive if you injure yourself, lose personal items or have travel disruptions due to weather or Covid. The correct insurance to get is winter sports cover added in. The more you spend on insurance, the more you cover your back in the worst-case scenario. However, there are always cheaper options - just make sure you thoroughly read the fine print!
Be friendly with locals and seasonal workers!
They do say, “It is not what you know, it is who you know”, and this, in particular, can be helpful when needing a local's guidance on a budget holiday. They will know the ins and outs of the resort and may have discounts they can offer you too. Be friendly and may have a brilliant karmic impact - gaining you new friends and a deeper and humble understanding of mountain life.
If you want to enjoy a mountain experience without breaking the bank, use these hacks and head straight for your favourite search engine to look for the best deals out there!