Budget ski holidays: Is there such an invention?

by Fraser

Well, there’s no doubt that the answer to the above question would have been a resounding ‘no’ several years ago. Now, times are changing. It would be an utter fabrication to suggest that ski holidays are going to be low-cost and when compared to most “traditional” getaways, they are rarely going to be cheaper when you factor into all of the costs. However, these holidays are getting more accessible – if you know how to look for them. This is going to be the focus of today’s article, as we now take a look at some of the areas you should concentrate on if you are looking to cut costs when it next comes to your skiing holiday.


The off-peak factor

If you’re on the hunt for a beach holiday, it goes without saying that during the summer months the prices go through the roof. Then there is the school holiday factor – which adds even more costs to the equation. Well, in some ways at least, the same rules apply with ski holidays. There is a season, and if you are looking to travel around Christmas, New Year or Easter you should be prepared to pay higher prices.

When is a cheaper time to travel? If you can aim towards the end of the season, you’ll find that prices start to tumble. Admittedly, this does come with the added risk of the mountains drying out – but this is the point where you perhaps look at higher-altitude options where snow is more likely.


Lessons are an investment

This next point might raise a few eyebrows as traditionally, skiing lessons have been something which can add significant sums to your total expenditure for the trip. Let’s look at this from a different perspective, though. From an efficiency point of view, lessons can be your best friend. Without them, you are limiting yourself to green and blue slopes when in reality, this is the tip of the iceberg. Even if you are a seasoned skier, who ventures to the mountains on an annual basis, you’re not exempt from this either. A quick look at Morzine ski school highlights this; beginners and experts can benefit from lessons, and it will mean you get more for your money in the long run.


Consider the self-drive option

While some of you won’t consider this, for others it is one of the easiest ways to cut costs. As we all know, the overall cost of flights is only going one way. Sure, you may see some routes marketed at £9.99, but when it comes to the crunch and you factor in baggage, transfers, parking and everything else – it’s anything but the advertised price. This is where driving to the destination yourself comes into play. Of course, there are still some calculations to do, mainly involving the cost of fuel, ferry and toll roads – but more often than not it can shave significant sums from your final bill. Will you be comfortable driving abroad? That’s for you to decide, but from a cost perspective this can be a really easy way to save.


Opt for catered accommodation

Sure, the thought of being wined and dined every night is music to a lot of ears when it comes to holiday time. On a ski resort, where you are effectively in the middle of nowhere, you are a captive audience and this can mean that you pay more than usual for restaurants and so on.

This is where catered accommodation can really come into its own. Cooking local ingredients does have something of a charm, although if you are going for this route try and do your food shop in a nearby, major city. You’ll find that the resort supermarkets are overpriced, and your savings can be cut if you opt to shop via this approach.


Don’t forget the hidden costs

You may have got the best price on your flights and accommodation, but when it comes to the crunch a whole host of other costs enter the picture. Lift passes are usually the biggest enemy and particularly if you are traveling as a family, they can comfortably add three figures each and every day to your costs. Suffice to say, this is enough to blow a lot of budgets out of the water, so make sure you research the costs of using the lifts at your resort of choice long before you book. This is the easiest way to avoid any nasty surprises.

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