Some handy tips here for saving some of your hard earned money on your next snowboarding trip.
Snowboarding is expensive…
We all know that snowboarding, especially snowboarding holidays, can start out expensive and then turn into a new mortgage on your house. There are a few things you can do that will make your holiday a little cheaper though. These are things that can be done by everyone, but some of them should perhaps be left alone. It all depends on how desperate you are!
It’s a cliche I know, but this really is the best place to start. The travel industry is dog-eat-dog – everyone wants your money so why not find the cheapest deal? If you’re booking everything separately then it’s wise to price check. There are so many places out there that will beat any price you find on flights, so it’s worth shopping round before you phone anyone. Flightcentre have a deal that if they can’t find you a cheaper fare in the same cabin, you fly for free. If that doesn’t change your pupils to dollar signs, I don’t know what will!
If you aren’t booking everything separately and you’ve decided to go with an agency that sorts every detail out for you, there are a few things that might help. There are always some companies that will do something cheaper if asked, but not all. Remember that your ski pass will be the biggest expense so if you can find a company that throws these in for free you’ll save yourself a packet.
Next to your lift pass is food. This is your second biggest expense and if you’re heading to the snow with a family, you’ll need a small fortune. Eating out can be quite expensive; if you can find someone that has an all-inclusive option for not much more then you’re better off doing that!
At the airport
Here’s a tip that should never really be attempted because every airport employee in existence will shout at you – if they see you. As explained so excellently by Johno Verity, the best way to sidestep the charges of being over the baggage allowance for your snowboard is to take some stuff out! If you leave a little pile of your things away from the eyes of the check-in staff, you can get your bag weighed and then (remembering I’m talking about board bags here) you’ll be asked to take it to oversized baggage. Once they’ve told you this, you return to your pile of clothes, put them back in your bag and you’ve gotten away with a few extra kilos. Some airlines now have a separate weighing machine at the oversize baggage so this might not always work…
The other trick is the ‘one footer’ or ‘knee rest’. When you are getting your board bag weighed, you’ll notice it pokes out over the edge of the scales. It’s a great idea to rest some of the weight on your knee, foot or shin. This will take quite a lot off the real weight and could save you a packet!
Remember, if your plane goes down in flames because of the extra weight you put on the flight, I don’t want to receive any compensation letters from your family!
Snow gear can send your bank manager flying up the wall but at the same time your credit card company is encouraging you to spend more. Snowboards themselves are expensive. The best thing to do is to borrow! There will always be someone who knows someone else that you can borrow from. Alternatively, buy from a second hand shop or go to TK Maxx. It may not be the best stuff but sometimes you can find a gem in there that costs next to nothing. For inspiration check the latest snowboarding photos.
Whilst we’re talking about borrowing things, ‘borrowing’ a lift pass is always good. If someone can’t make the slopes that day and you are the same sex and look mildly similar to them, you’ll easily get away with using their lift pass for a day or two.
Stay away from the mountain
Don’t stay away from it forever, just for food. It’s far too expensive on the mountain so don’t eat there. Tips are as follows: If you are staying somewhere that’s either bed and breakfast or half board, make yourself a sandwich in the morning, or something suitable, that will tide you over until your evening meal.
If you can’t afford to eat out in the evening and the food provided at your bedside is non-existent, the best food is always free food! Make friends with a school trip. Why? There’s always food hanging round a school group and there’s always more than they need. Fill your plate, stomach and fridges with their leftovers! As well as a school trip, if you’re able to find a Club Med group, head along to the first night where they do their ‘meet and greet’. There’s always enough people to fill a small country at these things so you’ll be able to slip in under the radar and get yourself some free food.
Befriend a seasonaire
Become the friendliest person in the resort and you’re sure to find some seasonaires. These are the people that you want to be hanging around when you go on a night out. They can generally get discount at most bars (that seems to be standard practice in Europe) and if you’re there saying “Here, buy a round on me” – you’ll both be winning.
If you’ve decided to drive to the resort from where you live, car-pooling can really make things cheaper. There are several forums and sites that can help you out with this; look for like-minded people going to the same place or area. It will cut the cost of travel dramatically – but probably isn’t an option if you are a family.
All in all, that’s quite a few tips on how to save a bit of cash. Some of them legal, others not so much, but they will all save you a penny or two. I may have missed some out, so do add them in the comments if you think they’d help.
Alternatively, just don’t go. That’ll save you a packet. But then again, it isn’t really an option!