While ski holidays are great fun for active families, it’s true that they can be much more expensive than sunshine breaks when you factor in the cost of flights, accommodation, equipment, ski passes and so on. But, if you’re determined to enjoy some snow with the family, there are ways to keep the cost down. Here’s how:
When should we book?
Follow the general holiday rules for this one; if you can book early or are happy to leave it to the last minute, there should be plenty of great offers available.
Of course, this might not work for your family and in that case, research suggests that you should book exactly eight weeks before departure. Apparently, this timeframe means that unforeseen events are less likely to crop up and stop you from going, good deals should still be about and prices shouldn’t have been fully hiked up – yet!
Where should we go?
If you’re looking to cut costs, avoid ‘Western’ resorts such as Austria and France. Instead, think East Europe; Poland, Croatia and Slovenia are great, while Borovets, Bulgaria, is another popular option. It’s the oldest and largest resort in the country and is great for kids, with some fantastic nursery slopes as well as intermediate level slopes that will allow those who have skied before to test their ability without going too far, too fast!
Ski gear – should we buy before we go or rent it there?
Ski gear is probably one of the biggest elements that ups the price of a family ski break; it certainly costs more than swimwear, shorts and t-shirts! Buying family ski wear in the UK before you head off can work out much more cost efficient than renting while you’re away, especially given the bargains you can get online these days. Snow+Rock are particularly reputable and guarantee to price match if you find the same item cheaper elsewhere. On top of that they offer a kids’ buy back scheme, which will give you 20% off your next purchase when you bring back old gear that the kids have outgrown.
Who should we fly with?
Make sure you consider baggage charges before booking anything! If you’re planning to take a lot of gear out to your chosen resort, there will be extra costs involved, even if your flights are comparatively cheap. Purple Parking’s research into exactly what each airline charges for ski gear is really useful:
- Easyjet states that: “You must purchase a sporting good weight allowance which gives an additional 12kg extra weight allowance”
- FlyBe says: “Ski equipment is treated as a normal baggage item and all baggage incurs a cost. Two bags, with a maximum weight of 40kg costs £44.99”
- Ryaniar says: “You will need to pay an additional £50 to have your ski baggage entered into the hold”
For other airlines, visit: http://www.purpleparking.com/travel-advice/ski-holidays
A few extra ways to save…
A final few tips to save the pennies when you’re there:
Après-ski isn’t necessarily the best way to enjoy your loved ones’ company, but by booking self-catering accommodation, you’ll guarantee plenty of time together as a family. Whip up fondues and traditional dishes and whip out a pack of cards for guaranteed good times!
- Use public transport!
Most European countries run a decent public transport system these days, so consider this as an option when booking transfers. Remember to factor in the distance between the airport and your resort though; Kva, Vikovice and Vitkovice are all within one hour of Prague airport for example.
Image credit: bhenak via Flickr