20 Money saving tips for doing a Ski or Snowboard Holiday on a budget
Many people say you can’t do a ski or snowboard holiday on a budget - but we disagree!
Yes, there will always be the base cost of a ski pass, but there are plenty of ways you can save the pennies when planning your holiday and whilst you’re there. A ski holiday doesn’t have to break the bank, the smaller savings that can be made along the way really do add up.
So whether you’re planning a family ski trip or a lads weekend away, here are our 20 tips and tricks we have come to learn on how to do a ski or snowboard holiday on a budget!
1. Dates – Chose wisely
Chose your dates very carefully. Not only are Christmas, New Year and Half Term super pricey for accommodation, the mountain will always be jam packed full, so queuing is imminent, as is hoards of skiers and snowboarders hurtling down your chosen piste with camacarze styling, making it a lot more tricky to enjoy.
So do your homework, check when the half terms and holiday dates fall. Try and book on the off peak times of year for example early in the season, late March or April- funnily enough many resorts in the region got big snowfalls in April this year. In addition to the benefit of better piste time, some resorts have reduced ski pass rates too. Win – win.
2. Travel - Mid week winner
If you are booking self catered accommodation they tend to be more flexible on the days you can arrive, so take advantage of the cheaper flights and travel mid week. You’ll also avoid the Saturday rush at the airport which is generally a good thing…trust us!
3. Flights – Shop around & plan ahead
Use comparison sites such as Sky Scanner to compare all the different operators options and most importantly - book in advance! (We would recommend (momondo.com) Skyscanner (skyscanner.net) TravelSupermarket (travelsupermarket.com)
Flights tend to be cheaper in advance as a rule, with some highs and lows over the months you generally make a saving when booking in advance, so get yourself organised and get in early. Did you know that Easyjet also have a price promise? So if the flight does become cheaper than on the date you purchased it they will give the difference in a voucher you can use on future flights! AMAZING So really there is nothing to loose by being organised. (http://www.easyjet.com/en/help...)
4. Self Catered vs Catered
You will always find self catered accommodation much cheaper as a rule, obviously you have to factor in the food for the week but this is still very likely to be much cheaper than booking a catered chalet, true there may be some good deals to nab but this is a place where you can save money. If you like your luxury there are plenty of chalets that offer weeks as self catered so make sure you ask.
5. Go Big
Maximise your group size to utilize your accommodation price per person. If a chalet sleeps 10, try and get 10 people to fill it, simple enough and means that you can get the price per person down. It also means you can buy food and cook in bulk, another way to save money. (FYI our shared transfer rates work in the same way, to get the lowest price per person book a larger group!)
6. DIY it!
If you are willing to go to the effort putting the trip together yourself you can save money, package deals don’t always let you take advantage of the best prices, some have hidden fees, so why not trying contacting chalets and accommodation providers direct? This is how I used to do all of my ski holidays, you end up making good contacts with accommodation owners and you could just save a bit of money. Why not try sites like air bnb, owners direct or homeaway.
7. Group Ski and Snowboard lessons
We definitely think these bad boys are worth the investment especially if you are at a beginner level or total novice, but to save money carefully select your school, compare the prices and pick a group lesson to save money and of course be sure to book in advance. Some chalets often have partnership deals that can offer their guests a discount with certain schools so be sure to ask the question.
Keep and eye on exchange rates and good credit card deals. Check the exchange rate before you travel, monitor it and look at the trends. Plus work out the best place to change your money. We aren’t suggesting you take out a card for your holiday but if you can find one that won’t charge for payments abroad this will be a better bet than using your bank card (try money supermarket to compare) For more info on all things money related we love this article from The Independent traveller - http://www.independenttraveler.com/travel-tips/money-and-insurance/get-the-best-exchange-rate
9. Skip souvenirs
Oh the trauma of finding the family gifts, we’ve all been there, trawling the gifts shops for those left behind at home and ending up with a load of tat that cost an arm and a leg, well - reality check, not everyone needs a gift or souvenir, that fridge magnet it certainty not going to excite them for more than 5 minutes. Why not send a postcard instead? Its much cheaper and they’ll appreciate the gesture way more.
10. Be a savvy sales shopper
Buy your gear at the end of the season sales in April and May or subscribe to the brand or stores newsletters so you can be sure you don’t miss out on a bargain. We like sites like www.blue-tomato.com for the sheer size of the range, plus when they do a sale they mean it.
There are also other ways to save on your gear like trying cash back sites so you can get money back on what you spend, or you can even try ebay for second hand gear or older season styles on sale direct from the brands.
11. Get online and rent
Hire you skis online for savings, many ski rental shops offer a discount for pre-booked gear rather than stuff that you rent on the spot.
Plus buying all the gear can set you back a pretty penny and it all adds up, skis, poles, gloves, jacket, pants…Especially if you have to factor in airlines fees for ski carriage. But you can hire this in resort to save the money, or look around for second hand deals. Speak to friends who ski - can they lend you their gear or do they have any hand me downs. We’ve also had friends come for a weekend that didn’t have any gear, or space to pack it all, they rented skis in resort and they rented a onside for the weekend! They looked amazing… (retro rentals)
12. Ski and Snowboard tests
If you plan well enough you can take advantage of the Ski and Snowboard tests these normally happen right at the start of the season, normally all that is required is a piece of ID and Bobs your uncle – free brand new ski or snowboard for the day, or the weekend, depending on how long the test is on for…plus, you get to ride the latest gear –what could be better?
13. Food- avoid slopeside!
Whether you go catered or self catered it is still worth a little trip to the supermarket to stock up on mountain snacks.
The same goes for your drinks, get a bottle of water or camel back in your rucksack as hydration is very important on the mountain, plus if you fancy a sneaky dram, a hip flask will slip nicely into your jacket pocket (DRINK RESPONSIBLY OF COURSE!) Talking of drinks, why not work out when your local bars happy hours are, that way you’ll save money on your après drinks.
15. Ski Club of Great Britain
Our friends at the Ski Club of Great Britain offer a hoard of all year round discounts as part of their membership packages, which start at just £45 a year or £25 if you’re under 24. You can save plenty of money on all parts of your holiday as well as gear, plus some of the memberships include transceiver hire, allow you to ski with Skiclub leaders and include snowsports insurance, so well worth the money. (Did we mention you’ll get a discount code to use on transfers with us too?!) Check out Ski Club
16. Play the tourist
Head to the tourist office to see what’s on, they often have lots of free activities for children going on and things like live music in the town squares, all of which go a long way to entertaining the family on a ski holiday and don’t need to break the budget.
17. Board games
Other activities to keep the cost down (and bond with the family) could be playing card games or board games at night. Get back to the traditional entertainment we all know and love, and save money on evenings out -its not just for kids either I’ve often found myself in a heated game of Monopoly!
Obviously you can take the best value ski transfer around –us! Some transfer companies charge a minimum of 35-40 euro for trips to Chamonix and Morzine, but ours start at 24.50 (or 19.50 depending on your group size), that’s extra in your pocket right there! Plus we have our legendary price match guarantee too so if you find a cheaper like for like quote elsewhere, we will beat it. Either way you are set.
19. Ski Pass
Purchase them online, plan ahead, and be honest about how much skiing you’ll actually get in, don’t go straight in with a 7 days pass if you are only going to get up there for 3 days. If you are in a family group most resorts offer a family pass price so be sure to do your research. Also if you plan on staying for more than 7- 10 days or doing multiple trips to the same resort be sure to check out a season pass rates to ensure you aren’t paying over the odds each week.
Final tip, last but not least, is to have fun because all this penny counting can be a bore, a wise man once told me if you fail to prepare- you prepare to fail.
Get organised and you’ll be sure to enjoy yourself without the stress of money worries.
We hope this has helped you, and be sure to comment if you have any other tips we can share with our readers!
Over and out!