Hitting the slopes is meant to be a thrill for the senses but a quick glance at your bank balance after booking a ski trip can be quite daunting. You want to be out enjoying the runs, the lifts and the après-ski without feeling the need to start counting the pennies. Not only that, but it’s essential to make sure you have everything you need beforehand. This isn’t a trip to Tenerife where you just need to remember shorts, sandals and sunglasses. On a ski holiday you need passes, transport to the resort and proper equipment for when you get there. This list will help you save money and remind you of everything you need to pack. Here’s what NOT to do when you’re booking a ski holiday.
Don’t book too far in advance
Many resorts and travel sites rely on block bookings to fill capacity. It can be tempting to go for the first offer available but you can grab some big savings by holding off for the perfect deal. You can be a little sneaky in the autumn months and get a last minute ski deal for France and Austria that can sometimes be up to 20% off as the hotels don’t want to see an empty room sitting for too long. The key is to be ready, as these deals get snapped up in a hurry so you’ll want to have everything prepared for when you get that last minute holiday booked.
Don’t buy boots in the shop
Ski wear can end up costing as much as the holiday itself. You want to have a care-free time on the slopes not feeling like you’ve been scammed. Buy all the equipment you need before you go to avoid high costs at a resort. It’s like sneaking your own popcorn into the cinema; you get to choose exactly what you want and for a much better price. Your best bet is to buy gear online, and from countries where the clothing is much cheaper. Stores in France are usually cheapest for buying masks, helmets and boots when compared to stores in the UK. One in particular is Cdiscount which is like the French version of Amazon. If you do a search online in French for “bon reduction Cdiscount”, you can get discount codes for a new ski suit in no time at all.
Don’t forget your ski pass
Pre-booking a ski pass might sound a little silly until you’ve gone on holiday, walked with your skis first thing in the morning towards the slopes and are met with, “DO YOU HAVE A PASS?” Yes you do need a pass for almost all resorts as the ski lift will be run by the local council and not your hotel. Luckily, there are websites that do a price comparison on ski passes and can help you get a good deal on one.
Don’t get general insurance
There is a little more risk and a lot more potential cost with general insurance. For starters while most medical costs will be covered by general travel insurance, a winter sports trip will not be included. Ski insurance will cover you for piste recovery (if you happen to need an air ambulance), loss of skiing equipment, the closure of a resort and even avalanches if you’re that unlucky. If you plan on doing other snow sport activities such as snowmobiling, tobogganing, paragliding or even husky sledding, make sure these are included on your ski insurance or else a little injury could turn into a big medical bill.
Don’t forget your transfer
People often forget that ski resorts are pretty much in the middle of nowhere. It’s best to book your transfer as soon as you can just so you don’t forget, unless you plan on spending your entire budget on a taxi, or hitchhiking your way to the resort. A transfer will take you from the airport straight to the resort, so it’s completely hassle free. On average a resort will be anywhere between 45 minutes to 1 ½ hours away from the airport.
Don’t forget your shopping
Resorts are often far away from anything else, which means that shops have the luxury of charging more. When you’re on a self-catering holiday this can turn going to the shop for milk into a dilemma. Do your shopping before you arrive at the resort. It may seem like a hassle at the time, but it’s better than spending half your budget on bread and milk. If you have space in your hand luggage to pack some of your little creature comforts from home, then do, as Dairy Milk or McVities digestives may not be available in Val Thorens or Tignes.
Don’t forget to have fun
Skiing, especially if it’s your first time, can be incredibly nerve-wracking. You needn’t worry though as resorts will have slopes for absolute beginners as well as the more advanced skier. And if you really want to improve and stop falling flat on your face, take advantage of the skiing lessons most resorts offer.
Finally, remember that the best part of a skiing trip happens after you’ve hung up your skis for the day, in other words, après-ski! For some this means enjoying one or two glasses of wine as a reward for a long day on the slopes. For others it means the start of an all-night party which you’ll pay for when skiing the next morning. Just don’t forget that you’re on holiday after all!
About the Author: Latresa Mclain is the founder and editor of The Low Cost Traveller blog. She loves to travel and share experiences with people around the world. Follow Latrese on twitter: here.