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Money saving tips for ski holidays

A skiing holiday can be a bit of a logistical nightmare. You have to arrange accommodation, equipment hire, transport to and from the piste, lift passes, transfers and flights and that's before you get anywhere near the slopes. The cost of all these things can mount up frighteningly quickly. However there are a number of ways to make your ski holiday more affordable.

Money saving tips for ski holidays

When to go

The ski season has peak periods just like the summer holiday season. Choosing less popular times of year can ensure fewer queues and more space on the slopes as well as saving you money. School holidays and the Christmas period are the most expensive times to go skiing so avoid these if possible. You can find information about school term times on the Direct Gov website. Early December and the end of January are traditionally 'low season', when you'll be able to find some of the best deals. March can sometimes make for some great skiing offers if Easter is late that year.

Book in advance

Early booking can save you money on most types of holiday including ski trips. If you don't save on the price of the trip overall you might be able to find great discounts on childcare, ski hire or other extras. Don't just think about flights and accommodation either, pre-booking airport parking can save you money you'll be able to use elsewhere on your holiday.

Shop around

If you plan your holiday in advance you can compare the cost of ski essentials such as equipment and insurance. Bargain hunting for your ski accessories and clothing might seem natural but you can also save a considerable amount by shopping around for ski insurance. Give yourself plenty of time to compare deals. When buying insurance always check the fine print and make sure you're covered for 'risky' activities such as skiing and snowboarding.

Choose locations wisely

Picking a less popular ski resort can save you hundreds of pounds on the price of your holiday. Resorts in the Pyrenees, Austria or even Bulgaria are less glamorous than the larger ski centres in France or Switzerland but can make for a great ski holiday for a lot less. If you want to ski in a popular resort, staying a little further away from the slopes can reduce the price of your hotel. It can also mean that the local restaurants, bars and other apre`s ski entertainment will be considerably cheaper than in more popular resorts. However you'll be further away from the action so it will mean your ski lift pass is slightly more expensive. Make sure you weigh up your options to find out what could save you more and what suits your kind of ski holiday.

All inclusive vs. chalet

It is often tempting to choose an all-inclusive option on expensive trips. This way you know before you go how much the holiday will cost you. But if you are going as a large group, it may be worth look at self-catering options which have supermarkets nearby. Reduce the chores by taking it in turns for each member to cook. Turning each night into a Come Dine With Me style dinner party with secret voting adds in some extra competitive fun. You'll also be able to bring packed lunches with you up the slopes so you are not stung by expensive slope side cafes and restaurants at lunch time

Cut transfer costs

Most people think there's only one option to take them from the airport to the ski resort- the transfer provided by the tour operator- but taking public transport can be a viable alternative particularly for couples without children or singles who don't mind carrying ski gear. Choosing an airport close to your destination can also cut the cost of your transfer. Do some research to find the best airport for your destination. For example flights into Chambrey are best for the 3 Valleys, whilst flying into Geneva will be the cheapest option for transfers to the Northern Alps

Check airport charges

If you are booking your flights separately, factor ski baggage charges into your decision. Read the fine print as some airlines have a different idea of what counts as ski equipment, e.g. some will let you take skis for free but any boots or ski clothing will count as extra baggage and you may be charged. Here's an overview of some of the more popular airlines:

Airline Policy Fee Size/Weight Limit Additional Information
American Airlines Ski equipment counts as one checked bag Standard checked bag fee Max length 320cm, max weight 23kg Boots/bindings may be in a separate bag
Delta Airlines One ski/pole bag or one snowboard bag and one boot bag per person Standard checked bag fee if within allowance Max weight 23kg, length may exceed 203cm No oversize charges for length
JetBlue Ski and snowboard equipment counts as one checked bag No additional charge, standard checked bag fee Exempt from 62" size limit, follows weight guidelines Not accepted on flights to/from the Dominican Republic
Southwest Airlines Skis, snowboards, boots, and poles count as one item No charge, within free checked baggage allowance Two bags (ski and boot) count as one item Equipment must be encased in a suitable container
United Airlines One item of ski or snowboard equipment as checked baggage Standard checked baggage fees apply Water skis, snowboards, and snow skis allowed Equipment should be secure in a suitable container

*All information correct at time of writing but subject to change.

Money saving tips for ski holidays

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