It’s that time of year, the Summer is over, although lets hope for late burst of warmth. The kids are finally back in school. Phew. Normality and tranquility are restored, well, for the moment.
But it leads us to look towards the Winter and think about the next family holiday, and then we start to feel our purse strings tighten. I am, of course, referring to the concept of taking your entire family skiing. It seems like so much fun, in theory, the kids get to tire themselves out on the mountain in ski school, you can do a few easy-breezy blue and red runs (or maybe even off-piste if you are that way inclined,) all finished off with a nice mulled wine in front of a roaring fire once the kids are in bed. Luckily they are so tired, they usually head to bed at 9 without a peep! But for all this joy, it comes with a whopping great price tag.
Don’t worry, just like with everything else, there are means and ways to save money on even the most expensive of activities/adventures. If you are smart, savvy and responsible, you can ensure the most cost-effective, efficient and dare we say, relaxing winter holiday possible. So we have put together the ultimate guide on how to save money on a family ski trip.
Grab a cup of tea and let’s dive in.
- Jacks flight club/sky scanner alerts/ kayak notifications.’
Open up your browser and go “incognito” it’s true that search volumes bump up the price. Then head to Jacks flight club, Kayak and Sky Scanner. Set yourself up with their notifications and get emails (or pings on the app) to wait for the cheapest options. It really works!
- Take a week off and fly during weekdays (Tuesdays)
Booking time off school/work is a nightmare, but if you can opt for Tuesday to Tuesday rather than the weekend, you will save money. Statistically, Tuesdays are a considerably cheaper travel day.
- Book transfers through tour ops
Contact your local travel agents and book the airport transfer through a reputable operator such as Crystal Ski/Thomson, Inghams etc., their resort transfers are far cheaper than renting a car and much more convenient than the bus. All you will want to do is get to resort when you land.
- Pick Easter over half term
Easter holidays is the best time to book for family ski trips. Many resorts still have the best snow (aim for glacier resorts such as Cervinia or Tignes) plus the tour operators are offering some excellent late-season deals. Shop around, and you will absolutely find an unmissable deal.
- Explore the option of driving
This idea could fill you with dread by just reading it but, depending on the size of your family (and if you have your own equipment or not) by the time you have bought flights and luggage, driving can be cheaper. If driving from the South East, you can make it to the French alps for as little as £300 all in, this includes the ferry/Eurotunnel and petrol. Drive to Dijon, stay in a cheap hotel then continue the next day to your final destination. It’s a really stunning drive too. Trust us, once you have made the trip once you won’t fly to the alps again.
The Eurostar isn’t automatically the more expensive option, they run excellent deals for families, and it’s so convenient, jump on in the evening, have dinner and wake up in the mountains.
- Go all-inclusive
Book all-inclusive! It’s no longer the tacky option, you can stay in some gorgeous locations and all aspects of the holiday from the flight to the ski pass to the food are included. It is undoubtedly the stress-free option, and they often have unmissable deals and discounts.
- Beginner skier packages all incl. ski pass/tuition/hire
If you want to book your own transport and hotel, contact your tour operator and inquire about their “beginner” packages, they include the ski pass, ski hire and tuition, you don’t have to be an absolute beginner either, they will pop you in the right class once you turn up and by pre-booking before you get there, the tour operator ensures the best prices.
- Packed lunch/slope picnics
Mountain picnics are a lovely money-saving hack. Take some delicious meats, cheeses and fresh bread from the deli (maybe a bottle of vino for you) and some juice boxes for the kids, and you are guaranteed to save on a mountain lunch. There are free picnic spots in all European mountain resorts or take a blanket in your rucksack and pitch up wherever you see the best views. It keeps the kids occupied, and it’s really romantic for you and your partner, you can even sneak a cute jealousy-inducing selfie.
- Choose resorts wisely
Steer clear of the big-name resorts and instead look for small villages. The smaller mountain doesn’t mean you will be bored but the smaller the resort, the better the local prices. Instead of St Anton think St Johann, instead of Chamonix think Champoluc.
- Buy ski gear right after the season for the following year,
Invest in ski gear for the next season at the end of the previous year, all the best deals can be found in April. Plus if you buy better quality, ensuring the ski jacket is well insulated, the base layers are the most beautiful merino wool, you won’t need to buy more, dress smart for you and the children and you will be comfortable, warm and dry.
- Currency cards and prepaid currency
Prepaid currency cards are an excellent way to stay on top of spending as well as ensuring the best rate upon transfer, think Caxton card or Revolver card. Or a bank account such as Starling or N26 offers great currency rates.
- Pack smart to avoid extra luggage fees
It seems awfully geeky and a bit sad to “practice pack” but if you pack smart you are less likely to face luggage fees. Use the space in the ski bags instead of buying extra regular luggage. If you do a few “dry runs” you can be inventive and creative with the packing.
As if you don’t have enough to do prepping for a family ski trip, but we promise it’s worth it.
Just a few smart and straightforward hacks and vastly improve your experience, it is stressful going away with the family, whatever their ages, especially skiing as the cost skyrockets by merely breathing the mountain air but if you use these tips, we guarantee and stress-free adventure. You can spend more time watching your kids swoosh down the slopes and eating some delicious food.