The Daily Telegraph - Saturday - Travel
EIGHT TIPS TO CUT COSTS ON YOUR WINTER HOLIDAY
h Drive. Even if you stay overnight en route, it is usually still cheaper than flying at busy times. It also means you have a car once you are there to get around – and you can take all the paraphernalia you need with you, from ski kit to board games.
h You don’t necessarily need to fork out on snow tyres. A set of chains is usually enough (we borrowed ours from a friend).
h Look for deals. In the Grand Massif ski area, for example, children under eight ski free; in Alpbach in Austria, children aged up to 15 ski free over Easter; in Zermatt in Switzerland, kids under nine ski free.
h Dedicate some proper time to working out where you want to go. I now have a spreadsheet crunching driving time versus ski pass costs, both of which can vary hugely. Just three days’ skiing in
Les Menuires (part of
Les Trois Vallées), for example, would have cost €855 (£756) for five of us – more than the €755 (£667) it cost us to ski for five days in Val Cenis.
h You don’t have to ski for a whole week: five days is plenty, especially if you are going with young children. This allows a couple of days’ travelling time if you are driving, and reduces the cost of lift passes and ski lessons, too.
h Hire your ski kit in advance – and borrow as much as you can. Our kids were kitted out almost exclusively in hand-medown and borrowed ski gear, supplemented with a couple of bits from Decathlon; we pre-hired our skis and the kids’ boots and helmets from Intersport. Doing so gives you between 20 per cent and 50 per cent off the cost of doing it on the spot.
h Take your own food, especially if you are self-catering, as you can batch-cook in advance, bung everything in a freezer bag and take it with you. Even buying frozen ready-meals for each of the nights you plan to be there is likely to be cheaper than stocking up in high-priced resort stores – and certainly less expensive than going out for dinner every night. Pack a Thermos for tea or hot chocolate up the mountain, and a box and a rucksack for lunchtime sandwiches – it will save you hundreds.
h Planning to go out to a resort more than once in the year? Buy a season ticket. It is far cheaper – although beware: it will make you want to book multiple trips, which of course is definitely not cheap.