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Family Skiing on a Budget

Skiing is never going to be a cheap holiday and the costs of taking a family skiing can be eye-watering. With rising prices here are ten top tips to cut the costs and enjoy family skiing on a budget.

It goes without saying that travelling in peak weeks is going to cost more. If you are able to avoid the key dates of winter – Christmas, New Year, February Half-term and Easter then you will find much better deals. If you are stuck with the high-season, book flights as soon as they are released for the best possible prices, usually six to nine months in advance.

Take a look at the luggage fees and calculate how many bags you need to take. Some airlines offer family luggage options that might be more cost effective then buying everyone a bag.

If you can be flexible with your dates consider a short break rather then the traditional week. You will save money on all the extras like equipment hire, ski passes and fewer nights away will reduce your accommodation costs but you will still get your mountain fix!

Look at resorts with short transfer times to maximise your time away. We have had great short ski breaks in Mayrhofen, Austria’s Ski Welt area and Civetta in the Italian Dolomites. All these resorts have transfer times of around an hour and a half and offer decent size ski areas.

There a literally hundreds of ski resorts across the Alps and us Brits tend to stick to a few of the big name ski areas. Going to a smaller, less known area will likely mean a cheaper ski pass. Better deals on accommodation. Lunches and drinks will have a less inflated price (so you can enjoy more of them) plus you will have a more unique experience!

We have had great family skiing holidays in Val Cenis and Serre Chevalier, two large ski areas in the French Alps that aren’t usually considered by British families.

Booking your ski holiday independently is definitely a great way to do family skiing on a budget. I always start with searching for the cheapest flight options and then plan the rest of the holiday around them. For more information on how to travel independently read this article on booking a DIY ski holiday.

Self-catering is the most budget friendly option for families. Allowing you to choose anything from large luxury chalets to tiny studio flats. Pay close attention to the location of the accommodation – being as close as possible to the slopes/ski school meeting point works best when travelling as a family and takes the stress out of the mornings and evenings! No-one wants to carry ski’s across town. Having a supermarket within easy walking distance is also really helpful.

Take a look at the usual options of airbnb, and Vrbo. It is also worthwhile searching on the local tourist information website for the resort you are planning to visit.

Family eating a picnic on the piste
A picnic on the piste is a great money saver

Ski pass deals and savings are tricky to find, but if you know the ski area you are travelling to, sign up to their newsletter. Any deals and offers will often be signposted in advance. For example, you may get a discount for a ski pass buying online.

It is worth considering how much of a ski area you will be covering. If you have young children with you it may be better to get a local area pass, rather then one that covers the entire valley. Look out for free ski passes for children under a certain age. Also check out family passes – where an adult can share the pass, allowing one parent to ski whilst the other looks after the kids and then switch.

If you are booking ski lessons, buy the ski pass through the ski school and you should get a discount.

Again there are not many savings to be had out there. But booking lessons as far as possible in advance is the best way to secure a discount. You may find a couple of private lessons are more economical then a whole week of ski school.

Boy with ski school medal
A successful week of ski school

See if your bank account includes holiday insurance (making sure the policy covers winter sports). We find an annual insurance policy the best value for money, covering multiple trips away over the year. Search for the best deals on or comparethemarket.

Take a look at your bank account – do you get charged for transactions abroad? If so, how much can vary across different credit and debit cards, and can range from 2-3%.

If you are planning on taking cash, you often get better rates if you exchange more money. Sainsbury’s also offer more favourable rates if you are a Nectar card account holder.

Kids grow quickly – it’s a fact! In the months before your family ski holiday get searching on ebay for bargain clothing, much of which is in a very good condition after only being worn for a week or so.

If you do want to buy new or can’t find what you are looking for second-hand, we have found Mountain Warehouse, GO Outdoors and Decathlon all do excellent ski wear for a fraction of the cost of the big name brands.

There is a lot to think about when planning a family ski holiday, but saving a few pennies along the way is always a great feeling (and might mean you are able to afford a sneaky second trip!)

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  1. Pingback: Half-term budget skiing: Italy - Own the Trail

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