As it is, skiing vacations for an individual are seriously expensive, and having to do it with the entire family in tow can easily break the bank. Hotels charge a hefty premium during school holidays, flights cost three times the normal price and ski schools run out of seats in the blink of an eye. For families who are hitting the slopes for the first time, this can be an immediate mood dampener.
Having said that, skiing on the snowy slopes with your loved ones is amazingly good fun, something only to be visualized in real life. If you have ruled out a family ski vacation, anticipating high costs it is time to retrospect, because you can have a super cheap outing by going through these top tips, without having to dip in your wallet again and again.
Go in a group
The saying, the more the merrier, absolutely suits a family when they holiday together with other like minded people. Almost every resort owner will bend over backwards to accommodate large groups of say, fifteen or above. This can even offer savings on ski rentals, lift passes of upto 20%, if you plan well, rope in three more families and book in advance. Even trusted tour operators like Alpine Elements offer these group packages and deals so not only you deal with experts but also get serviced end to end.
If you know the number of days you will be spending on the slopes, get the group to purchase multi day passes, which offer additional savings on rentals and lifts. Other resorts may even provide a free child lift ticket on purchase of an adult ticket.
Skiwear doesn’t come cheap, especially when you know that you are only going to use it for one week in a year. To avoid making a huge dent to your holiday budget do not hesitate to ask friends for anything spare like jackets or even goggles that you can borrow.
If that doesn’t work, look out for discount clothes stores. They may not have the latest gear, but will retail last year stocks at half the price. Search the internet for rental equipment well in advance. Not only you will get a far cheaper price, but your ski equipment will be waiting for you outside your room on arrival.
If ultimately you decide to buy new ski gear, pay attention to quality as you wouldn’t want your kids to suffer because of the elements with cheap ski wear. You might have to shell out a bit more, but keeping the entire family safe and happy on the mountain is worth the price in the long run.
Avoid renting equipment on the slopes and instead shop at the outlet at the base of the mountain where you will get much better deals. You may check on other sports stores which are far removed from the resort areas to help get a cheaper price.
Check for family-friendly resorts
Choosing a ski resort which has dedicated activities for the entire family, rather than just for the kids, will make a huge difference in the success of the trip. Most importantly, see that the retreat you have selected is within driving distance. You might find other places tempting, but in reality, booking flights for the whole crew is expensive and you will anyway have to pay for the airport transfers or opt for car rental as well.
Many resorts are on high priority list of families because of the accessible terrain, family oriented facilities and programs for children. When picking a destination, go through the number of child care events and also the non-ski related activities. The child to instructor ratio at any resort also needs to be looked into. Some notable free family-friendly activities could include free cookie hour, free fireworks, parades and foot tapping DJ’s.
When you are on a ski holiday with families, especially with younger children, a comfortable home-based resort will go a long way. Ensure that your vacation rental has a kitchen, not only to save tons of money, but also by avoiding the demands of the young brood of their traditional favourites. Ordering lunch at a resort is expensive and you waste a lot of time lining up with others on the food court.
Another good idea to save big bucks is by booking a low-key resort, in case some of the prominent ones are out of your budget. You will find plenty of places, accessible by car, for example, with a Geneva to Morzine transfer, which have ski slopes perfect for families, minus the high price tag.
Choosing off-the mountain accomodation is another easy way to save money. Even though staying close is convenient and offers better access, your best bet is to look for lodges in the neighbouring areas. You don’t have to pay a hefty price and may get perks as free shuttle service.
Finally, choose an area with multiple family ski resorts within driving distance of each other.This will be of immense benefit as it will drive the competition down, increase your choices and bring down costs substantially.
Choose the right season
During school vacations and holidays, ski resorts jack up prices by nearly 300%. Not only that, air tickets, car rentals, lift tickets, ski equipment for a family of four will make you poorer by thousands of dollars. So avoid the peak season like Christmas, for example, and plan a trip before or after that period, since you can easily get a good deal at this time.
Make it a point to sign up for newsletters and emails from resorts, well before the start of the new season. You will be surprised at the number of discounts and offers provided for children like free ski or kids stay free, which are rarely available after the start of the season.
Do not hesitate to ask an expert
Planning an affordable family ski vacation may seem daunting, but an upcoming outing with the loved ones should be fun and not a chore. Scour the internet for information to determine which ski retreat will suit your family the most. You may even call an expert, if you want to cut down on the hours spent researching on the internet. They have all the information at their fingertips, with thousands of deals about accomodation in resorts from every corner of the world, based on your needs, interest and most importantly, the budget.
Skiing has become a hugely popular winter sport, but unfortunately only a tiny window is available each year to enjoy this activity. Additionally, a few selected resorts are suited for family trips, which makes the cost of the vacation extremely prohibitive for most families. These budget tips explained above, will help you in getting a good deal for your next family ski sojourn.