With all the Christmas stuff on TV right now, it’s sent my mind stirring about the idea of having a genuine White Christmas. And while we don’t get much snow in my neck of the woods, I do know somewhere it is guaranteed: The Alps!
Oh, I’d love to be staying in a fancy log cabin with the fire roaring, a little bit of the Bublé on the stereo and a view over the mountains. It sounds like a fairy tale, but guess what? It’s still doable before the year is out. Don’t believe me? Here are some rather ingenious ways you can bag a deal on a European ski holiday without it breaking the bank. And it all starts with being ready to pounce at a moment’s notice.
Wait until the very last second possible
Christmas is when ski resorts are at most likely to be at capacity, so obviously you’d never be able to go at Christmas and have a ball, right? Well, that’s not entirely true. Most of these holidays are booked months in advance through travel companies looking to reach their quotas.
And as with any other holiday, when it gets close enough to the time, some customers may have to pull out or cancel a holiday. That leave the resorts with now-empty rooms that they would love to fill, and that can result in companies advertising last-minute trips that are so close to the bone that you could be sitting in your living room one evening and out at the airport the next.
I recommend doing a little digging on Facebook and Twitter to find accounts that will highlight those deals, so you don’t have to spend hours doing research.
Play the waiting game
Conversely, it helps to be the early bid if you want to bag a deal. Obviously, ski resorts have a limited window to be open, so they want to fill capacity as quickly as possible. I’m writing in the middle of the December 2019 and can already see some cracking deals for Winter 2020. Take Mark Warner Ski Holidays for example.
They’re already advertising resorts in France and Austria with a whopping £150 off per person, so if you don’t mind the wait, get yourself saving by booking well ahead of time.
I always wondered why in Home Alone the McAllister’s (minus Kevin of course) were going on holiday as one big family of about 16 people. Then I learned why having such a big group is good. It knocks the price per person down dramatically. If you can float the idea of a ski holiday with your extended family and give enough notice, you’ll be surprised how affordable a week on the slopes can be.
Have Christmas in March
If you can hold out on seeing the snow, learning when prices drop at resorts is excellent. Christmas and Easter are the most popular times to go skiing, so if you pick those lull periods, you’ll see prices are much lower. The last week of February/ beginning of March is usually when you’ll get better rates.
The end of the ski season in late April is good too, but you can’t be guaranteed that you’ll have a snow-sure slopes to ski down.
Go all-in for once
Some families will try and save the pennies as much as possible to have a cheap holiday, but it doesn’t work at ski resorts. Opting for an all-inclusive option means you avoid paying more for food in supermarkets (don’t forget these shops are up mountains) and you’ll usually have a ski lift pass included too.
Many people don’t realise you need to buy a pass to use ski lifts and bought separately can quickly see a family rack up at least £100 they never knew they had to spend.
Bitten by the adventure bug?
That’s all the tips I have on getting a ski deal, but if you want some adventure, you can read a guide on how to branch out and try something new in the adventure section. There you’ll find information on everything from zorbing to bungee jumping,