Whether it’s your first time on the piste or you’re a ski season pro, a winter holiday is a great way to recharge your batteries in the grey days of January. But with many resorts notorious for being eye-wateringly expensive, heading for the mountains isn’t cheap. Add in the costs of equipment hire and you might need a second mortgage to pay for it all.
There is a better way. These 5 hacks will help you to enjoy a great winter holiday without breaking the bank.
Find a cooler resort
If you’re heading for the Alps, why not opt for one of the upcoming resorts in Eastern Europe instead? They’re ideal for family holidays with a great mix of friendly slopes and pretty villages. Head for Bansko in Bulgaria for world-class snow at a pocket-friendly price.
There are also bargains to be had in the Italian Milky Way ski area around Sestriere and adventurous skiers and snowboarders will love the wild terrain in the Spanish Pyrenees.
Stay in a cosy chalet
Staying in a chalet provides a picturesque backdrop for all your winter holiday selfies. Plus you’ll get a hearty cooked breakfast, a substantial snack after a day on the piste and a three course meal in the evening often with wine included.
It’s cosier and more romantic than staying in a hotel and when the chalet staff have their night off you can treat yourself to a night on the town.
Check your lift passes
Buying lift passes could be one of the biggest outlays of your holiday. But do you need to buy them at all? If you’re a beginner, you’ll often find the drag lift to the nursery slopes is free. So until you’re ready for the bigger runs you won’t need a pass.
Kids often get their passes for free, while casual skiers can profit from blue and green run ski pass deals. Best of all, look for a package deal that includes your ski pass so you’re not at the mercy of exchange rates.
Book the right car
You might be surprised to find that most modern cars can handle moderate snow quite easily. Thanks to front-wheel drive systems, you won’t have to pay extra for a four-wheel drive and if you prefer to stay away from the expensive resorts you’ll have the freedom to explore the surrounding countryside and get to any run you fancy.
Before you hit the road, check whether there’s a cold weather kit or stock up with de-icer and plenty of screen wash. Get the breakdown number from the car rental desk and programme into your phone. You’ll want to keep it and a few sweaters handy if the worst happens.
Sort out your own car rental excess insurance
If you’re going to be driving in snow and you’re not used to it, slow down. You should leave at least a 6 second gap between yourself and the car in front to avoid accidents. And make sure you take out car rental excess insurance before you travel.
This type of insurance covers the excess you’ll pay if there’s any damage to the car, whether you’re responsible or not. That can run into thousands and leave you out of pocket. Take out affordable car hire excess insurance from a reputable provider and you won’t get any nasty surprises once you get home – and you won’t have paid through the nose for a rental car company policy.
Heading for the mountains? Excess Buddy can help
At Excess Buddy, we bring together quotes from major insurers that will cover your car rental excess and more. For just a few pence a day if you choose an annual policy, you can protect yourself against paying for damage to vulnerable parts of the car, misfuelling or lost keys and you’ll have your quotes in seconds.