Back in June we posted our first Skiing in the Credit Crunch article. Now that autumn's here and the annual ski holiday is much more in the forefront of people's minds, we thought we'd give you some more ideas on how to get out on the slopes for less.
Travel money: Prepaid currency cards are now big news for travellers. Over the last few months more and more of these have hit the market, from mainstream banks like Lloyds TSB to the Post Office and Tesco. The principle is simple, you get one of these cards, load it up with euros or dollars, and then use it like any other credit or debit card when you're away. Withdrawals from foreign cash machines are cheaper than using your normal debit card, if you lose it you can get a replacement without risking having any cash stolen, and quite often they can be topped up online - like a pay as you go mobile.
There are now quite a lot to choose from. Some have set-up fees, or monthly fees, some will charge more than others for withdrawals, so it pays to shop around. They will usually take at least a week to 10 days to organise so don't leave it till the last minute.
Dynamic Currency Conversion: Nowadays it is not unusual to be given the option to pay in local currency or sterling when paying by credit card abroad. Always choose the local currency. This new process is called Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC). The retailer or ATM invites you to pay in sterling and then does the exchange rate at an unfavourable rate, which costs you money. Research by Caxton FX, a foreign currency dealer and supplier of the very competitive Caxton fx Prepaid card, has shown that during last ski season "around £30,000 was wasted at just five of the most popular ski resorts in Europe through DCC."
Buy Equipment in the UK: With the strength of the euro against the pound you're unlikely to find good equipment deals in your ski resort. If you're looking to get your own kit then buying at home before you go will usually be cheaper. If you know exactly the make and model of ski/board you want you can always check out prices at home or away, Snow and Rock for example will give you a good idea of the UK price. And if you really know what you're looking for Ebay is also a useful place to look.
Rent in Advance: If you're renting your equipment it really pays to shop around, and booking in advance can give you some good discounts. Intersport, who operate in France, Switzerland and Austria, are offering good incentives for advance booking, Ski Set (France only) give at least 20% off for online bookings. It's also worth looking at the websites of the resort shops - many will also be offering good deals if you book direct with them.
Off Season Holidays: If you don't have to go in February (when half terms for the whole of Europe fall in the same 2 weeks), then look at prices outside peak times. January is often overlooked but can quite often have the best conditions, quiet pistes and cheaper deals on flights and ferries. The week before Christmas is also a good time for bargains. With a late Easter next year there could also be some good offers for March.
Go Mid-Week: If you're not tied to a Saturday to Saturday holiday, look at bucking the trend and taking advantage of quieter roads, and cheaper flights and ferry prices during the week. Many Chalets Direct holiday providers can offer flexible stays with arrivals and departures on different days of the week. It also means that you can ski on the Saturday when everyone is packing up and going, and you've got the pistes to yourself.
With planning and some forethought, you can make savings on your ski holidays.