Skiing holidays on a budget


James Smith

The anticipation of a ski holiday can be clouded by worry about how to gather the budget for such a trip, as skiing has a reputation of being expensive and a luxury. While this may be at least partly true for some of the ski areas and resorts in Switzerland, Austria, France, or Italy, it is entirely possible to have the same experience without turning to payday lenders. With all the things that go into a ski holiday, there are many opportunities to save money with just a few simple steps and some planning. Below you will find some advice on what to look out for and how to get the most value for your money. Skiing holidays on a budget is possible!

Thinking ahead

When deciding to go on a ski holiday, whether it be with a group, as a couple, or alone, it pays off to take time in advance to research all aspects of the holiday in order to save money and avoid stress.

Consider visiting lesser known destinations

To have a great ski holiday, you do not need to go to the most famous and popular areas or resorts. A range of European countries have great ski areas and resorts, and the lower prices do not mean the slopes here are less enjoyable than those of more expensive destinations. Apart from the financial advantage, going with less popular spots also means that it will be less crowded. Some countries to consider for budget friendly ski holidays are Slovenia, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Bosnia, and Andorra. Even in Italy and France you can find affordable resorts, it just takes a bit of searching online. If you want to go further north, Scandinavia offers plenty of possibilities as well.

skiing and snowboarding

Time your trip around school holidays

The timing of your holiday can make a big difference in how much you will spend. If you can, try to avoid school holidays like winter half-term in February and the Easter holidays in April. Apart from being aware of the UK holidays, it may be wise to find out when the children in the country of your destination are out of school. This has several advantages. The general costs for accommodation and ski passes are likely to be lower as there is less demand, and the slopes will be emptier.

Items to take on your ski trip

  • Goggles
  • Gloves
  • Hat
  • Ski socks
  • Sun cream
  • Helmet
  • Insurance

Don't feel like you have to buy a whole kit

Especially if you are just starting out with skiing, it is not necessary to invest in an entire new kit as there are several ways to spend less (or even nothing) on ski clothes. If you are lucky, some of your friends or family members have ski kit that they don't need at the time of your trip. Asking around to borrow the clothes you need leaves you with money to save or spend on other things.

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If this is not an option for you, try to get your hands on last season's kit that is sold at a reduced price in many sports equipment stores after the ski season is over. If you do decide to buy new, don't immediately go for the most well-known brands, as cheaper alternatives do the same job just as well. Alternatively, go on a hunt for second-hand gear in charity and vintage shops, as many people only use their kit for one season of skiing and get rid of it afterwards.

If you want to save some space in your luggage, many ski resorts rent out ski kit so you don't have to try to fit everything in your suitcase. This is especially helpful when you travel by plane to avoid paying for extra luggage, but also makes sense for first-timers who may not know whether they will want to go skiing again in future seasons.

Mountains covered in snow

Other things to look out for on your budget ski trip

Check out some of these ideas for skiing on a budget:

For many destinations, flying is the only sensible option of travel. To save money here, try to book flights as far in advance as possible and compare different routes and airlines to ensure you get the best deal. If your schedule allows it, flights going on weekdays tend to be more affordable than those going on weekends. However, if you can be flexible with your time you may be able to find last-minute flights at great prices as well.

Before booking, be aware of the fees you have to pay for luggage, especially if you are bringing you own skis and kit, as this may well bring up the price considerably. A way of avoiding such additional costs is to stay away from airports and take the train, bus, or car instead, enabling you to take more luggage without having to pay extra. Some ski areas can be comfortably reached by these means, you may just have to plan in some extra time.

But it does not end after the first part of your journey. Don't forget that you will have to get from the airport, train station or bus stop to the resort you will be staying at. The easiest and cheapest option is usually to take the dedicated trains or bus routes that will bring you right where you want to go. Alternatively, in most places you can rent a car for the length of your stay. However, if you decide to do so make sure that there is parking space available to avoid extra fees and stress.

Before you buy your lift pass, which can be one of the biggest expenses of a ski holiday, think about how much time you will realistically spend on the slopes and what kind of pass you need. Avoid booking an expensive pass and then not actually using it enough to make it worth the price. If you are a beginner, you might get around needing a pass for your first few days of skiing as many resorts have drag lifts going to the nursery slopes that can be used for free. Families are often able to save money by booking a family pass instead of individual ones for each member of the family. In some areas, children will not need a pass at all. Should you be planning to stay for an extended period of time or know that you will return again later in the season, a season pass could be the best option for you. Don't forget that cross-country skiing is a great alternative to using the slopes and does not require you to use the lifts. If you plan ahead and schedule in a day of cross-country, you can save a whole day on your lift pass.

Skiing lessons can be very expensive, but with some adjustments they don't have to break your budget. Generally, most people will want to take their lessons in the morning and then move on to the slopes by themselves in the afternoon. This means that afternoon lessons can cost considerably less and are more easily available due to less demand. To reduce the cost of lessons even further, book group sessions if you are traveling with family or friends to share the cost of a private skiing instructor. Lastly, the more hours you book, the less you pay for each hour. In any case, booking lessons in advance is always a good idea as it allows you to plan your holiday better, and you probably will find better offers.

Save money on accommodation and food

Your accommodation can make a big difference in the overall price of your holiday. There are several options to choose from in most resorts, with hotels, chalets and apartments. If you are in a big group, chalets make sense as you can fit many people into the space and split the cost among the group. Renting private apartments can also be a lot more affordable than hotel rooms, so have a look online what is available at your destination.

When booking your accommodation, you should also decide whether you wish to prepare your own food or go with a catered option. If you have a kitchen available, make use of it by getting your supplies at supermarkets outside of the resort (prices are a lot lower here). If you prefer to go with catered accommodation, this is likely to save you money as well, since eating out on the slopes every day can really stretch your budget.

Compare and save

If you are on a budget, piecing together your ski holiday may seem like the best option as it gives you the freedom to find the best deal on all aspects of your trip. It might take a bit more work, but can really pay off in the end. Don't be too quick to completely rule out all-inclusive ski holidays though. Even some of the most popular ski resorts that usually seem unaffordable occasionally offer ski holiday packages that make them a lot more budget friendly, so they are definitely worth considering. One great advantage of booking an all-inclusive holiday is that everything is arranged and paid for in advance, meaning there will be no surprise expenses. Another bonus is that you have to spend less time researching and planning, as this is all done for you.


The best way to go is to consider all possibilities and compare the price of all-inclusive deals with what you'd pay for a holiday planned by yourself.

That way you can be sure you will have a great ski holiday without having to take out online loans.