Ski Holidays - How to get the best deals
Guide to finding the best deals when booking a ski holiday
The summer holidays may only just have started, but don't be mistaken, the ski booking season is looming. In only 8 weeks time we hit September, and often by that time, many of the best ski holidays have already been booked up, especially for the busy new year & half term weeks.
However, do not despair. Here are our top tips to bagging a good ski deal for winter 09/10:
1) It is worth looking around for early bird discounts. A lot of smaller operators got hit quite badly last season with low occupancy rates, and so in order to avoid it happening again next winter, they are trying to entice in early bookings with discounted rates and additional extras such as free lift passes.
2) The UK half term week shouldn't be so bad next winter. Last winter, the whole of the UK and most of Europe were on half term at the same time. Next winter it seems as though it is mostly the UK who is on holiday on the 13th Feb week. If you have trouble finding accommodation for this week through a UK tour operator, try a European one such as Belvilla or PV Holidays. Since most of their clients come from the continent, chance are they will have some availability for the UK half term.
3) Look for companies selling their holidays in sterling. That way, you are unaffected whatever the exchange rate does. If you do want to book a holiday in Euros, check to see with the operator whether there is any flexibility with payment terms. It would be useful if you could pay the balance when the exchange is more favourable.
4) Cheaper catered ski chalets can represent good value for money. However, be aware that many catered chalet operations are rumoured to be charging for extras next winter such as transfers and free wine in order to bolster their shrinking margins. Double check what is included in the price.
5) By far the cheapest way to take a ski holiday is to self drive and stay self catered. If booking self catered property, it is best to book ski chalets direct with the owner, to cut out the middle man. Try one of the many ski property portals around online.
6) Finally, if you can't commit to a ski holiday now, and if you are not tied to the school holidays, then there is still a definite argument for waiting and seeing what last minute deals you can pick up. As long as you are flexible about where you want to go, this can be the best way of bagging bargain.
However you choose to book your ski holiday, we wish you a great winter 08/10 ski season (and yes, I know it is only July, but I get excited early).