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Sally is a key member of the MoneyMaxim editorial team. She is a frequent hire-car user and often goes on holiday with her family. With an interest in getting great value for money, Sally shares her hints and tips for travelling and insurance.
A skiing holiday can be fun for all the family as well as a great adventure for a group of friends or a romantic getaway for a couple but, whoever you are travelling with, the cost of a holiday in the mountains can start to add up.
However, with some forward planning and by looking at all of your options, it is possible to enjoy a fantastic experience on the slopes without having to break the bank. Here are several ideas that may help you achieve that winter sports holiday that you have always wanted and make sure you have the appropriate insurance for your ski trip.
Where and when? Choosing to go on holiday at the start of the season or outside of school holidays - if you are able - can invariably mean a lower price. If these dates are not possible, consider the location. France and Switzerland tend to be more pricey than Austria or Italy. However, the Post Office ski report for 2016 shows Bansko in Bulgaria as the cheapest resort based on a variety of items you may need to buy whilst on holiday including lessons, boot hire and food.
Buying Currency Don't leave buying currency until you get to the airport as rates at these desks can be far less favourable. Compare rates with MoneyMaxim to find a better deal for your sterling.
Credit cards Do you know how much you will be paying to use your credit card abroad? You may be charged a foreign transaction fee for cash withdrawals and for purchases made while you are away. These can add up very quickly. If you shop around there are credit cards which do not charge this fee.
All-inclusive Paying for your holiday in advance, including your ski rental and boot hire, could not only save you money through deals offered by the holiday companies but also, if you don't have a fee-free credit card, save you money on transaction fees for these larger items. All-inclusive holidays may also offer protection against currency fluctuations. Should rates fall further, you will not be paying out more in pounds when you get to your destination.
Flights Find out what great deals are available on flights through Skyscanner. Booking early could save you money. Consider flying in to an airport which has lots of flights available and is also not just a ski destination such as Munich, Geneva and Milan. More deals may be available for these airports and car hire will probably be easier too. If you are thinking about taking your own skis, check the baggage allowances for flights as you are likely to face an additional charge.
Car Hire Car hire is another area where booking early can have its advantages. There are more cars available - particularly if you need a 7 seater or larger - and there is a good chance the prices will be lower. Many companies offer free cancellations so, if you have already booked but find an even better deal, then you have the opportunity to cancel and rebook.
Car Hire Insurance If you hire a car you will often have an excess to pay should you be involved in an accident or the car is stolen. Many car hire desks will offer extra insurance at the desk to waive this excess - normally at a cost of around £10-£15 per day. Take a look at the MoneyMaxim Car Hire Excess Insurance Comparison service to find reimbursement policies from £1.80 per day. You could make a huge saving! The policies via our site also offer cover for damage to windows, wheels and the undercarriage - areas which are often omitted from the insurance with your car hire.
Car Hire Extras You can make further cuts to the cost of your car hire by avoiding charges for extras when you collect your car. Book a car which allows for a free additional driver if you need one and install the relevant app on your phone rather than pay an additional fee for a Satnav for example.
Mobile phones and tablets To avoid charges, turn off data roaming on your phone or tablet when you don't need it. Use free wifi hotspots where available. Are the devices you are taking covered by insurance? Not all travel insurance will include these options. Gadget Insurance can provide reassurance not just on your holiday but when you are out and about at home too. Multi-gadget policies are available if you are taking more than one with you.
Travel Insurance Making sure you have adequate travel insurance is vital. Your EHIC, while extremely important, will not be enough. It only entitles you to the same standard of basic medical care as a resident but will not cover you should you fall, break a leg and need to be airlifted off a mountain. Your travel insurance should include winter sports cover as otherwise a bad accident can result in a bill running into thousands of pounds. There are many companies which offer Insurance for skiing or snowboarding including those specialising in pre-existing medical conditions.