Save, make, understand money

Money Tips

Planning to hit the ski slopes? Here are the best value destinations

Paloma Kubiak
Written By:
Paloma Kubiak

Bulgaria remains the best value ski destination for families hitting the slopes this February half-term, despite increasing in cost over the past year.

Research from M&S Bank reveals that a week’s holiday for a family of four to Bulgaria will cost £2,992 or £748 per person – a third less than the price of the most expensive ski destination (Vail, US).

The total cost of a ski holiday to Bansko resort in Bulgaria has risen by nearly 4% from £2,880 in 2015 – owing largely to higher flight costs. However, Bansko experienced the lowest average levels of snow on upper slopes (73cm) compared with other destinations.

Italy takes the second spot with Central Piedmont costing a family of four £4,500; 50% more than Bulgaria. This is despite an increase of £356, or nearly 9% on last year. But, Italy offers good skiing conditions as there was an average of 176cm of snow on the upper slopes – the best of all the destinations analysed by M&S Bank.

Vail in the US is the most expensive destination, costing a family of four £9,924 or £2,481 per person. Long haul flights to this destination cost as much as £2,288 per family. Grindelwald in Switzerland is the second most expensive destination, costing a total of £5,680.

Despite the US and Switzerland ranking as the two most expensive destinations, the cost of booking holidays there has actually fallen over the past year; 10.1% and 8.9% less respectively.

Cost of ski passes and equipment hire

In addition to flights and accommodation, the cost of equipment hire and ski passes can have a significant impact on the total cost of a ski holiday, says M&S.

Italy offers the most affordable ski passes and equipment rental for the second year running, costing £591 in total for a family of four, while Bulgaria is the second most affordable (£673). This compares with £2,464 in Vail, US, which is the most expensive.

However, across all five destinations, the cost of ski passes and equipment hire has fallen by an average of 5.3% since 2015.

Paul Stokes, head of products at M&S Bank, said: “Families can achieve substantial savings by considering some of the less traditional ski destinations, as well as buying ski passes and booking equipment hire online before they arrive. In addition, looking at local costs and exchange rates can help ensure they get the most from their travel money this half-term.”

Top travel money tips:

  • Try to be flexible and opt for a weekday or night time flight, which could prove cheaper
  • Use a comparison site to compare the price of flights and accommodation before booking
  • Always budget for your holiday – factor in travel money for snacking, taxis, tipping and other costs
  • Transfer costs from the airport to your destination can vary so research in advance
  • Don’t leave your holiday money until the last minute; airport bureaux often offer less competitive rates and may not have a wide variety of note denominations
  • Always take both travel money and a credit/debit cards to ensure you have multiple methods of payment.