Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Choosing Your Next Ski Vacation Destination

When discussing vacation destinations, it seems to be common to suggest that getting the right destination will be the most important part of the vacation planning process. You may be surprised to hear that I would actually beg to differ from this particular view.

I certainly believe that getting the right location is one of the most important elements, but my own feeling has always been that travelling companions are likely to make or break any travel experience. If you travel with the right people, then there's no reason why you shouldn't have a great time.

When you opt to go on vacation with the wrong people, the experience can quickly turn sour. So my own view is that your initial priority should be to select the right group of people. Beyond that, you can then move on to considering other issues. This is where the importance of the location can really be seen.

Having identified who you will be travelling with, it should be possible for you to think about the preferences and requirements of all members of the group. This is really important, since your chosen ski resort will need to meet all of their needs. There is no point selecting a resort that appeals to some, but not to all.

What will you need to consider, within this context? To begin with, you'll probably be thinking about the actual ski conditions. These are clearly critical to any vacation, although it's fair to say that they cannot always be guaranteed. You can certainly, however, make a number of reasoned judgements, based on the location, historical weather conditions and when you are planning to travel.

In order to make the most of the experience, you'll clearly want to aim to travel to somewhere that offers a good chance of you being able to hit the slopes most days. But that's not the only consideration in this case. What happens during the time that you spend away from the slopes?

There's the need to think carefully about entertainment, restaurants and bars. Do you have specific preferences in this area? Once again, it's worth remembering that you may have a number of different needs to think about. For example, will you be taking children on vacation? If so, you'll certainly have a need to keep them entertained.

When it comes to accommodation, the best approach is usually to concentrate on getting the best that you can find. It's often worth splashing out a little bit extra, in order to ensure that you have the luxury that you desire. A great ski vacation should be remembered for years to come and it's important that you put everything in place to allow this to be the case.

Finding A Ski Resort For Your Family

It has never been easier to find the perfect family ski resort: whether you use a specialist agent, go on a package trip or make your own arrangements. There is a wealth of resorts offering a range of accommodation and activities, from self catering for those on a budget to luxury hotels and chalets.

For those who don't fancy travelling abroad, Scotland has five ski resorts. The Lecht, situated in the eastern Cairngorms, is best for families and beginners. It has a reputation for being very friendly, helpful and unpretentious, and the "Magic Carpet" tow is very popular with youngsters. The vagaries of British weather, however, can result in travel restrictions so it is not a good choice for booking too far ahead. If you are travelling on short notice, online booking of hire equipment and passes is advisable.

Continental resorts have more reliable weather, and are easily accessible by air, car or coach, and the new Euro Star Swiss Alps Ski Train service. Poland, Slovakia, Croatia and Slovenia offer inexpensive skiing holidays, many with budget flights from regional airports. Accommodation tends to be basic but comfortable and clean.

Many French resorts boast Eastern European prices and have the French government's "Famille Plus" award. Several have a "village des enfants" for children aged six months to 10 years, with varied activities and entertainments. They are used by locals so can get busy at week-ends, but are fairly quiet during the week.

Similarly, Austria has Kinderhotels, a chain of family hotels for kids up to 18. Many have winter playgrounds, swimming pools, cinemas and discos. Inclusive packages mean no worries about baby equipment or child care. Parents can enjoy quality time and relaxation; there are spas, wellness centres, great cuisine and bars.

Resorts in sunny Spain and Andorra are also worth considering; both have wonderful, reasonably priced resorts with good accommodation and food. Andorra has award-winning ski schools and duty-free shopping.

Scandinavian ski resorts, which have the longest season and plenty of snow beyond Easter, are especially welcoming to British families. Youngsters will love the Santa packages in Finland but there are log cabins, reindeer, huskies and saunas aplenty in Sweden and Norway too, as well as a chance to see the magical Northern Lights.

For those wanting ultimate luxury there are ski resorts in Italy, France and Switzerland ranging from boutique hotels to private chalets with pools. All offer superb child care, a full range of outdoor activities, indoor facilities and entertainments suitable for the very young and older teenagers.