Booking a ski trip to Queenstown is always a good idea – until, of course, your credit card statement arrives after the holiday and you remember just how expensive ski holidays are. Accommodation, flights, lift passes, ski rental, food, drinks, that day of heli-skiing or jet-boating or spa visits or whatever activity you found yourself wanting to add in there during your stay… it all adds up. Quickly.
While it’s inevitable that you’ll always be forking out some kind of cash for a holiday (unless you win a trip to Queenstown right here, lucky you), we have some tricks that might help you stick to your budget while overseas.
Invest in your own ski gear.
Forking out for high-performance rentals year after year on your ski holidays? It’s time to think about investing in your own gear. Calculate how much you’re spending on rental gear on ski holidays every year and then compare that to what you’d spend on purchasing your own set-up.
Keep in mind that you’ll also have to fly with your gear, which may cost extra for baggage allowance, depending who you’re flying with – that amount should also factor into your calculations. But if you’re heading to the snow every year and spending $300+ on rentals every time, your own ski and boarding equipment will likely pay for itself pretty quickly.
If you’re contemplating buying a board or a pair of skis, but you’re unsure about which to go for, have a wander around Queenstown and talk to some hire shops. Many of them offer demos which allow you to test out several different pieces of equipment before deciding which one to purchase.
Keep in mind that end-of-season sales can offer up some serious bargains on boards and ski set-ups, and don’t rule out snapping up some ex-demos, as they may only have been ridden a handful of times.
As for your other gear? Don’t feel the need to buy big. Shop at Aldi’s annual snow gear sale for essential items such as ski socks, thermals, and even pants and jackets – they’re surprisingly great quality and perfectly well-suited for New Zealand ski fields. See if you can borrow outerwear from friends, and pick up good-quality gloves and goggles on sale wherever possible.
Download the First Table app.
This is the first app you need to be downloading onto your phone before any trip to Queenstown. Commit to being the first table at a restaurant for the night – this might be a seating anytime between 5pm and 6pm – and pay $10 to reserve your booking. You’ll then get 50% off the food bill for between two to four people. They have over 100 participating restaurants within the app, including Jervois Steak House, Italian spot Bella Cucina and Winnie’s Gourmet Pizza Bar, as well as lunch and breakfast options. Find it here.
Pack your own lunch
Want to buy food on the mountain? Better think about taking out a mortgage for it. Although ski resort food in New Zealand is high-quality and you can generally find a decent variety in on-mountain cafeterias, you’ll still be forking out a lot for it – especially if you’re buying for more than just yourself.
The better option is to pack yourself a basic lunch (try Countdown, Pack and Save and New World supermarkets at Remarkables Park and Five Mile), stash it in a locker while you’re skiing, then come back and eat it on the deck between runs while hopefully lapping up some winter sunshine. Sandwiches are always an easy option, as is a Thermos full of soup, some chips, muesli bars, fruit and chocolate (for energy, of course).
If necessary, bribe the kids with a hot chocolate to finish their home-made sandwiches – you’ve still avoided purchasing what happens to be one of the more expensive factors of your ski holiday.
Pick up an early bird deal that covers just about everything for you.
By purchasing a deal that covers your accommodation, transport and lift tickets, you’re saving money right away by not purchasing everything separately. And although winter in Queenstown is just around the corner, there’s still time to snap up early bird deals thanks to some extended offers.
Ski Express is currently offering up a couple of these extended offers. Go for their 7 nights Conquer Queenstown package from $1059 per person, which covers transport, accommodation and lift passes; or for those of you looking for a really fun time with a big group, their 6 Nights Queenstown Snowboard Camp from $1699 per person, which includes accommodation, lift passes, transfers, merchandise, some meals and a bunch of other extras such as professional coaching and merchandise.
If you’re a little short on time, there’s also a five-night Queenstown Snow Hit package from $584, which covers accommodation and lift passes.
For more information on Early Bird packages to Queenstown, check out Ski Express deals here.
And if Queenstown isn’t quite your cup of tea, don’t worry – they also have deals to Wanaka, Mt Hutt and Ruapehu available. Check them all out here.
Have you been to Queenstown? What are your tips for saving money?