So, you hit the jackpot and found a budget flight straight to the heart of the Alps. You were thinking ahead, so you’ve already booked an affordable hotel and looked into lift passes. Looks like your relatively cheap holiday in the Alps is all lined up! Or is it? Sorry, EasyJet, did you say ONE carry-on bag? As in… no personal items? With fees for sports equipment starting at £35, it’s worth thinking hard about what items you absolutely need to take, and which ones might be better to rent. Here are Snowplaza’s tips for packing for a budget flight to the Alps.
Before you start having to cut out items, make sure you are getting the most out of your packing space. Most budget airlines allow one carry-on suitcase approximately 56 x 45 x 25cm, although some of them have weight restrictions. The handiest tip I’ve ever been given for squashing things into your suitcase is roll, roll, roll. You can fit much more that way. And if you’re taking extra shoes, stuff them with socks and other miscellanea so as to minimize wasted empty space.
Your ski jacket, your thick socks, your heavy winter boots and your scarf all belong on your body for the flight. It might not be the most comfortable way to travel but at least you can use all that stuff as a blanket if the plane is cold!
…Should easily fit into your hand luggage. We’re talking goggles, your GoPro, gloves and mittens (I usually bring cheap gloves to wear inside my mitts in case it’s very very cold), a balaclava and a beanie. Pj’s, flip flops and swimming trunks will also come in handy. Don’t forget travel-sized sunscreen, SPF lip balm, basic meds and toiletries. I also bring a few cereal bars so I don’t need to buy the exorbitantly overpriced plane food.
There’s no way around it, ski boots are tough to pack. But if you’re one of those people who absolutely must have their darling perfect-fit boots, then stuff as much as you can inside them as you cram them into your carry-on. Similarly, your helmet is bulky and not very squishy, but you can usually get away with clipping it to the outside of your bag, as if it were a [hard, uncomfortable] travel pillow.
A good base layer (long johns and warm but breathable undershirt) is essential, as are ski socks, a jumper and your ski pants and jacket. For après-ski or dinner out, pack one pair of trousers and one or two shirts and jumpers. You won’t need much else, as you’ll be spending the majority of your time on the pistes, so save the room in your luggage for more essential items. DO pack extra socks and extra pants (and a sports bra if you’re a girl!) for when they will get soaked through. Speaking of soaking clothing, plastic bags always, always come in handy. Bring some.
Just like every time you travel, don’t forget to bring your passport, plug adapters, foreign currency, credit and debit cards and proof of travel insurance. A word to the wise – read your travel insurance policy carefully to make sure you are still covered for accidents during “extreme sports.” Skiing and snowboarding, benign as they may seem to some of us, often count as such sports!
Sometimes budget airlines don’t turn out so budget when it’s all said and done, so it’s worth poking around before you buy your tickets. SWISS Airlines tout themselves as the “skier’s airline” and offer free ski hold luggage, including skis and poles/snowboard, boots and helmet, in addition to the standard checked luggage allowance. But if you’ve bought an Easyjet ticket and you really can’t fit everything into your carry-on, register your bags online long before your flight in order to avoid extra charges at the airport.
Obviously, unless you are very attached to your skis/poles/snowboard, it’s easier to rent them at the hill and forget about lugging them all the way to the mountain. Ski rental shops usually offer a good variety, and in many cases you can reserve your equipment online, so it’s just an easy matter of picking it up when you arrive. If you don’t have your own, you can also look into renting things like pants and goggles, but you should really invest in your own. You can also rent a helmet.
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Born and raised in the ski paradise of Vancouver, Canada, I learned to ski before I can remember, balancing precariously on my parents’ skis as they sailed down the hill. I started snowboarding in my teens and am now delighted to be exploring everything Europe’s ski scene has to offer!
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