Healthy and inexpensive fun with the kids – foraging in the countryside
If you live in the suburbs or countryside and you fancy a lovely day out with the kids, why not look for tasty goodies to take home.
Posted on Jan 21, 2016 by Aman
Sep 01, 2014 by Smart Blog
Skiing and snowboarding holidays are notoriously expensive, as the activities require a hefty cash injection just to get everyone in the party kitted out and ready to hit the slopes – and that is before anyone has had a lesson, purchased a lift pass or made any of the myriad of small but significant purchases necessitated by a holiday on the piste. These expenses mount all the quicker when you go to the traditionally popular areas for skiing: France, Italy, Austria, Germany and Switzerland are not known as being budget-friendly destinations!
If you are looking for reasonable accommodations, good quality, deep snow and the opportunity to not empty out your bank account you can do no better than to consider Eastern Europe. Poland, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria have all been working hard to upgrade their facilities and amenities.
Borovets in Bulgaria was highly popular many years ago, then gradually fell into decline as renovations were ignored and facilities rapidly became obsolete and unattractive. Recent investment has seen Borovets upgraded and re-created into a highly desirable ski holiday destination, perfect for beginners and family groups offering easy access to the gentle wide slopes, first-class tuition in which the instructors all speak impeccable English and reliable depths of snow.
Zakopane in Poland, too, is benefitting from a surge in development and investment with massive improvements to the ski lifts presently underway and fabulous scenery all around the area. Russia, currently gearing up to host the Winter Olympics, is experiencing a surge in interest of winter sports and ski resorts are keenly welcoming the influx. Also deserving a mention are the Czech Republic's KrKonose and Mecavik in Serbia both of which offer excellent value for money as they slowly but surely build their reputations up in the eyes of skiing aficionados.
Choosing the time of year that you travel can make an enormous difference to the price of your skiing holiday. Early in the season, in December and January, there tends to be less certainty about the depth of snow and therefore prices will be lower as customers are gambling that they will be able to get out on the slopes at all. Storms are common in January so many people prefer not to travel until February or March. This means that the UKs February half-term combines opportunity with optimum snow conditions and resorts can easily double their prices and still be fully booked for the entire week.
When you are booking your holiday beware of hidden expenses! Many sites offer generous-sounding discounts for booking online, but as you work through the various tabs and pages other options are added on (without qualifying for the discount) until you get to the 'pay now' section and your credit card instantly tries to curl up and hide! As far as possible uncheck the boxes for 'extras' but do make sure that you make provision for everything you need and try to find out how much it will cost you to hire all the necessary equipment for the duration of your stay. While experts will be happy to fit their own boots and will know the basics of maintenance to keep everything working well, beginners might be happier to pay their hotel for a concierge service that will take care of the ski equipment over night and help with fittings.
Another expense that should never be neglected is ski insurance. Even if you have an insurance policy already you may find out that it does not cover you when you indulge in so-called high-risk pursuits. For this reason, make sure that you and everyone in your party are covered in the event of accident, injury or even death: better to have the cover and not need it than the other way around!
Budget skiing holidays are possible: all you have to do is look for the bargains, plan your holiday flexibly and be prepared to leap at an opportunity when it comes along!