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Travel Tips for Skiing Europe

Tips for Planning a Ski Vacation in Europe

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Travel Tips for Skiing Europe
When you're planning a ski trip to Europe, review these travel tips to make sure you have covered all the basics and are prepared for your ski vacation in advance.

Booking a Hotel. Hotels typically book from Saturday - Saturday, so plan your trip accordingly. If you have an early morning flight into Europe, ask about an early check-in or booking the room the night before, so you don't have to wait all day to check-in.

Meal Options. You'll have a choice of meal plans in most hotels. Full board is breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Half board is breakfast and lunch. Or, the room may come with just breakfast or no meals. You'll be asked to select a meal plan, if it's optional when you book your reservation.

Credit Cards and Money. Notify your credit card companies that you will be in Europe. Get Euros (bills and some change) at your bank before you leave. At Geneva International Airport you'll need 2 Euros for a luggage cart, which is handy if you're bringing bags and skis. Also, if you rent a car you may need to pay tolls, depending on where you're heading for your ski vacation.

Carry On Your Boot Bag. Bring your ski boot bag, packed with a complete ski outfit, on board as carry-on luggage. That way, you'll have what you need to ski even if your other luggage doesn't arrive when you do.

Pack Your Ski Bag. If you're bringing your skis, they count as a regular bag on most airlines, not an oversized bag, so they aren't subject to extra baggage fees. If you have a roomy ski bag, back some of your ski clothes along with your skis. Note to check the ever changing airline requirements before you travel so you are in ccompliance.

Car Rentals. When flying into Geneva, rent a car on the Swiss side of the airport, rather than the French side. It will have the Swiss "vignette" or sticker you will need to drive on the highway in Switzerland. Be sure to rent a winterized car that is 4WD and has a ski rack and snow tires or chains.

Wi-Fi. Many European hotels have Wi-Fi throughout the hotel, but do check, because some may only have Internet access in the lobby or via dial-up in the rooms.

Speaking the Language. Most Europeans are fluent in several languages, so don't worry about your inability to speak French, Italian, German or other languages. Do try and speak a little of the local language - even if's just a few words like "Bon Jour" or "Merci" - your efforts will be appreciated.

Save on Ski Passes. When you buy a multi-day ski pass, it will be significantly cheaper than buying a daily lift ticket.

Buy Insurance. Skiing insurance, called 'carre neige' or 'carte neige' in France, is inexpensive and well worth having if you need to get off the mountain in an emergency. It will take care of transport to a local medical center and may cover some of the other costs not covered by your private health insurance policy. You can buy insurance when you buy your ski pass.

Hire a Guide. In most European resorts, you can choose from a variety of certified guide services. Ski instructors are mostly locals well familiar with the area and can be hired out for day trips.

Take Photos. Believe me, all of your friends, skiers or not, who have never been to the Alps will be in awe of all that you have seen and a skied.

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