Everything you need to know if you are planning to book a ski holiday with your kids or teenagers this winter
Many of us still have vivid memories of having to say goodbye to the ski season of 2020. It was painful having to pack all that unused ski gear away two years ago. It represented the beginning of a new era and taught us a great many things, both good and bad. Thankfully, it looks like there may be light at the end of the tunnel. January is always a super busy month for travel, and many of our single parents and solo travellers are taking the plunge and booking one of our 2022 ski holidays with teenagers and kids.
If you love skiing and finally want to get back on the slopes with your kids in 2022, find out what to expect from skiing during COVID-19 times:
Where can you go skiing in 2022?
Before you set your eyes on a particular ski resort, check the entry rules for adults and children. France no longer allows Brits to enter for non-essential reasons, whilst Austria, Italy, Switzerland, and Bulgaria ask that adults are double vaxxed and have either a booster and/or negative PCR test result. Children are allowed entry without need to quarantine if accompanied by a fully immunised adult, but youngsters 12 and over might also need to present a negative PCR test result. The exact rules differ from country to country and can change at relatively short notice.
The good news is, that it is absolutely possible to go skiing in 2022, and that plenty of European ski resorts are open for British tourists. You just have to prepare a little more thoroughly than usual. If you want to have less hassle, you could look at Slovenia, Spain, or Andorra for skiing, where entry requirements are slightly more relaxed, and ski resorts will do fine for beginners and families with kids that are not looking for challenging peaks. On the other hand, one should consider that the more draconian the COVID measures, the safer the destination.
Wherever you decide to go for 2022, it is wise to book your ski holiday early. The 2020/2021 ski season was a write off for most Brits, so both hotels and tour operators will have forward bookings from the last season or two.
What COVID-safety measures are in place in ski resorts?
Italy, Austria, and Switzerland apply very similar rules in their ski resorts. Most indoor settings and outdoor settings, where social distancing cannot be guaranteed will ask for proof of your COVID passport and/or a negative PCR test result. In addition, adults and older children are required to wear medical FFP2 masks in such settings, i.e., lifts, restaurants, hotels, ski school, etc. Naturally, hand sanitiser stations are available wherever necessary and public areas are subject to frequent cleaning regimes including disinfection of rooms between guests, enhanced cleaning around critical touchpoints.
Après skiing in Europe is somewhat limited at the moment. If you are taking the kids, this will probably not concern you too much. Austria, for example, currently has a 10 pm curfew for restaurants and bars. In fact, some bars and clubs remain closed, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a drink and enjoy yourself in the jolly mountain huts and your hotel bar.
How do I prepare for a ski holiday in 2022?
Travelling during a pandemic is possible, just a little different. Many of us haven’t been away for close to two years and don’t know what to expect. But that should not stop you from travelling and having a great time with your kids. Whether you are going on a family ski trip or a solo ski trip, there are a few things you need to prepare, thanks to COVID-19:
- Check the latest entry requirements for the country you wish to visit
- Book a package holiday for extra protection and to ensure your money is safe
- Take out travel insurance that includes comprehensive COVID and winter sports cover
- Book a flight with flexible booking conditions if you can afford it
- Install the NHS app and download your NHS COVID pass for Travel. Get paper or online copies of your kids’ COVID passports
- Check you and the kids have valid passports for travel to the EU
- Check requirements for your return to the UK (Passenger Locator Form plus currently Day 2 flow tests)
COVID hasn’t changed your passport requirements, but the new post Brexit passport rules are so often overlooked that we wanted to mention them here.
So, with a little extra preparation, you can go on a family ski holiday. In fact, you can cover yourself for pretty much any given scenario. And here is how:
1. Take out travel insurance
Many insurers pulled out of the market entirely back in 2020. Thankfully two years down the line, the situation is vastly different. There are a number of comprehensive insurance packages on the market that cover travellers for any given scenario.
Of course, taking out private travel insurance with winter sports cover was always a necessity for ski holidays with kids – even before COVID. All you need to do now is to ensure that your cover includes cancellation in the event you or your child are forced to self-isolate or contract COVID before or during your trip. In addition, entry rules might change, which does not necessarily mean your flight gets cancelled meaning your airline may not refund you. This is where comprehensive insurance cover is useful. Just don’t get caught out: You still need to check entry rules for your destination before your book your family holiday. If you book at a time when travel to your destination is not possible, your insurance policy will not cover you. Your policy will only cover you for any unexpected changes to travel rules.
2. Cover yourself for flight changes
Airlines were hard-hit by the pandemic. Many had to pay out huge sums for cancelled flights in and after March 2020. As a result, a total of at least 40 airlines are said to have failed that year.
Whilst airlines operating in the UK must comply with consumer law, the scenarios under which airlines actually refund are as follows:
- If your airline cancels your flight, they must refund you within seven days. This is covered under UK law and EU regulation 261. You could (but don’t have to) accept a voucher or re-routing of your flight to a later date and/or destination. Go to Guidance on consumer law for airlines for more information.
- If you are unable to board your flight because your destination has changed entry requirements making it impossible for you to travel, for example, because government advises against all travel, or all but essential travel, to your destination, your airline does not have to refund you if you booked a non-refundable ticket.
If the latter case happens, you still have options: You could ask your airline to re-book you to a later date or a different route, or you could claim a refund through your travel insurance. You could also buy flexible ticket in the first place, if you want to avoid any hassle.
3. Book with a tour operator
Unlike airlines, tour operators are bound by the Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018, meaning you are entitled to a refund or credit voucher if the FCDO advises against all but essential travel to your destination at the time you are due to travel, if your holiday is cancelled by the tour operator as a result of travel restrictions, and if your holiday has significantly changed, for example, because the ski resort has closed or your flight has been cancelled by the airline and there is no replacement flight available. All other COVID-related scenarios are usually covered by your insurance policy.
Booking your family ski holiday via a tour operator, such as Single Parents on Holiday, also means your money is protected against financial failure.
In the current climate, and the difficulty under which tour operators, airlines, and insurers operate, some flexibility is expected from travellers. Minor changes, such as increased testing, are therefore not covered by either, nor is you changing your mind because it’s all becoming too much hassle. In those events you won’t be able to claim any refund for your ski holiday.
So, booking a single parent ski holiday with teenagers and kids during COVID-19 is possible again in 2022 and without having to take a big financial risk. You can cover yourself for most, if not all, scenarios, when you go on holiday in 2022. There may be a few more hoops to jump and a little more flexibility demanded, but once you have been there and done it all, you will feel like a great sense of achievement and won’t hesitate to book a summer holiday for yourself and the kids!
If you are already planning your family ski holiday, why not check some of our ski blogs to make sure you have everything you need: