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Last minute trip organising advice

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Morning all, Long-time-lurker, first time poster

I'd like to sneak in a 3rd trip away this year, week commencing 16th March.

I'm the usual trip organiser for our group, but I usually book well-in-advance, so this is very much new territory for me. It looks to be a group of 2-4 (likely 2 in all honesty), so looking to try booking last-minute.

I've already got people to book the week off work.

What I'm lacking is some context, so if anyone can help answer these questions:
    1) When is "really" considered last minute, it looks like 1-2 weeks before is the sweet spot? (E.g. Current deals are for Chalets in the ~£600 mark, last minute deals for next week drop them to ~£400ish)
    2) Are people worried about travelling 23rd March? I'm worried about travelling that week due to Brexit, are my expectations off?
    3) Given time of year, I'm looking at high resorts that I'm familiar with (Val Thorens, Tignes/Val D, Les Arcs/La Plagne), should I be looking at others? I'm unfamiliar with Austria.
    4) Where do people recommend I look? I've been trawling Iglu, Crystal, Skiworld, Inghams, Neilson
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Silver ski and alpine elements often have decent late offers to the usual places and are worth adding to your search list
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
You could try the the Chalets Direct solutions room (https://www.chaletsdirect.com/forum/forums/forum-view.asp?fid=1) and see what other deals people are getting. In my experience to get the really cheap deals you have to leave it until a few days before departure.
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 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
@jdowdall,
As far as 2) is concerned nothing like Brexit has ever happened before in peace time with as much obfuscation no one can tell you what will happen but personally it would not stop me.
If it is a worry to you you could try Switzerland which has pretty much said things will carry on as before and has numerous very good resorts with reliable high skiing , though they don't come cheap they are no more expensive than the top French resorts in my experience.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
We are going week 23rd - 30th as it's the only time we can get off work. We aren't worried about the B Word.....

I've seen notifications appearing on TO websites with "brexit guarantees" etc. I think we will be fine.
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 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
Always worth having a look at the Swiss National Tourist website at www.myswitzerland.com for both general ideas on where to go and specific offers.

The London Swiss Travel Centre is also very good and manned by mainly Swiss staff who seem to know their stuff https://switzerlandtravelcentre.co.uk/ and seem to have the contacts to put together a tailored offer. I'd suggest you contact them now with your initial query and see what they can come up with.

If you have non-skiers or not-very-committed skiiers in your party, then consider a spa location where the ski junkies can do their thing but others can still relax without being stuck in an isolated hotel all day.

As for uncertainty, my advice would be to just make it clear to your Group that dealing with it is down to them: not up to you to sort out visas, extended insurance, etc. if it turns out necessary. On a general note, it's always good to choose somewhere where late arrivals can get there by public transport (however circuitous) and their delays don't become your transportation problem. Whenever I've been involved in organising a group trip, I've been amazed how otherwise intelligent and capable people suddenly become unable to handle even quite routine travel challenges.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
jdowdall wrote:
Morning all, Long-time-lurker, first time poster

I'd like to sneak in a 3rd trip away this year, week commencing 16th March.

I'm the usual trip organiser for our group, but I usually book well-in-advance, so this is very much new territory for me. It looks to be a group of 2-4 (likely 2 in all honesty), so looking to try booking last-minute.

I've already got people to book the week off work.

What I'm lacking is some context, so if anyone can help answer these questions:
    1) When is "really" considered last minute, it looks like 1-2 weeks before is the sweet spot? (E.g. Current deals are for Chalets in the ~£600 mark, last minute deals for next week drop them to ~£400ish)
    2) Are people worried about travelling 23rd March? I'm worried about travelling that week due to Brexit, are my expectations off?
    3) Given time of year, I'm looking at high resorts that I'm familiar with (Val Thorens, Tignes/Val D, Les Arcs/La Plagne), should I be looking at others? I'm unfamiliar with Austria.
    4) Where do people recommend I look? I've been trawling Iglu, Crystal, Skiworld, Inghams, Neilson


1) just keep checking the sites you are until something turns up. You can look at budget airlines to see if the seat price is moving at all.
2) nope
3) Lech, Obergurgl, or one of the Glaciers. Though if the March Dump happens, then everyything is on the table.
4) If budget airline flight prices rule out DIY - then where you are already looking.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
I tend to do at least one 'last-minute' booking each season, sometimes a couple. Based on my experience (YMMV...):
1) This seems to depend season to season and week to week. A couple of years ago we got a bit caught out and by 2 weeks to go there was little choice left. But earlier this season it looked like ~1 week before was the sweet spot (I'd guess the combo of no snow for a while and Brexit will have fewer people booking at the moment). Start keeping an eye on how many deals there are that you like, and if the number available starts dropping a lot then pull the trigger. Just don't look again afterwards wink
2) It's not the travelling on 23rd that's going to be a problem... but if you're with a tour operator then it's largely their problem (unless you absolutely need to be back on the 30th). I'd personally be fine with DIY as well, but I'd be aware I'd be taking a risk on having to play things by ear.
3) There tend to be more last-minute deals to the big French resorts, I guess because there's more UK tour operator capacity there. There are some in Austria, and then fewer in Italy and Switzerland. If you're looking for the best/most interesting deal then don't rule out non-french options, but you're most likely to end up eating tartiflette...
4) Those are all decent options (except maybe Neilson, who never seem to have anything good when I look). There are a lot of smaller tour ops too, so worth doing a bit of googling if you can be bothered.
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 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Check this website as well:
https://www.sunweb.co.uk/ski/last-minutes?Campaigns[0]=uw_op&Participants[0][0]=1988-12-21&Participants[0][1]=1988-12-21&sort=Popularity&Allocation=2&nResults=10
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
If you want to visit any of the resorts near Bourg St Maurice or Moutiers the Eurostar might be worth a look. For advice on rail travel try www.snowcarbon.co.uk
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Thanks all, these were exactly the responses I was looking for! Special thanks to @toyah807 and @drporat, those sites have better deals than any of the others I've been looking at! Smile
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Booked first thing Monday morning when Ski World dropped their prices - want to share my experiences and hopefully give something back.

Primary sources ended up being SkiWorld, Ski Beat and Ski Solutions. Ski Solutions were a good broker and were able to give an overview of the whole market (e.g. on Friday told me that there was still a lot of property left around). Ski Beat weren't really mentioned above, but they were the source company for a lot of the chalets advertised on Iglu, SkiSolutions etc.

Did some spreadsheeting over the course of weekend to give some context on original price, current price, rough star rating and other comments. Was given a quote from on the Friday for a ~£800 all in deal (including lift passes, 1x ski carriage), but didn't go for it. This was really worth doing

Little movement over the weekend, then 0830 Monday morning SkiWorld started dropping the chalet prices directly on their website (not visible via their searches). This dropped £120PP Monday so plumped for that as of 0900.

Of the ~10-11 we were interested in, I reckon about 50% of them were gone by lunchtime Friday ended up being ~£760pp all in - fully catered 5* accom, flights, transfers, full area pass & ski carriage

Also big shout out to both Alpine Elements and SilverSki - they consistently had by far the cheapest deals, but I couldn't take them up on them due to being Sunday <> Sunday trips
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