With 15 years’ experience of driving to the Alps, WhoSki founders Sally and Nicola share their top tips to ease your next car journey to the ski slopes.
Paperwork: Take copies of your insurance and vehicle registration documents and an up-to-date driving licence.
In the car: In France, you’ll need reflective jackets for everyone / warning triangle in case of breakdown / replacement headlamp bulb.
For the mountains: Snow chains, plus a tough pair of gloves for fitting them. Check WhoSki.com for secondhand snow chains before you buy new, then sell them on after your trip. Or try renting them out via KitUp.
On the car: Headlamp beam converters if your vehicle doesn’t auto-adjust / UK sticker displayed on your vehicle / a Crit’Air vignette if you will be entering a clean-air city or area.
Speed things up: A windscreen TAG to fast-track your way through auto-route toll gates.
Set off with full water bottles and plenty of snacks.
Pre-pack name-coded bags of goodies for each passenger. If your kids are old enough to manage their own food intake, this will save considerable hassle for whoever is in the front passenger seat – as well as time and money at service stations en route.
Tuck a sick bag into seat-back pockets: zig-zag mountain roads can cause havoc with little tummies.
A blanket and a pillow never go amiss on a long car journey.
Keep snowboots accessible – you will need them if you have to stop and fit snowchains, plus you may need them when you arrive in resort.
The Overnight Stop:
Pack an overnight grab bag to avoid unloading the car. Make sure you’ve eaten before you check in – or take food to eat in your accommodation. Looking for somewhere to eat late at night when you’ve got a car full of tired travellers is predictably awful.
If driving at February half-term, set off on the second leg of your journey as early as you can bear. Hitting the road at 5am rather than 6.30am can make the difference between arriving in your ski resort in time for lunch – or just about making it for a bad-tempered supper after a long, slow slog up the mountain in a traffic jam.
Let the kids travel in their pyjamas and pack everyone their own ‘breakfast grab bag’ to stave off hunger until your driver needs a coffee and a croissant stop.
Tips for an Easier Journey:
Print out / download all your arrival details in advance so you know where you’re staying / how to get there / where to park. WiFi can be annoyingly sporadic in the mountains so don’t rely on Google Maps to help you out.
Toilet stop required? Aim for one of the simpler ‘aire de repos’ picnic areas rather than a service station to avoid queues for the toilet.
Get the kids to download a heap of TV shows / movies to their devices in advance. A long car journey is not the time to get fussy about screen-time limits. Invest in dual chargers to avoid anyone running out of juice.
FOOD on arrival: If you’re self catering, ordering a meal for the day you arrive is a no-brainer. The convenience of not having to shoot off to the supermarket the minute you ‘land’ cannot be underestimated, and leaves you more time to pick up your ski equipment from the hire shop.
Huski delivers throughout the French Alps, with plenty of tasty choices for all needs (veggie, vegan, gluten-free etc). Let them know where you’re staying and they will deliver in advance right into the freezer of your ski apartment. Sally can confirm: the food is great.
Use our Huski discount code WhoSki5 for money off your order.
THE auto-route TAG: If you haven’t already got one (mentioned above), you can order a speedy delivery windscreen TAG to fast-track your way through auto-route toll gates. It is seriously worth it.
The journey home is much easier to do in one go if you can share the driving. Always take breaks and do not drive if tired. Overnight accommodation on the way home can make for a more relaxing experience, though the time difference is in your favour for getting it over with in one go.