Ask Joan: your travel dilemmas answered
Tourists on a sleigh ride, Livigno, Italy. Photograph: Getty Images/Jan Greune
We are a family with five children, ages 12 to 17, and are planning to fly Ryanair to Turin, Milan or Munich after Christmas for a ski trip. Our choice of destination will depend on ease of transfer to a resort suitable for intermediate skiers, two hours maximum, and with self- catering or half-board accommodation. MS, Dublin.
After Christmas is the most expensive time for ski trips, with many Europeans heading to the ski resorts. Flights to Turin and Milan Bergamo are with Ryanair and to Munich with Aer Lingus. They will cost in the region of €200-€230 each including a checked bag.
Car hire in Italy is nearly twice as expensive as Germany and you will need to ensure that you have snow chains. I priced a seven-seat people carrier in Munich at about €350 for a week, fuel extra. In Italy it will be at least €670. If you fly to Munich you can use trains to access the resorts in the Tyrol and fares
would be about €45 return to say, Lermoos or Kufstein. See bahn.com or oebb.at. You can also book taxis transfers on tirol-taxi.at.
There is a bus transfer service from Milan Bergamo to the Italian resorts such as Livigno and Bormio by livignoexpress.com, and these cost about €90 return for adults and €70 for children.
Accommodation is the hard part, with most hotels showing availability for seven guests situated well away from the main resorts and prices are shockingly expensive, anything from €2,500-€5,000 per week in both Austria and Italy. The top ski resort area in Germany is the Garmisch-Partenkirchen region, see gapa.de for accommodation. The Zugspitze ski resort is one of the most popular with good glacier skiing too, Zugspitze.de.
I have seen apartments to rent in the Dolomites and the Tyrol on homeaway.com and booking.com in the range of €1,500-€3,500 and most have a minimum stay of seven nights.
You might consider going on December 28th or January 4th with a tour operator. The advantage is that flights, baggage, transfers are included in the price and they generally have better value lift passes, ski hire and ski school rates.
Topflight has flights to Austria and Italy with prices in the range of €854pps in Post Hotel, St Johann, half board including a gala New Year’s Eve dinner. In Livigno the prices are from €728pps B&B, and self-catering be about €675pps, topflight.ie. Crystalski.ie will also be operating ski trips on December 28th and January 4th to various European resorts.
Please advise if you are aware of cruise lines which cater for people who are on dialysis. JQ, Dublin.
Dialysis on board cruise ships is arranged by specialist companies, dialysisatsea.com, an American based one and dialysis-cruises.com, based in Germany.
Both companies can arrange to have dialysis on board with fully qualified nephrologists and nurses and have the most up-to-date equipment available. Having dialysis on board means you can enjoy the cruise and have days out in the various ports of call.
There are a number of cruises through the year in almost every cruise market from the Caribbean to Europe, Alaska and Australia. Dialysis-cruises.com is on mainly German-speaking ships, they also have river cruises in Europe. These cruises would have predominantly German speaking guests. You can contact them at, tel: 00-49-40410 3993. Dialysis At Sea can be contacted at, tel: 001-813 775 4040.
Prices are specific to each cruise and the additional cost of dialysis may be covered by some health insurance plans. You need to contact either company well in advance to sort out the arrangements regarding cost and requirements. You will need to have your medical history and dialysis records with you and it may take time to get that arranged.
Could you recommend a four-star hotel in Vienna, with a pool, and suitable for two adults and one 14-year-old. We are travelling at the end of October. RG, Donegal.
I have two hotels in Vienna that will fit the bill for your trip at the end of October. Both are Renaissance hotels – the Imperial Riding School and the Renaissance Wien – will cost from €100-€150 per room per night for three. See marriott.com.
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