Ferry operator, Sea France, has researched the cost of flying to the Alps, especially when taking your own equipment, and published results showing how much cheaper it is to cross the channel on a Sea France ferry and drive to the resort.

The price for a ferry crossing and five passengers starts from £19 each way. There are no charges for checking in bags or bringing your skis, no hanging around at check-in for hours and there is the option to pack as much in the car as you can fit - driving seems the obvious answer to this year's ski-break dilemma.

Sea France operates three modern superferries with 15 daily return crossings taking from just 75 minutes. After a relaxed crossing on a Sea France superferry, the French Alps are less than eight hours away and there are plenty of opportunities for a break in the picturesque French countryside along the way.

The company has undertaken some research in to the total costs for a family of four travelling to Chamonix in the Alps. It costs from £263.32 on Sea France/self-drive, £625.41 using EasyJet, or £662.59 using BA, with travel times of 12 hours to self-drive compared to eight hours by plane.

The calculations were based on ferry fare, fuel, and motorway toll costs from Calais with Sea France, while for the flights Sea France found ski carriage costs of £148 and £120 respectively, £64 in total for four bags up to 20kg each on Easy Jet (free on BA). They also added a rental car as the cheapest way for a family to get to the alps from Geneva airport and worked this out as £183.69 for a seven-day rental plus an optimistic £11.10 for fuel and tools, and £30.20 for seven days parking at the UK airport. Obviously if you take more than minimum baggage or stay longer than seven days the costs by air rise, while they remain unchanged for Sea France/self-drive.

The calculations were made using the three company's Web sites in mid-October and prices may have changed since then. They were based on a week-long break from Jan. 5 to 12.

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