How to Cut Costs for Your Next Destination Even

19 10 2011

 

By Giselle Domdom
Active.com

Travel costs can add up when planning for your destination race, but it’s possible to stick to your race calendar without breaking the bank. Here are a few tips you can use to keep travel plans within budget:

Register Early

The closer you get to race day, the more expensive your registration fee will be. Sign up for your event in advance to save money–and to secure your spot before the race fills up. Sign up for the monthly Active newsletters in your sport, which often include coupon codes for upcoming races. The extra cash you save–no matter how small–can help with other travel expenses.

You may want to consider reworking your race calendar, although you should weigh the pros and cons before cutting back your race plans.

“Don’t automatically eliminate the race that will require the most expensive trip,” running coach and journalist Matt Fitzgerald said. “First, consider cutting the less important race. It will probably still save you plenty of money. But by keeping the most meaningful event on your calendar, you will feel less deprived and enjoy the sport more despite the recession.”

Fly Smart

Do your homework. Finding a cheap flight can take some time, but many websites do the price comparisons for you. Some airline companies hand the savings out to consumers directly. Southwest Airlines has a Hot Fares web page with its latest deals. Check back often to see if your destination city is on the list of cheap fares.

Some races partner with an official airline carrier and offer cheap group rates for flights. There is usually limited space, so be aware of booking deadlines and restrictions. Visit your race’s website or contact your event organizers for availability and information.

Bike Transport on a Budget

Are you planning to fly with your bike or ship it out ahead of time? Check your airline baggage regulations and costs before making your decision. Fitzgerald suggests shipping your bike via FedEx or UPS, which is generally cheaper than taking it with you on the flight. Depending on your bike specifications and preferences, it may also cost less to rent a bike at the event destination.

Join a Team or Club

Certain organizations such as Team in Training offer provisions for certain travel costs and expenses based on membership and fundraising efforts. Check with your local Team in Training chapter for specific details.

Share a Car, Share a Room

Find carpool or hotel room buddies if you’re driving to the event and/or staying the night. Splitting the cost multiple ways will be lighter on your wallet, and the impact of carpooling will be lighter on the environment. Athlete transportation to an event makes up the largest carbon footprint for races.

You can find fellow race participants through friends, local running or triathlon clubs, and among online communities, like Active’s. Teaming up with fellow racers will not only save you money, but make for a good bonding experience and new friends.

Eat Smart

The food you eat affects your body–and your bank account. When traveling, it’s easy to slip into unhealthy habits by eating out and snacking on junk food. Unfortunately, race weekend is the worst time to kick your nutrition (link to nutrition) to the curb. Fitzgerald suggests staying at extended-stay type hotels that have kitchenettes.

“This allows me not only to save money by purchasing and preparing my own food, but allows me to maintain greater control over my diet,” Fitzgerald said.

Plan your daily diet before you get to your destination. By doing so, you can avoid impulse eating and save yourself unnecessary spending.

It’s possible to keep your training and racing on track even if the funds are low. Travel smart with these tips to enjoy your next destination race without going bankrupt.

 

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