This post has some suggestions for reducing the cost of travel at the competition in August. We hope some early coordination will help.
Make sure you check the team Slack for a link to the form we’re using for travel coordination and the reserved hotel info.
1. Travel in groups
The most impactful way to save on competition travel is for some skaters to travel with other families – we have a few folks who do this every year. There is no need for every skater’s parents to accompany them to the competition.
This involves having, for example, 1 parent and 2 or 3 skaters in a single hotel room. The accompanying skaters usually pay a portion of the hotel and contribute a set amount for food. We recommend providing the traveling parent with a set amount of money for food rather than having the guest skater always pay for their own, as meals are often shared or paid via credit card. About $50 per day for meals is recommended; you probably will want to provide your skater with some separate snack money, as well for beverages, ice cream, etc.
- Hosting 1 skater: guest pays 50% of hotel room; 50% of car rental (if relevant)
- Hosting 2 skaters: each guest pays 33% of hotel room; 33% of car rental (if relevant)
2. Booking with the EP Hotel Block
We reserve a block of rooms at a discounted rate for the team, which saves 5-10%. Staying at the team hotel makes transportation, coordination, and cost easier to manage. A major side-benefit is sharing rides, reducing the number of people who need to rent a car. See the team Slack for the details about the hotel we’ve booked.
3. Share a rental car
By our estimation, three families can share a rental car without much trouble. Especially if you’re staying at the team hotel, catching a ride with other skaters is easy – use Slack to request and offer rides. We recommend planning to use the car only for competition-related transport to ensure everyone can get where they need to go when they need to go there.
NOTE: Coordinate at the rental company to get all relevant adults on the rental agreement.
4. Book flights early and look for free checked bag deals
Booking your flight early often helps you get a lower cost. We don’t have much flexibility on travel dates (July 31 – Aug 7), but booking ahead can help. Traveling for competition always comes with lots of baggage you can’t bring on the plane, so finding deals or airlines with no baggage fee can save a bundle – current charges are usually $30-$45 per bag, each way. A free checked bag deal can save you almost $200!
5. Find car rental deals
You can get discounts through airlines, credit cards, and travel booking sites for rental cars. Renting a car for the full week is always less, and most auto insurance pays for rental cars so you probably don’t need that from the agency. Call your auto insurance to confirm. Try these tips, too.
1. BYOW – Bring your own water!
Refilling your water bottle saves a ton on that pricey water for sale at the rink. Boston area tap water is good quality and tastes great, but if you’re concerned, you can use a bottle with a built-in filter like the Brita.
2. Plan breakfast, lunch, and snacks
Food is a sneaky expense that gets pricey fast. The hotel we reserved for the team has kitchens this year!! You will be able to store your food in the small (but not tiny) fridge and cook on the 2 burners they provide. They have basic pots and pans, too. It looks something like this image.
Making a plan ahead of time for your meals helps get the most out of this real cost-saving approach.
The best way to reduce this if you don’t have access to a kitchen is making a trip to the grocery store and purchasing shelf-stable foods and a few things for your fridge that can be breakfast and lunch. It helps a lot to have a range of healthy & high protein/fat snacks, too (mixed nuts, protein shakes, avocados, hummus, etc.).
- Some meal suggestions are: bagels and cream cheese, pre-made pasta or potato salad, chicken or turkey wraps, canned tuna, celery and peanut butter, crackers and string cheese, dried fruit, cold cuts and bread for sandwiches, grapes, bananas, pre-boiled eggs.
3. Split entrees at dinner
When you do have a restaurant meal, a great way to keep costs down is to split your main meal/entrée. American portions are large 🙂 If you need a bit more food, try 2 appetizers and 1 main course for two people, instead of the other way around.
4. Bring Tupperware/Ziplocs
Although restaurants will have to-go boxes, these often don’t hold up well. Bring your own to make keeping leftovers easier and cleaner. Ziploc bags are great, too. You’ll be able to store these in your hotel room fridge for lunch or snacks later.
5. Find restaurant coupons and deals through the hotel
Did you know most hotels offer exclusive meal deals or coupons for local restaurants? Well, they do! Be sure to check in with the front desk of the hotel you’re staying at for any discounted rates on local restaurants. Happy hour deals or kids eat free days (although these are usually 12 and under) help a lot, too!
Bringing your own beer, wine, etc. is far cheaper than buying a pint at the local tavern. Bars and restaurants with liquor licenses won’t allow you to BYOB (or they charge), though.