Many of us travel long distances to fight. Today, travel is so much more complex than in the middle ages. Here, and in subsequent posts, I hope to make that travel a little easier.
First, you’ll need to solidify your participation in the event you’re going to. Each event is different, so look at the official info for which tournament you’ll be attending and sign up to make sure you’re part of the event.
Next up is determining the dates of your trip. For the purpose of this series, I’ll be talking about the Claregalway Castle Shield event during the first weekend of September, 2023. For this, I promised I’d return at the end of last year’s event. After registering at their official form, I went to see what days I could travel.
It is often easier and cheaper to travel in a small group. This is complicated as each group is unique and has different needs. How many in your group are fighters? How many non-fighters can “donate” their checked luggage allotment to the fighters for overflow and weapons? It occurs to me that a group of 2-3 with one of them being the fighter would be ideal for flights, but I mostly travel solo, so that’s what I’ll mostly be talking about in this series.
I’ll be flying out of Boston on Wednesday evening, 30 August and returning on 4 September, 2023. I chose those days because I need to maximize a weekend and find the cheapest fares. This isn’t the least expensive but it is far from the most expensive. How do I find out? Google.
My first stop is to hit Google Flights and look at the flights to my destination from my departure airport. If you aren’t insistent on one airport, you can enter the city and let Google pick the airports. In my case, I selected Boston to Ireland.
The important part here is to explore all the details of the flights you can afford. In many cases, Google will send you to the airline itself for the actual tickets. Once you have an idea of the pricing, you should look at two things: First the “Date Grid”. Look to see if you can save money by shifting your travel days. Second, go to the airline website and see if they offer a better deal. In my case, Aer Lingus gave me a much better deal directly than via Google.
From there, I selected the amenities I wanted and bought tickets.
Always look around and if you travel to the same places regularly, make sure you have a frequent flyer membership. Loyalty pays.
Next, I look at the price for “Premium Economy” vs “Economy” and whether I need to pay for baggage. Most of the time it seems Premium Economy is the best bang for the buck. You get a carry-on and a checked bag and additional checked luggage isn’t ridiculous. In my case, I chose Premium Economy (about $1000) and bought one extra checked bag and about $170 round trip. When traveling with armor, you can wear a portion or use 2 checked bags. Ideally, you’d be traveling with someone who doesn’t fight and spread your armor and weapons among their bag and yours. All the other stuff goes in carry-on.
Speaking of which, PACK LIGHT! You have no choice in armor, but don’t bring anything extra. My clothes go in my carry-on and my electronics are my personal item. Checked luggage is for armor and weapons.
I’ll talk more about packing and day-of considerations later. For now, the first thing is to establish your timing and flights. You can book a car if you need one at this time or wait. It’s the same pricing either way usually.
As for accommodations, that’s next, but for now, what you need to know:
1. Find a great price. Premium Economy is usually the bet way.
2. Get a second checked bag.
3. Secure your tickets.
Next up: Housing at your destination.