Hello and welcome! I’m Elizabeth, and this is The Equipment Manager, where we’ll be talking about travel and sports, two subjects near and dear to my heart.
I’ll give advice on how to make travel more easy. Whether it’s a pilgrimage to your favorite team’s stadium, or a trip to speak with a future employer. What to do when you arrive in a new city, and what to expect when airport security wands your bra and decides it’s holding secrets. (Hint: those aren’t the secrets they’re looking for.)
The Giants have already won the World Series and the IIHF World Women’s U18 Championship may be over for another year, but there is still quite a lot of sports left in 2015’s social calendar. If you’re going to be traveling to see a game or a tournament, here’s a few tips no good equipment manager would let you leave without.
Do You Have Your Tickets? No, the Other Ones
Gather around the playboard, team, and let’s talk strategy. Hockey fan that I am, I’m going to build a travel plan around a future game: my dear sweet Washington D.C. Capitals (home) vs. the unprepared Russian-stealing Carolina Hurricanes (away), two teams that live about four or five hours apart. (Go Caps!) Take a knee, folks, because this is what you’ll need to know to make your trip as easy as an empty net goal.
The first thing I need to do is decide what kind of trip I’m going to make it. No matter if I’m a Canes’ fan driving up from Raleigh or a fan on the West Coast flying into DC, deciding to buy game day tickets is only the first step. All travel is an experience, and by getting into a good frame of mind beforehand, you’ll limit your stress. Pick the plan that gives you the least amount of trouble, and then stick to it as much as possible. If I’m driving up, it might make more sense to arrive in time for the game, spend the night, and then drive back in the morning. Unless you can’t get out of work the next morning, it’s always better to drive when you’re awake and refreshed, rather than tired and a little strung out from all the excitement.
If I’m flying in to DC, however, making a short vacation out of my stay might not just make sense time-wise, but cost-wise as well. Airlines and hotels very often have special weekend or weekday packages, where you can combine the costs of travel with extra perks. Staying a day later or arriving a day earlier can also lessen the stress of trying to fit everything you have to do and everything you want to do into a short amount of time. I try to pick cheaper days—like Tuesdays, for instance—as travel days, or early morning flights. I won’t say that every barista from JFK to LAX knows my coffee order on sight, but I will tell you that nothing says ‘devotion’ like helping the shop girl pull down chairs while you wait for the espresso machine to warm up.
What to Pack When You Might Be a Packer
My friends, this is a place of honesty and I refuse to bring you anything less than the truth. We are not the conquering heroes, and this is not Sparta. Don’t wear your team’s jersey before you get to the game. In fact, consider wearing a completely different outfit altogether and then changing before you walk into the stadium. That way you can grab a bite to eat, maybe stretch your legs after all that driving/flying, and take a moment to shift from travel-mode to sports-fan-mode without worrying you’re going to spill all over your overly expensive merch. The Hurricanes step off their plane dressed up like junior prom, not clomping down the runway in 30 pounds of hockey gear. Changing into said paraphernalia will also help you get into game mode, fannishly speaking.
A good weekend away game bag should always include two comfortable shirts, two pairs of socks and underwear, pajamas, and whatever toiletries you need. Just wear the pants you came in with and save the game shirt for the game. Otherwise, dress to be comfortable.
How to Behave in (Possibly) Enemy Territory
Rivalries happen in sports, and some cities are less friendly than others during big games. Or small games.Exhibition games.Really, some cities could be friendlier just all the time. This doesn’t mean we as fans need to be representing for the opposition every time we open our mouths. As much as we love the Canes or the Caps, Washington DC is not our city and nothing leaves a worse taste in the mouth than an obnoxious fan.
Trust me, you’re talking to a woman who nearly got kicked out of a McDonalds’ because her dinner buddy decided to scream cheerleading chants at the opposing team’s fans—complete with choreography.
No one walked away clean.
When traveling the three rules are; be smart, be safe, and be kind. I’m not saying you can’t get loud. I’m especially not saying that you can’t be a passionate fan. After all, you love your team so much you’re following them to a different city! But think about what sort of face you’re putting on your team’s organization, and most importantly, think about how you’d want to be treated in your home city. (Also, try not to high-kick near another fan’s french fries. Seriously, how is that even a thing?)
Take stock of all my advice and I promise that not only will you avoid my greasy fate, but you’ll be prepped and ready for the playoffs of travel: Job Interviews and How to Get to Them. It’s a cold corporate world out there team, so bundle up with next week’s installment of The Equipment Manager!
Questions? Concerns? Deeply held yet incorrect beliefs about the Hurricanes’ supremacy? All these things and more can be found in our comments section (play nicely, team!)