July 31, 2010

Going to see the big guns!

Now I'm back in the seat (or should that be office chair) after a small spell of ill health, I bring to you my first post in a little while - attending high profile skating events! I've been to see a few European championships in my time but never a world event, and certainly not the Olympics. Far too expensive.
Grand Prix series can be a great way to see a smaller selection of the crème de la crème, and seeing as there is usually at least one per continent, you can really find a way of getting to see you fave international skaters.

But how do I go about it? How can I try and take my Skate Kid to see the stars without it breaking the bank? Read on, my pretties!

Book your tickets through national federations, not through 'skating tour operators'. For the 1999 European Championships in Prague I managed to buy all-event tickets for the equivalent of £20. Yes, all event. Don't get excited, that was pretty exceptional, but the point is that one of the UK's skating tour operators at that time were quoting me almost £300! Do you homework. With email these days it's even easier to communicate with federations (I bought those all-event tickets via the then Czech Republic Figure Skating Association), no need for awkward telephone conversations and misinterpretation.

Book your accommodation early. Use low-cost budget hotels for the rock bottom deals, but expect to be further out of town. This can be a problem if you're traveling to a country with a different culture to your home, never mind the language barriers. For a good quality hotel with a more central location use all the usual websites such as booking.com to get upto 70% off your bill.

Use points schemes. Do you have an AMEX card? Maybe you have 'miles' on an airline loyalty card? Now's the time to enjoy!! Chances are these points expire at some point, and you may never give yourself the time to enjoy the benefits they could give you if it weren't for skating (ahh what skating makes one do!) so why not just go ahead and use the damn things?! They could get you free hotel nights or even your transport.

When you're at your destination, be savvy about eating out and the general cost of arena food, beverages, etc. If you scope out the local supermarkets and bring along a handy sized backpack, you're going to save alot of money on food and drink. Not that you won't need a nice hot coffee after the 4th group of the men's free programme sat on a stone bench in a Korean ice rink!

For a list of national federations, click here.
For the ISU events calendar, click here.

What tips and tricks do you guys have while traveling for skating? How do you get to see your favourite skaters without breaking your bank? Leave a comment and let us all know about it!

Have any questions, want to know more, don't agree? Please leave me a comment!

1 comment

  1. I'm really impressed with your ticket-buying scheme! Very smart!

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