When travelling, there’s nothing like finally arriving at your intended accommodations after a few days of “I need to do this! I need to do that,” “I can’t forget this, did I remember that?” and, “Will they notice if I put my cat in my suitcase?” prior to your departure. Finally, all your worries, preparations, and stresses are resolved, the scanners didn’t find your C02 cartridges (or cat) in your bike bag, and you can at last rest your head in your tent in the forest next to the highway. Or, you know, wherever Expedia takes you.
Maybe I’m the only one with those particular worries, but travelling and stress sometimes go hand-in-hand. So much goes into planning and making it work. I’m currently heading out for two months of gallivanting, landscaping, training, racing and road trips in California and up the coast. Trying to do this for as close to zero dollars as possible, and with so many people to coordinate with at different times and places, I’ve had to be a little crafty. It’s taken a lot of work. Fortunately, being a racer has really come in handy when it comes to the logistics of travel.
One of the coolest things about bike racing is that through the organizers of events, teams are connected with members of the host community who open their homes for the duration of the race. This has introduced me to loads of people in and around the Pacific Northwest, and reconnecting with them this spring has helped me find many places to stay.
Cycling has also taught me not to be a stranger. During my travels in Hawaii I wasn’t shy which allowed for some great connections to be made with people who picked me up when I was hitchhiking. Last season, I started asking for hosts’ contact info just incase I ended up back in their area later on. This is about to pay off.
RELATED: Ask Oli: Holiday riding in Hawaii
My tips when planning or preparing for future travels are as follows:
- Have a base packing list. I have one in my notes app on my phone and I’m always adding to it. This way I pretty much don’t have to think, and I never forget the little things.
- Make friends, shake hands, and chat to people on your travels! You never know where that might take you.
- Take down people’s information. I’ve kicked myself too many times when trying to find a place to stay thinking: Who was that person from Seattle I met in Ventura last year?
- The worst they can say is: “No.” There’s no harm in very politely asking for help, whether it’s a ride, a contact, or a place to stay. It’s always worth a shot if someone might be able to save the day, or has a friend that can!
- For those (like me) without a cellphone, or for when you travel out of the country, Maps.me is an excellent resource. You download your maps ahead of time, and can use it without wifi or data to find your way in a new place.
- If you travel often enough, annual travel insurance is the most cost-effective and efficient route. This way you don’t have to worry about buying coverage before every trip (I forgot until a few days into my last trip).
- You can never be too prepared. Write a to do list and start ticking boxes off right away. The departure date always comes quick, so being a little ahead of schedule prevents some of the running around you might find yourself doing the day before you leave!
- Expect complications. There are always delays, bags sometimes go missing, and plans will fall through. That’s okay. You’ll find a way. No point stressing before the matter.
These few simple strategies have really helped me keep a relatively level head and have certainly streamlined my preparations. Travelling for racing has given me a lot of confidence and experience, and has also provided me with so many opportunities, especially thanks to host housing!
Oliver Evans 20-year-old cyclist from Winnipeg, currently living in Victoria. In 2019, he will race with Trek Red Truck Racing.