Once competitors and martial arts trainers decide to follow one of the great karate circuits such as NASKA or NBL, they will soon realize that participation in this sport can be very expensive. Many years ago, I attended a seminar led by Charlie Lee and said that the only major difference between many national and local competitors is that nationals have the funds to travel. I have been on the NBL and NASKA circuits. I have also dabbled in international competition abroad, so I have learned some tricks over the years to help save some general costs involved in the competition.
Most karate tournaments offer some savings through pre-registration. With many promoters adding online registration capabilities recently, pre-registration is very easy. Of course, there is a risk of losing your full rate if for some reason you do not show up at the event. Even if you have promised to attend certain tournaments, other circumstances may prevent you from attending. For example, I have lost tournaments due to flight cancellations due to bad weather. It is also possible that flights are delayed or lost due to reasons beyond their control. Of course, unforeseen home emergencies can always cause travel cancellations. So, although one can save some money over the course of a year by pre-registering for all events, it is a risk to run.
Most tournament promoters also calculate special rates at hotels designated for tournaments. These special rates generally range between $ 100 and $ 125, which are quite good considering that most of the event hotels are the main major chains such as Hyatt, Sheraton, Hilton, etc. However, I discovered that if one is willing to investigate, even more significant savings can be achieved with accommodation. I almost never stay at event hotels. Instead, I will do research to find nearby hotels. The installation of maps on the Yahoo site is wonderful for this. Simply go to Yahoo and click on & # 39; maps & # 39;. Then enter the address and city of the tournament hotel. Do a search of other nearby hotels and the site will show you where they are on a map, as well as how far they are from the event hotel. I also use travel websites like Travelocity and Expedia to check other nearby hotels. Many hotels tend to be much less expensive, especially those with a lower level of quality. In addition to travel websites, you would also check room rates directly with Choice Hotels (Comfort Inn, Econolodge, Quality Inn), Holiday Inn, Days Inn and Motel 6 through their websites. The rooms of these chains are not as luxurious as those of the main hotels, but they are clean and comfortable. They are not the bottom of the barrel as are some independent motels. Rates may be 50% lower than even tournament rates at event hotels. My average room rate has been approximately $ 50 and that often includes free breakfasts that event hotels rarely offer.
Many lower priced hotels are within walking distance of tournaments. Even if a hotel is not within walking distance, it is generally worth saving a small taxi fare. I have even stayed in hotels located at the airport and then used the free transfers from the hotel where I was staying, as well as the event hotel to get around. Of course, all this is not as convenient as staying at the event hotel, but if you are willing to plan a little in advance, it is possible to get good savings. Of course, for events where I am extending my holiday stay, a rental car will allow me to stay wherever I want.
Another way to cut half of your hotel expenses is to leave right after your competition ends. You will miss the nightly shows, but if you don't mind, you will have to spend the night only one night instead of two. Over the course of a year, one-night trips can generate significant savings.
Driving would be the cheapest way to travel to tournaments, but if the places are too far away, flying would be the most realistic way to get there. You could also explore trains too. As for flights, one could expect the sale of seats to buy tickets. Another strategy is to fly in or out of the different airports that are close to the event city. There could be significant savings in flight prices if you are willing to use alternative airports. Some cities have more than one major airport in the region. Alternative airports can reduce travel costs for competitors who also have to cross the border between the United States and Canada. Canadians who drive to US airports across the border could save up to 50% sometimes for flights. Travelers should join all frequent flyer programs, but if possible, try to stay with one or two major airlines. Points are added, which may result in future free flights. Of course, points of hotel stays, car rentals and credit card use also help.
As mentioned earlier, I try to use the hotel's free shuttle service whenever I can. If my hotel does not have a free shuttle service and is close to the event hotel, sometimes I took the free shuttle service from the hotel and then walked to my hotel. I often use the event hotel transportation to take a trip back to the airport too. Just hang out in the lobbies of the event hotel to look like a guest and nobody should question your use of the transportation service.
Many cities where large tournaments are held have very efficient and safe transit systems from the airport. For example, instead of paying the taxis or airport transfers they charge, taking the local bus or subway train for around $ 1.50 will take me to the tournament with the same ease.
As you can see, there are different ways to reduce the overhead of travel in karate tournaments. You just have to do your research for each trip. As for meals, you can always play dumb for a very reasonable price in Chinese buffets that are found almost everywhere.