Travel to an International Sporting Event

Advice on Travel Abroad to Watch your Favorite teams

Avid sports fans everywhere are constantly planning the major sporting event they want to attend. From the World Cup, World Series to the Olympics, many sports fans will travel great distances to see their favorite sports team or player have a shot at winning it all.

For some sports fans, this even means traveling abroad to London for Wimbledon or to the next FIFA World Cup. Whatever your sport of preference it is important that you travel prepared and that you are covered in case of an emergency.

Buy your Tickets in Advance

Some sporting events, such as the FIFA World Cup require a ticket application or ballot process that takes place months before the event itself. Always research and buy tickets through a reputable source, such as online through the accredited ticket seller or through the venue itself. If you are buying tickets from a third party know the risks involved, and whatever you do don’t rely on getting tickets from scalpers – you may find out too late that the tickets are invalid, duplicates or fake! And most times there is nothing that can be done about it.

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Do your Research your International Destination

Whether you are traveling within your home country or overseas, make a point to research the best places to eat, restaurants to avoid, as well as areas of the city that are not recommended to travel to alone (or at all). By conducting your own research prior to departure you will not only free up more time to see the sites and enjoy the sporting event, but you will minimize the chances of getting sick from poorly prepared food or ending up in a seedy district looking for a place to eat.

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Similarly, researching accommodations and proximity to the sporting event will save you from discovering you booked a hotel that is an hours drive from the sporting venue, or is not on a public transit route. Researching and knowing what to expect, minimizes disappointment and increases your chance of having a safe and memorable trip.

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Know the Sport’s Etiquette

Watching a sport on television and being there live are two different things. Some sports, including tennis and golf have strict etiquette rules that must be followed. For example, it is not permissible to swear or heckle during Wimbledon and if someone working a golf tournament raises their hands or a quiet sign, the crowd must be quiet. Failure to adhere to the rules could result in being asked to leave (or escorted out) and missing most of the event.

Stay Safe While Abroad

Regardless of the location, it is important to follow standard safety rules when traveling. Avoid getting into unmarked taxis, especially after dark; and only use ATMs in secure, well-lit locations, such as a bank or hotel lobby. Also, don’t travel with a full wallet – leave rewards cards and anything invalid or unimportant to your trip at home.

If you are in a foreign country, save the local emergency numbers in your cell phone or on a piece of paper in your wallet, including the number of your hotel so that it is quickly accessible if needed.

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Make Sure your Passport Is Not Expired

Even if you are flying domestically, your passport is a reliable form of identification when flying; and if you are traveling overseas make sure to check your passport’s expiration date at the same time you book your flight. If your passport it close to expiry, apply for a new one as soon as possible. A passport is necessary for international travel.

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Pack your Medications

Your prescription medications should be one of the first items you pack – and if you are flying ensure they are packed in your carry-on bag and not in the luggage you check in. Also, ensure you have enough medication to get you through your entire trip and then some – just in case you are delayed due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. Similarly, ensure you have some medication left at home, so you are not rushed to refill your prescription the moment you arrive home.

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Pack a First-aid or Emergency Kit

If you are traveling to a foreign country or even just in your country, you may want to invest in a travel sized first-aid kit, and carry it with you while at the sporting venue. If you cut yourself, you will be grateful that you don’t have to weed through thousands of people to endlessly search for a bandage.

Your first-aid kit can be customized for the occasion too. For example, it could include sunscreen and aloe lotion for a hot and sunny location or hand warmers and petroleum jelly for cold destinations. Your kit may also include small snacks, such as granola or energy bars.

Stay Hydrated

While it is not permitted to cross airport security with a full bottle of water, bring an empty, reusable water bottle with you either in your carry on or in your checked-in luggage and fill it with water prior to the sporting event. If you are using tap water, make sure it is safe to drink and when in doubt invest in bottled water. Remember you will be one of thousands enjoying the sporting event – staying hydrated is important to avoid headaches, dizziness and, if it is hot outside, overheating.

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Check your Medical Insurance Benefits

Does your medical insurance benefits cover you for international travel? If not, invest in travel medical insurance that will give you the freedom to seek treatment with a hospital or doctor of your choice and increase your medical expense coverage up to $2 million, depending on the plan. Travel health insurance plans often also include trip cancelation, travel delay and baggage delay benefits.

Although you may have some insurance coverage through your job or credit card, be sure to look into exactly what your insurance covers and where you may need more coverage. When traveling outside your home country, travel medical insurance typically covers what your home health insurance will not.

If you plan on making multiple international trips to follow a professional sport then you may want to look into multi-trip insurance plans. You can purchase a multi-trip annual policy that will cover you for all travel outside of your home country over the course of a year, which may be a more cost-effective way for you to purchase travel health insurance. For more information on making sure you have the insurance you need before traveling to a major sporting event, talk to a qualified insurance representative.