As I’m now starting to enter holiday mode I thought now would be the perfect time to share some of my travel tips for BJJ competition and training. I’m not going to be focusing on the how to find somewhere to train abroad. For that Sally Arsenault has done a really useful blog regarding finding an academy on your travels. This blog is going to be covering some of my travel tips for keeping yourself organised with your packing and prepared for competition.
Check you luggage allowance – different airlines have different rules. Make sure you check what you can take on either in the hold or in your hand luggage. You don’t want to be the person re-arranging your bags at check in! I know it sounds obvious to most people but knowing what you can take in terms of size and weight is also key to my next point. Maximising your hand luggage.
Maximise your hand luggage – Invest in a good rucksack / training bag that can fit at least 1 gi in it and can also meet the airline requirements. Having a good bag makes everything easier, this is for two reasons. One because when I do short haul journeys to competition I actually only take carry on luggage. That includes 2 gi’s, Bob and my clothes for the weekend. The first time I managed it I impressed even myself but it does save crucial money to use towards your next trip! The second reason is that on longer trips I always put my competition gear in my hand luggage. If my luggage gets lost I still will be able to step on the mat! Clothes are replaceable – your competition gear is less so!
Vacuum Bags – Are my packing
essential. All my gis go in them. One it protects them from any leaks or spills in my bags. Two it helps shrink them and makes them easier to pack and three if you can’t wash your things post comp it helps contain the smelly lurgieness so your bag stays reasonably fresh! This can easily be picked up in a store such as Poundland or online.
Toiletries – Keeping clean and having your regular toiletries is important to anyone but especially grapplers. A few gold questions to ask yourself regarding toiletries on holiday – do you really need it? Can you buy it out there? Can you decant it, take a half empty one or a get a travel size version.
For short haul flights everything has to be under 100ml anyhow and fit into a see through bag. For these flights I have a few tricks including stocking up on samples when you see them in magazines or similar. You’re only going to wash your hair once or have a couple of showers so using sachets of shower gel or shampoo whilst not your normal brand won’t be the end of the world. If you haven’t any freebie samples consider purchasing some via a site such as Latest in Beauty to get a range of travel and sample sizes. Or I simply decant my usual toiletries into travel bottles (that usually get thrown away) and a little wasteful but it helps save you money and keeps you into those 100ml limits. Primark do a set of 3 fabulous squeezy bottles for just £1! Or if you do have hold luggage just use up your toothpaste, hairspray or similar and just take the near empty bottle. Just make sure you wrap it up well with clingfilm or similar to prevent leaks.
Travel scales – I picked this tip off my Judo Coach Sophie Cox. Invest in some travel scales and never worry about making weight / finding accurate scales again. These Tanita scales and not only small and light but can take up to 150Kg so will cope with most grapplers and can be found on Amazon.
Supplements – Plan in advance if your going to need any supplements whilst travelling. For short haul flights I have previously bagged and labelled them and place them in my shaker without a problem. Although we’re only talking a couple of scoops but I have heard of some athletes having problems or having to taste them at security to prove their food! For longer haul I simply put them in my case but I got to the effort of purchasing small bags or sample packets. This way everything is unopened, labelled and sealed clearly. But do check the rules of the country you are travelling to and whether you have to declare it. If in doubt declare it as its better to declare something unnecessarily than to receive a fine for not declaring something!
Tape and Scissors – I use finger tape everytime I roll. One on the things I’ve checked is the ability to take scissors on board a plane (as per my hand luggage plan). I was surprised but really pleased to find out that I could. As long as your scissors are small (with blades no longer than 6cm) you should have a problem. Just put them with your travel liquids in you see through bags as you go through security just to be on the safe side. The bonus is this size of sissor can be found cheaply in your local Poundland or online such as these travel scissors on Amazon. My other tape tip is to look at getting a tin for your tape. This way you can easily throw it into the bottom of your bag and not worry about it getting wet or picking up excess fluff. Rainha Fightwear have just brought out some fabulous finger tape (complete with tin!)
Find a Launderette – If you away for more than a few days and are planning to train then don’t be that stinky gi guy! I’ve been lucky in that I’ve had a few Airbnb’s that have included a washing machine. But if not before you go google the nearest Launderette (or coin operated Laundromat) so you can wash your kit between sessions. Linked to that if you have hold luggage save yourself a headache and a possible skin reaction by buying your own detergent before you go. I don’t like the idea of decanting a strange white powder but again Poundland comes to the rescue with a range of small packs of branded detergent.
None of these tips are that complicated but are genuinely ones myself and my hubby have picked up over the last year travelling around to competitions. We hope you find them useful and save you at least one of the minor headaches we’ve had working things out for ourselves!