Travel Hacks for Competitive Riders: Saving on the Go

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If you ride competitively, then traveling is an inevitable part of your schedule, and yet the costs and complexities of this process can be a prohibitive factor that holds you back.

To prevent this from weighing on your mind, or leaving your bank balance looking a little low, here are some tips that will allow you to make savings without cutting corners in your travel itinerary.

Making Credit Card Rewards Work for You

The cost of horse ownership is variable enough on its own – with monthly costs ranging from $120 to almost $8,000 for serious competitive riders. But with the right suite of credit card rewards, the cost of travel could be significantly softened. Here’s how:

  • Look for credit cards offering rewards on categories like gas, sporting goods stores, and travel bookings – which are all common expenditures for riders.
  • Align with a credit card that’s partnered with an airline you regularly use to get to your circuit destinations, and rack up those air miles over time.
  • Some cards offer extra points or cashback during peak competition seasons; capitalize on these timed incentives.
  • Rather than sporadically redeeming points you’ve accumulated, instead plan to use them strategically for larger costs like international flights.
  • Certain cards provide travel insurance, rental car coverage, or free checked bags – all of which are benefits that can substantially reduce your out-of-pocket expenses.

Usually you’ll find that the best rewards come from the biggest names – so it’s better to compare available options and apply online for a CitiBank credit card or an equivalent that matches your needs, both for convenience and cost savings.

Streamlining Your Travel Itinerary

As competitive riders crisscross the globe in pursuit of glory, a seamless itinerary is a bare minimum requirement. 

Here are a few hacks that make this a possibility, while also ensuring affordability:

  • Secure your transport and accommodation well in advance to avoid price surges, especially during high-demand periods surrounding major events. That said, last-minute bookings are also an option for the financially astute rider – with one report suggesting the sweet spot is 15 days in advance of a trip.
  • Opt for lodgings that are close to competition venues to reduce transit time and costs, while also giving you more rest and less stress.
  • Utilize travel planner apps like TripCase and TripIt that consolidate your booking details and update you on changes or delays, as well as keeping your plans in one place.
  • For those riding the circuit, consider annual multi-trip travel insurance policies to cover all events under one cost-effective umbrella.
  • Whenever possible, schedule flights or train journeys during off-peak hours for reduced fares. This has the extra benefit of the fact that quieter travel times equate to fewer distractions.

Landing Deals on Lodgings

Whether you’re keen on hotels or interested in Airbnbs, at least a quarter of the cost of a typical trip will be swallowed up by accommodation. As well as booking at the right moment, as mentioned earlier, there are other ways to minimize this particular expense. 

Here are a few cost-cutting maneuvers:

  • Reach out directly to hotels and mention your participation in nearby events – they’ll often offer competitors a reduced rate.
  • When traveling with a team or other competitors, book as a group for significantly discounted rates.
  • Enroll in hotel loyalty programs where repeated stays accrue points toward free nights or other perks like room upgrades.
  • Don’t overlook vacation rental properties which can provide better value, especially when sharing with fellow riders.
  • Sometimes staying slightly farther from the event venue can result in substantial savings – weigh the cost against the convenience factor.

Final Thoughts

The good thing about all of these tips and hacks for traveling affordably while riding competitively is that they don’t have to only be applied to your equestrian activities. 

Once you’ve become a bit of a travel guru, you can use what you’ve learned to book vacations and business trips, so it’s well worth taking the time to up your acumen in this area. And if all else fails, don’t forget that travel agents are still a thing – and the right pro can step in to sniff out the best savings as well as handling the admin, so there’s something for everyone.