Packing for your first overseas race? Here are some tips for you, as the day draws nearer.
1. Stow your race gear in your cabin luggage.
If your checked-in luggage goes missing, at least you’ll still have your race gear that you’ve trained in. The rest can be replaced in the worst case scenario but don’t let months of training go down the drain because of wardrobe issues.
The stuff I’d have in my backpack would be my racing shoes and socks on top of the racing apparels. My travel itinerary and hotel booking receipts would be in a thin clear folder. I’ve always found compression socks to be a big help when flying, so that’s a given. Other mandatory items are my tablet and iPod as with sound-isolating earbuds. My supplements and gels will go into my check-in.
2. Stay informed
It’s always wise to check and read up if your destination country has any special restrictions or regulations. Australian regulations are strict. The Australian Customs and Border Protection Service’s (ACBPS) Guide for Travelers can be found here. The list of prohibited and restricted imports can be found here, while the detailed downloadable copy here.
I pack my sports gels and energy bars in clear ziploc bags and declare them on entry. The custom officers will verify your declaration, of course, and I’ve never had issues.
Apps like Accuweather will help you track changes in weather so that you can evaluate your packing right up to your date of departure.
3. It gets easier
As you get more seasoned, you’ll be able to fine-tune your packing needs without having to load up a container. Since I’m from the tropics, I find packing for a warm climate easier. That said, my race travel budget is nearly always allocated for a cooler/colder destination. Afterall I already get to do plenty of running in this country’s muggy weather 😀 .
4. Transportation to the airport
If a family member is driving you to the airport, make sure you remind him or her right up to the day before your flight. I’m anal (and anxious) about this and won’t be able to relax until I get to the airport. If you need to pre-book a cab, do so a few days prior to your date of departure. If you’re grabbing an Uber, be sure that your area is well-served by drivers. It’s still hard to find drivers in the area where I live.
5. If you forget to pack something…
Don’t panic. Most items can be purchased at the airport or where you’re heading to. The most important thing is to ensure your travel documents, cash and credit cards are with you as are your race confirmation slips and race gear. All these, as mentioned above, should be with you in your backpack or cabin-luggage.
Finally, don’t forget to have fun!
Published: June 15th 2015 but expanded to include points 4 and 5.