This is the first on-demand article. What are the set backs of travelling to a competition? What should you take into account? Where to begin? In the following paragraphs you will find a few helpful tipps.
Booking a Flight
The first step is booking a cheap flight. There are a lot of websites that will make your search easier. My favorite is checkfelix.com which will compare a number of providers and show you the cheapest and most convenient options. Just fill in the form, click "Search" and wait a moment until the search is completed. On the left side of the web page you can choose additional filters like - for example - your preferred method of payment. When the search is completed, click "View Deal" and you will be redirected to the provider where you can fill in the details of the flight and complete the booking. You should also try using different devices when searching for a flight. We tested it and we actually saw two different prices using an iPad and an Acer Laptop. So compare first, book second.
Methods of Payment
If you travel a lot, you will eventually need a credit card. It is recommended to use a VISA card which usually has no extra fees. It pays off to click on the small arrow icon next to the "View Deal" button in order to compare the various providers. The extra fees can vary according to the method of payment and whether there is extra luggage included or not. That is why I usually fill in everything (including the credit card details) in order to see all the extra fees - the cheapest provider might suddenly not seem as cheap at second sight! If you pay with a credit card, you should be aware of your card limits. If your limit is exceeded, the booking will be cancelled. If this happens and you receive an email with a request to pay an administrative fee, just ignore it. You might also set the credit card limit to zero, so nobody can charge you anything. Such penalty requests are not supported by the law and are therefore invalid.
Checking the Booking Details
The most important thing is to check every single detail - the day, the airport, the times and so on. Check the automatically filled arrays as well - not everything here is always correct either.
The allowed luggage depends on the flight company. Usually a 8kg piece of cabin luggage per person is allowed, but check the exact size measures on the provider's web page anyway! Extra pieces of hold luggage are almost never included and have to be booked separately. You have the possibility to book an additional piece of hold luggage (usually 23kg) for approx. 30-50€ (there and back). Often you are offered to book an additional piece of luggage for all passengers. It is nevertheless also possible to book one for only one person but you might have to search for the right provider to be able to do it. That's what I always do because one extra piece of luggage is more than enough for a competition weekend. We have never tried to travel to a competition with cabin luggage only. It is not possible if you consider the amount of make up and hair spray you will need as a dancer.
What Can You Take With You?
The more luggage you have, the more exhausting the journey will be. That is why we only try to take such things with us we most probably will need. We only pack travel size shower gels, shampoos etc. The only ordinarily sized thing we take with us is hair spray. If possible, it is recommended to pack your tail suit, the dress and the shoes in your cabin luggage. You can also take a dress bag as cabin luggage with you on board, sometimes even additionaly to an ordinary piece of cabin luggage (in such case it is called "personal item"). In case you have to change flights, it is particularly important to have everything you cannot so easily buy with you on board. All liquids should be packed in an extra piece of hold luggage, so you do not have to worry about the security check. You can still have an empty (!) bottle with you so you do not have to die of thirst. Just take it through the security check and fill it up afterwards. In cabin luggage, you can only transport 100ml liquid containers that have to be in a tranparent reseable (!) bag with the maximal volume of 1 liter.
If you want to sit next to your partner, use the online check in as early as possible. It is usually possible to check in online 24-48 prior to the flight. Otherwise, you will have to have a good book with you to make up for the conversation or get a good neighbour :) Try to be at the airport 60-90 minutes before the flight in order to avoid the haste at the security check and to find your gate but do not overdo it - there is not so much to do at the airport if you arrive 3 hours in advance.
Last tipp: don't forget your passports ;-)