1. If you snore, please bring your hapless roommates earplugs. They may choose not to use them, but you need to provide them. Sometimes I snore, especially after my sinuses get dried out on a plane, or I'm really really really tired. I bring earplugs for myself and my roomies, and I also bring my ipod with my headphones. It tends to help me drift off when I'm having problems getting comfortable.
2. Bring Benadryl. I am one of those people who take a while to get comfortable in a strange bed, so I bring Benadryl to make me sleepy. It tends to work in about a half hour, and it is non-addictive. I also tend to run the air conditioning fan just to block out ambient noises that most hotels have.
3. Get a good skate bag that can fit all of your gear, uniforms and anything you need for the game. I use a Reidell rolling backpack model when I travel; you can find it here. I also pack a change of underwear in there and anything else I can cram into the compartments to make it through a weekend. I will say that I have managed to fit all of my pads in there, my helmet, uniforms for two games, socks, spare wheels, and spare clothes in that bag, so I highly recommend it. Going through security is always interesting when you're carrying your skates, but I have made three trips so far and haven't been stopped yet. I also tend to ask people who are checking luggage to take any skate tools I may need, that way there is no question that security will confiscate anything.
|This is just some of the stuff I had in my skate bag. No, I'm not taking a picture of my underwear.|
4. Try to book on similar flights as your teammates; it's a lot more comforting to fly with your team than to fly alone. Some of my teammates are really afraid of flying, so every flight can be an ordeal. It helps if you're there to hold their hands.
5. Also, try and book your flights with some time cushions. You don't want to be arriving within a couple of hours of your game; be smart and plan for the worst. Three of our teammates had their flight delayed for five hours due to mechanical issues, and I'm so thankful we arrived the day before the game. It gave us breathing room.
6. Try to get a ride to and from the airport if you can. Parking can be a hassle, and super expensive. See if you can split the pick up and drop off with someone else's friends or family.
7. Do you know who and how to tip? Valet parkers (1-2 dollars per car), shuttle drivers (1-2 dollars), sky caps (1-2 dollars per bag), waitresses (15-20%) and taxi drivers (15-20%), should be tipped. At the hotel, you tip the bell boy if he takes your bags to the room (1-2 dollars per bag), tip the front desk if you ask and receive a lot of extra attention from them, and tipping housekeeping at the end of your stay is nice too, especially if you were giant pigs (1-10 dollars per night). Oink oink. And no, leaving your left over alcohol in the mini fridge does not count as a tip.
So there are my tips for airline travel for derby. If you have any, please post them below!