The Road Warrior's Rules
The Road Warrior's ten travel tips to live by:
1. Jet Lag Is For Wussies
Jet lag is all in your head. At least, most of it is. If you think you're going to be messed up, you will be. Likewise, if you think you'll be fine, you will. When flying long distances -- especially overseas -- forget about what time it is back home and get on the local time immediately. And if you arrive overseas in the morning (as many U.S. flights do), DO NOT GO TO BED UNTIL THAT NIGHT. REPEAT: DO NOT GO TO BED UNTIL THAT NIGHT. Make it through the first day and adjusting is easy. Yield to temptation and you'll be messed up for days.
2. Scalpers Are Your Friends
Is an event sold out? No worries. Scalpers always have tickets available, often at or below face value if you know how to dicker. And check the ticket office just before game time; folks sometimes turn back great seats just before game time. And you would be surprised at how many fans simply give away extra tickets at the gate. Don't be afraid to ask. At the BIG events, look for the corporate sponsor groups. Those fans usually don't have a rooting interest in the event and they often have people fail to show up.
3. Break The Chains
Stay away from the chain restaurants and eat at the places that are special to the area. Ask the locals where they like to eat. Save money and add to the experience of your visit by picnicking in the park. Also, get the real local sports vibe by watching the game over beers at a bar with the people who can't afford $80 seats on the 50. And read the local sports section to see what's going on.
4. Be Like Lance
If you're in a big city, renting a bike for a day can be a fun, economical and quick way to get from place to place. Plus, you don't have to search for a parking spot. Subways and buses are a great way to save on cabs and parking, as well. And biking all day means you can drink more beer at night.
5. Be Like Crash
Hey, I love the majors but catching a minor league game is a great -- and usually inexpensive -- way to spend an evening, especially with many of the great little ballparks that have opened in the past decade or so. The food is often as good -- and frequently better -- than in the majors, even if the players aren't. The beer is cheaper, too.
6. Do Your Homework
Read up on a place before visiting. And I don't just mean a travel guide, though those are a very, very wise investment. Also read a book set in the area you're visiting to get yourself in the mood. Or see a movie filmed there for the same reason.
7. Take A Hike
Team out of town? Most stadiums still offer tours that give you a great look at the place and allow you to claim it on your list. Away from the park, some of the best tours are walking tours where a guide takes you on foot through the city's history and landmarks. Evening pub crawls and ghost tours are especially fun.
8. I Must Be in the Front Row
If the game isn't sold out, buy a cheap seat and then sneak into a better location after awhile. The worst that can happen is the ushers kick you back, but more likely, you'll get a great seat at a great price.
9. Remember Your PIN
Finding places that take traveler's checks is not always easy overseas. ATMs are plentiful in most countries. They're easier to use and they offer the best exchange rate. Also, buy phone cards. They are much, much cheaper than calling home any other way. And often, the only way to call home.
10. Wise Up
Use the Internet for comparison shopping. It's amazing how widely prices vary for almost everything travel related.
Jim Caple is a senior writer for ESPN.com who has covered sports on five continents and written about them all across America. His work can also be found on Page 2, and his book, "The Devil Wears Pinstripes," can be ordered through jimcaple.com.
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