It’s all pretty easy, right? Book a flight or a train ticket, turn up at the airport or station and head off to your destination. Travelling has never been easier and you can go anywhere in the world at the click of a mouse. Being an athlete means you get to travel to faraway and exotic places, as well as somewhere local, depending on where the competitions and camps take you.
But it can still get pretty stressful, especially when you’ve been doing it for the past ten years or so. In this time, I’ve learnt a fair few things to make it more enjoyable and stress free. I do believe I have travel ‘gremlins’ that follow me around as most of my flights get delayed or cancelled, so I may not be the best travel buddy for people on a tight schedule!
- I always travel with a carry-on bag, I usually pack spare racing suits (if I’m heading off to a competition), training suits, a cap and goggles. This means that if I ever face the nightmare scenario of losing my main suitcase, I’m still ready to jump in the water without too much disruption. I take a cases with wheels to prevent any chance of shoulder and back problems from carrying a backpack. It can make my shoulders tight and sore, so a wheelie case does the trick!
- I also always travel with a pillow. I’ve been to places where the pillows at the accommodation have been flat, lumpy or just uncomfortable so my own pillow is a nice home comfort. It also helps me rest well and recover! I sometimes get strange looks when I carry it around the airport, but it makes a difference being comfy on the plane and at camps and competitions.
- I always pack entertainment (other than my phone!). Between apps and social media, we can get distracted a little too much on our phones. And sometimes wi-fi at the hotels I stay isn’t great, so I need another form of entertainment! I’m addicted to my kindle, and it beats carrying around lots of books, so it’s a huge travel plus for me. I sometimes take a colouring book with me too – nothing wrong with passing the time on a long flight by colouring in.
- Pack to minimise illness on trips. This is key for all athletes – prevention is always better than cure, so I pack to make sure I don’t get unwell when travelling. I don’t go anywhere without hand sanitiser or Vick’s first defence.
- Relax and enjoy the trip!
Hannah is currently on a training camp in Barcelona as she prepares to compete in the Barcelona leg of the Mare Nostrum series on 11th-12th June, in her build up towards Rio in August.