How To Save Money Travelling To Motorsport Events
As a motorsport photographer, these costs either come out of your profits for the weekend or need to be passed on to your customers, which can be extremely hard to justify.
So what can you do to try and mitigate these expenses and try to ensure you maximise the amount of money you make in the race weekend? Let’s have a look at the options.
Book Early – Very Early
As a rule of thumb, I book hotels and rental cars as soon as I get an idea of the date that an event will be held. Sometimes I’m fortunate enough to get some insider heads-up as to the possible dates for the upcoming calendar. But in most cases, I’ll look at the calendar as soon as it becomes public and rush around websites like booking.com to make sure that I secure something straightaway.
The nature of motorsport events means that there are thousands of people who need to be there, drivers, team members, officials, and media, not to mention fans, so things like accommodation and rental cars can book out quickly. Another thing to keep in mind, as soon as hotels and rental car companies see a flood of bookings coming in, you know they are going to inflate the prices to maximise their profits, so if you leave it, it’ll definitely be more costly in just a few days.
Always try to book early to ensure that you not only get the best pricing, but you’ll also get the best chance of getting somewhere that you really want to stay. Not all accommodation is equal, after all.
Take full advantage of the no upfront payment and free cancellation to make sure you secure everything you need. And then, you can have a look at what other options become available, be that lower prices or sharing with colleagues closer to the event.
As I just touched on, accommodation and rental cars are expensive (especially at the moment). See who you might be able to split costs with.
Everyone else is in the same boat; the costs of travelling to and from events will absolutely impact how much money you can make over the course of a race weekend, so sharing costs amongst colleagues is a great way to save money.
Airbnbs per room are often cheaper than hotels, so being able to get a few other photographers and journalists together will absolutely save you all some money overall. This also goes for rental cars; you’ve all got to go to the same place anyway (you just might need to coordinate flights).
Wait To Book Things You Need To Pay For
While booking accommodation and rental cars well in advance is a great way to save money. If you need to pay for it at the time of booking, like you have to do with flights etc, hold off until you know you are 100% travelling to the event.
Flight prices fluctuate, and you will absolutely save money if you book well in advance, but if you are travelling to a well-connected city, flight prices won’t become too extreme in the lead-up to the event. That said, cities and towns with fewer flights will obviously become expensive real quick. You are going to need to use your best judgement to work out which flights you need to book early.
For big cities with large airports, I might leave my flights until a couple of weeks before the event. But for smaller ones, I’ll try to book them a couple of months in advance.
Stay An Extra Day Or Two
I know this can be tough, especially for those of you who are transitioning to become a professional motorsport photographers or have families at home. But you can often save a significant amount of money, more than enough to cover the extra night or two of accommodation by simply staying an extra night in the race destination. Especially after the race.
The number of people rushing to the airport immediately after the race meeting has concluded is, well… everyone. So you can always snag a deal to stay a couple of extra nights and see some sights other than just the race track.
I’ve found over the years that if you just spend all your time at the airport and race tracks, the travel can become really draining. But if you take advantage of an extra day and see the sights and treat the Monday after a race meeting as your weekend, the travel becomes much easier. Plus, you get a chance to relax and reset in a new city or town before heading to the next one.
Travel to (and from) motorsport events is expensive. Unfortunately, that’s just the way it is. However, with a little bit of foresight, you can absolutely mitigate having to overpay excessively.
I've been working as a motorsport photographer in Australia since 2012, building up my business InSyde Media. I am very fortunate that I have been able to work at all sorts of motorsport events including Supercars, F1 and WRC all over Australia and New Zealand. Also, check out my personal website where I document my travels and a few other things.
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