I travel a lot with my triathlete. Some of it is for races; some for training; and some – alas, very little – for pure pleasure. No matter the reason, there is one thing they all have in common – it can zap the joy out of a vacation quickly!
From traveling with a ton of tri gear, including bike boxes, then making sure you have the right rental car to fit said bike box at your destination; to finding the right food and hydration; to clothes issues; to making sure there are areas to swim/bike/run; it all takes extra effort.
We’ve given you tips before on how to plan for and take these vacations, so now I’m just going to tell you the best ways I’ve found to stay sane during these trips.
Have you ever been asked by your triathlete if you have any room left in your suitcase? Well, I have, but since I’m one who overpacks a bit, it was difficult to accommodate said request.
- The best way to travel for a race to make the stress level go WAY down is to the ship the bike and a duffle bag filled with tri gear.
- If we can’t do that, we each take a suitcase and then share a large duffle for shoes, wetsuits, toiletries, helmets, etc. I’d rather take an extra piece of luggage then try and cram everything in or heaven forbid, underpack!
- Make sure you bring a plastic bag for dirty and wet clothes for traveling home.
- Your triathlete needs to bring a RoadID band with your cell phone number on it and/or have a GPS tracking app on their phone for when they’re off training. This saves me from a lot of worry.
- DO NOT let them wear compression socks with flip flops and cargo shorts on the plane. If you love this look, seek help. For the rest of us, jeans and tennies do a great job of hiding the socks and keep the embarrassment level low.
- Make them responsible for carrying their own snacks – it’s like packing for kids. I no longer use a backpack as my carry on, so I can use the excuse that I don’t have room.
- If you have to take the bike and all the paraphernalia with you, make sure you have or have arranged for a big enough car to get you to the airport and confirm this the day before. I learned the hard way.
If you need to stay close to the race site for a few days around race day, unless it’s really vacation worthy, make sure you get a few days at the hotel/resort of your choosing. It’s a vacation for both of you, after all. Sometimes these hotels are great and sometimes not so much. Make sure to check this out whether or not you’re doing the itinerary and booking.
Several other room issues…
- Don’t let them have free reign of the room. Designate an area just for this purpose, so the whole room doesn’t get taken over. You don’t want it to look like home!
- If you’re tired of wet and/or stinky clothes hanging in the bathroom and having to move them when you’re ready to shower, it’s time for plan B. Make sure to carry detergent and when THEY rinse out their clothes, have them hang them on the balcony – when feasible and possible – and not on the shower rod or around the tub. That said, have you ever looked up at balconies that are filled with drying tri clothes? Ugh! Otherwise, make sure to shower while they’re working out. Of course, an in-room washer and dryer is heaven for races, but I really don’t want to do laundry on a true vacation…
PLAN SOME ME TIME
If you’re traveling for a race or they have to train, you will find yourself alone, just like at home. So, please don’t sit in the hotel room. Instead, plan some adventures for yourself and/or with your kids. This can be as simple as a mani/pedi to a half day snorkeling trip. I just try and find someplace away from the race center. This is one of the positives of traveling with a triathlete, so take advantage.
ACCEPT THE RELAXED DRESS CODE
It took me a while to get used to the very relaxed and very casual way triathletes dress during race weeks. I’m not talking on race day, but the days leading up to race day. Spandex and t-shirts seem to be the rule. I’m not criticizing, just stating a fact. I still don’t walk around in workout gear on vacation myself, but I don’t wear a t-shirt that says “my husband dresses this way because he is a triathlete” either. I’ve become a bit more tolerant and pack accordingly.
When we’re traveling for a pure vacation, he tries to keep the ironman wear to a minimum when we’re sight seeing and not advertise his hobby.
FOOD AND DRINK
- First and foremost – if it’s just the two of you, get comfortable drinking alone and don’t feel guilty. You need it!
- Get used to eating alone. I would rather go out for a nice lunch by myself than grab a sandwich at a deli and eat it in the room. You’re on vacation and trust me, no one is staring at you and feeling sorry for you.
- If you have to eat dinner early, like it could be a late lunch, make sure it’s someplace nice and not a take out joint. No need to suffer on both counts.
PLAN SOME DIVERSIONS
Go ahead and make some plans for things you want to do with your triathlete. What you choose will really depend on why you’re at your destination. If it’s a race, you will not be planning a hike through a national park. Otherwise, choices should be wide open. Just realize your plans could be changed. If I don’t take charge of this, it will never get done as he’s just as happy to hang with his fellow triathletes, staying in the room futzing with his tri stuff, or perusing the Expo. Which leads me to…
KEEP EXPECTATIONS IN CHECK
I’ve really learned not to count on my triathlete to make my vacation a remarkable experience. This way, I’m no longer disappointed. I’m really not being critical, it’s just a fact of life. Instead, I count on myself and we’re both much happier.
HOW DO YOU STAY SANE TRAVELING WITH A TRIATHLETE?
Sherry is one of the TriWivesClub and LifeDoneWell co-founders and contributes to multiple blogs. She is a former co-owner of the California Apparel News and had a career in the healthcare industry. Her passions include traveling, real food, the environment, and animal rescue/welfare. She lives a healthy lifestyle and has been a vegetarian since 1987. She and her husband are parents to two rescue pups and reside in Connecticut.