For drillers, throwing down on the drill floor at the World Drill Championships is the easy part. Getting to the drill floor is MUCH tougher. Factoring airfare, hotel, transportation, food, uniform and other incidentals makes the financial and logistical burden of getting to Worlds the true battle. This doesn’t even include getting time off from school or work and navigating the in’s and out’s of the competition. To help, we’ve included 11 tried and true ways to make the endeavor more bearable:
11. Get there early
Competitors should arrive at least one day before the competition. This will allow time to get acclimated to the competition floor as well as practice.
10. Plan Ahead
If you’re an employee or student, talk to your employer or professors about taking that week off months in advance or at the beginning of the semester. WDC tends to fall during finals week. You will likely have to reschedule. The way you approach your employers and professors is important. Word it professionally. Show them logos or printed materials.
9. Save up
You would be surprised how much money you can save by just setting a little aside in a WDC Fund. There are 365 days between each competition year. 52 weeks. 48 weeks between the time competitors generally arrive home and the deadline of registration for the next year’s WDC. If you set aside $10/week for 48 weeks, you will have saved $480 toward Worlds. Have a smaller budget? Saving $5/week (less than $1/day), will accumulate to $240. That’s your travel ticket. Or your registration fees and share of a hotel room.
8. Connect with your fellow competitors
This is the easiest way to reduce your costs. They may be able to offer shared room, rides to and from the airport, etc. There are many competitors and Nationals-bound drillers on the WDC Competitors and Independent Drill Facebook groups.
7. Use your vacation time
If you are working, there’s nothing worse than seeing your paycheck minus a week of work AFTER spending hundreds on a trip to Florida. A great way to mitigate these costs is to: save up your paid vacation time. This will reduce the financial dent made in expenses and time off.
6. College Students: Make it a recruiting trip
If you’re a college student, your university might pay some or all of your expenses to recruit students on their behalf. If your University currently doesn’t recruit at the National High School Drill Team Championships (NHSDTC), speak to your Recruiting Department about the benefits of hosting a booth.
5. Book your flights and hotel early
Most tickets and hotels/condos are much cheaper if you purchase at least 3 weeks in advance. Prices increase rapidly after that cut-off date.
4. Shop around
There are many websites to choose from. Check as many as possible before purchasing (Priceline, Kayak, Cheap Tickets, Expedia, etc.). Historically, we’ve found the lowest prices on Skiplagged and Kayak. Also, find the least expensive mode of travel that your schedule allows. If driving or taking the bus is cheaper than your flight (and you have the time), choose that.
3. Bunk up or invite family
Share a hotel/condo with fellow drillers. What was a $150/night double-bed room, when shared with 3 other people becomes a $37.50/night room. Or you can invite your relatives and stay with them. This can reduce your or eliminate hotel costs. And how great is it to have your family cheering you on?
2. Kill the nerves
First-time and even veteran competitors are susceptible to nervousness during their performance. One way to combat this is to perform as many times as possible throughout the year. Attend local competitions and perform for the awards ceremony. Or let the judges evaluate your routine. However you can, GET YOUR REPS IN as many times as you can. You don’t want Worlds to be your first performance.
And lastly…the number one piece of advice we can give you to make your Worlds trip as successful as possible (by actually doing well competitively) is this:
1. Read the SOP
If you wish to make the podium, adherence to the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) are just as important as the performance on the floor. You’d be surprised how many ties were broken by small details such as uniforms and time violations. At the end of the day, we’re all here to do well on the floor and (hopefully) get the top prize. Learn the rules, training your heart out and make this trip worth it.