Let’s be honest, us freerunners generally don’t have a lot of money. We’re all twenty-somethings, living at home, waiting for Nike to recruit us for their next advert. Travel and exploration are some of the most important and appealing aspects of training. Through the constant focus on parkour in exotic destinations, by Storror, Jestion and Flow Goes, it’s becoming even more popular. So how can you still make the parkour trip of a lifetime happen on your next-to-nothing budget? Believe me, travel doesn’t have to be expensive…
Don’t plan accommodation!
We’re fortunate enough to have a huge community of cool people who often are willing to house fellow freerunners very cheaply, if not for free. When you arrive, put a post out on Facebook and get talking to some locals. You’ll be surprised at how effectively this can work. Another option is to sleep ‘rough’. This isn’t as dangerous and uncomfortable as you might think. Make use of your superhuman abilities and clamber on some flat rooftops – this keeps you and your belongings safe. No thug would be able to get up there! Sleeping under the stars never hurt anyone, we can climb on roofs – make use of that skill, but choose wisely.
Don’t pay for public transport!
One of the first things a lot of us learn are basic vaults – so hop that barrier. What else have you been training for?! In a lot of places we’ve travelled we’ve discovered that public transport is totally free – but only for those who dare. A lot of public transport systems are essentially based on trust (Munich subway, Swiss busses) there are no guards to check tickets, and often you have to go out of your way to purchase one. It’s worth the gamble, don’t buy tickets. In the rare scenario you do get rumbled, often the fine is less than the money you’ve saved anyway!
Buy the cheapest flights!
If you’re not picky about where you want to go, there are some great options online for listing destinations by price (Skyscanner) – simply pick the cheapest destination that takes your fancy. Being flexible on dates can also really help, prices fluctuate dramatically between days, have a look around, and expect to be on a flight at a horrible time. Generally you should be able to fly from anywhere in Europe, to Europe or north Africa and west Asia for £100 (ish) return.
Choose destinations where cost of living is cheap!
Relatively speaking, western european countries are expensive, especially Switzerland, or Norway. Travel to places where it doesn’t cost much to live – Belarus, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Macedonia, and Moldova are among the cheapest in Europe. You’ll be surprised how little it costs to live out there. You could live for 6 months in Romania, on an average month’s salary from Switzerland.
Stay away from tourist areas!
Most countries will have totally different prices for the same stuff, depending on the area you’re in. Generally speaking, if there are a lot of tourists around it won’t be cheap, prices are bumped up to extort lazy, naive and wealthy tourists. Explore, and find the cheap local areas, you’ll save a lot! Often helps to have local guides for this, especially where language is a barrier.
If you’re planning a cool trip, try to get small local companies from your hometown or your desired destination to get involved. They might be able to take care of flights, or expenses in exchange for a logo credit, or wearing some branded clothes. Every little helps, and even if it’s just a few hundred quid it can be worth it. Sell yourself, a lot of you have massive social media presence and this can be really valuable to brands who are trying to target young males. You may have to make a video, or do some talking at an event but, if it makes the trip possible, go for it!
Set up coaching workshops abroad!
In a lot of places, regulations on coaching are far less strict than places like the UK, so it may be possible to run some workshops for a little cash when you arrive. This could be a great way to fund a trip if you have no money. Again, speak to locals, email gyms and academies. The best way is to run some ‘special guest’ workshops in an already established center – think Denmark, LA, Iceland.
Don’t pay for luggage!
Let’s be honest, how much stuff do you really need? The majority of airlines charge between £40-£60 for luggage, it’s an expense which is totally unnecessary. The hand luggage limits are notoriously flexible anyway, especially on empty flights in the dead of night. Take a big backpack, and think carefully about what you really need to bring. Do you really think ten different T-shirts are totally essential? Wear what you can on the flight, and pack light!
I hope some of these tricks can help you save some dollar, but don’t blame me if you get into a fight or arrested. It’s all part of the fun I suppose!
Insta – @DrewFTaylor