Turkey Bound – European Triathlon Championships

As you may know, my performance at the Rother Valley Triathlon last year meant that I qualified to compete for Team GB in the European Age-Group Triathlon Championships this year. After having such a good time in New Zealand at the World Champs, I wasn’t going to pass up on another opportunity for some travel and international racing so it was time to start planning for the race.

The European Championships take place in Alanya, Turkey during June 2013 and I’ve now booked my flights and accommodation and paid the race entry fee. Time to get training I guess!

The BTF (British Triathlon Federation) have a preferred travel agent (Nirvana Europe) who offer travel packages and ground support at these major events. We used them for our trip to New Zealand as they didn’t work out much more expensive than booking flights and accommodation ourselves and we thought the small additional cost was worth paying for the ease of booking and trouble free travelling.

Unfortunately the same can’t be said for a trip to Turkey as there are so many good package deals available that Nirvana Europe don’t seem to be able to compete on price. Their packages work out at around £900 for a week in Turkey which was just too much for me to afford. They are now offering quite a few different (cheaper) hotel and ground support only packages but these still start at around £450 for the week and I would have to arrange my own flights, transfers and additional baggage on top of that so the cost would still be around £800 and there is the potential for lots of hassle.

A quick look online showed that it was pretty easy to find package deals for around £500 which is considerably cheaper than the Nirvana options. I do of course have the added ‘inconvenience’ of having to take a bike with me and sorting this out online isn’t always straight forward so I decided to pop into a local Thomas Cook travel agents to see what they could offer.

In the end they had flights from Birmingham, a 3* Half Board hotel complete with transfers for £427. The hotel is just around the corner from the Team Hotel and about a 20-30 minute walk from the event centre. I had hoped to get one a little closer to the event centre but that wasn’t possible. Thomas Cook also arranged the additional baggage allowances for my bike and the transfers of my bike to and from the airport / resort, all of which saves me a lot of trouble and means I only have one port of call should there be any problems. I shall be travelling on my own, without my usual support crew of Anna and Morgan so the fewer hassle I experience the better. Even with the additional baggage and transfers and a credit card surcharge the total cost was still less than £500 –  a saving of £300-£400 on the Nirvana options.

So that’s it, all booked, along with the £102 race entry fee and I’m on my way to Turkey for the European Age-Group Triathlon Championships.

Also announced yesterday was the venue for the 2014 ITU World Triathlon Championships. They are to be held in Edmonton, Canada. It may be a long way off and I have of course to qualify for them first, but that sure sounds like a nice place for a holiday to me!

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Alan Cole

Alan is a Freelance Website Designer, Sports & Exercise Science Lab Technician and full time Dad & husband with far too many hobbies: Triathlete, Swimming, Cycling, Running, MTBing, Surfing, Windsurfing, SUPing, Gardening, Photography.... The list goes on.

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