If you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area this week you can feel the excitement in the air. And it builds each day, as we get closer to Super Bowl Sunday when the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos will meet to play in Super Bowl 50 at Levi Stadium.
Football fans have descended on the Bay Area from all over the country and we have seen thousands of them this week when visiting Super Bowl City, (a free-to-the-public fan village designed to celebrate the big game) and going out to Levi Stadium where the game will be played.
Playing in the Super Bowl is the icing on the cake for many football players and getting there is not easy. Only a few are fortunate enough to reach this pinnacle. Both teams have been working tirelessly for months to get there and both have aspirations of winning the game and taking home that Lombardi trophy.
Both teams know that the object of the game is to win. As travelers we should also know what the “object of the game” is for each trip that we take. And if we want to get the most out of the trip, we need to plan just as carefully as NFL teams do. Here are some of the things that they do to prepare:
THEY WATCH FILM – Football players spend hours studying films – breaking down the strengths and weakness of their opponents. Each player is looking for an edge because the object of the game is to beat the opponent each time the ball is snapped.
As travelers we can also benefit from watching videos of our destinations. YouTube is a wonderful resource for checking out a city, cruise ship, hotel, restaurant, etc. Many of the videos are made by regular travelers just like us, who give very candid information and share their own personal views and experiences.
THEY WORK WITH EXPERTS– They utilize a team of specialists and coaches including position coaches, strength coaches, stretching coaches and even massage therapists. Of course there are books and online resources that professional athletes can use, but teams look to their specialists to prepare their athletes for maximum performance.
There are many professional resources that travelers can benefit from. Travel agents/advisors book travel on a daily basis, so they have a vast knowledge of destinations, trends, advisories, etc. Just be sure to work with someone who has first-hand knowledge about where you’re going. Of course there are books, apps and online resources that travelers can use also if they like. But there is no substitute for hands-on, expert advice.
DESIGNING PLAYS – Every week each team puts in a game specifically designed for the team that they will face on Sunday. That game plan consists of breaking down the opponents and coming up with a plan of attack to defeat them. Before taking a trip, you need to design a game plan also. That is how you will get the most out of your trip. Tour companies can be a valuable resource when planning a trip. There are literally hundreds of good tour companies who sell packaged tours that include flights, accommodations and excursions. They range in price from ultra luxury (one company offers round-the-world tours by private jet) to more budget-friendly. They can offer better prices since they buy air reservations and hotel rooms in bulk from the travel vendors and can package them at discounted rates. It’s best to work with a tour company that has been recommended by a friend or travel advisor who can give you detailed information about the level of service that a company offers – and remember, you get what you pay for.
TEAM CHEMISTRY – This is a very important part of a winning team. It is often said that a bad attitude in a locker room can poison the entire team. Many players have found themselves out of the NFL for that very reason.
It is just as important to choose your travel partners carefully. I’m sure many of us could tell horror stories about traveling with the wrong person. The people you travel with can make or break your trip.
UNIFORMS – The NFL has very specific guidelines for what their players wear. It is important that they adhere to those guidelines for safety reasons. Travelers should be just as careful when selecting their travel gear. That can apply to wearing the right shoes for the terrain, or even size and shape of luggage. If a piece of luggage is too heavy for you to handle, you’ll have great difficulty lifting it onto buses, or into overhead bins – and you can even risk injury.
As the famous Raider owner, Al Davis was famously known for saying, “Just win, Baby”. Even though travel is not a game, it is just as important to prepare and stay focused on your travel goals.