My name is Ghost. I’m both an American solo beatboxer and a broke college student. After realizing that there are too many members of the community who aren’t able to attend battles due to financial / time reasons, I’ve decided to write this piece because I’ve figured out some tips and tricks that you may find useful.
I want to note that the insights of this piece mainly pertain to American beatboxers, though I believe much of it will still be applicable regardless of where you live. My goal is to help several beatboxers make it to a couple more battles than usual. Hopefully, that happens here!
How to Book Your Flight
I use Skyscanner pretty much 95% of the time because it scans 1000+ websites and then gives you the cheapest flights. It also gives you the option to search “everywhere” for location and entire months for departure/return dates, which makes comparing prices/logistics easier than any other website. The only consistent problem is sometimes the prices are not fully updated, but overall, this is the simplest platform to use most of the time if you’re searching for cheap and convenient flights.
Once in a while, I check Norwegian’s website because of their sales that seem to happen pretty randomly. I’ve seen a flash sale that offered a $258 round trip from New York to Amsterdam, but these prices tend to disappear pretty quickly, which is why it’s important to be decisive if you’re looking to book through this website.
These are situational sites. Use Student Universe for student discounts, and use Jetradar if you can stand extremely long layovers for the sake of budgeting.
Planning Your Logistics
Always prioritize and think carefully about your logistics. A $30 cheaper flight is not worth it if you have to travel to a farther airport (especially with rideshare), have a significantly longer or more inconvenient flight, and expend more of your usual energy.
This is especially true if you’re a beatboxer, because you need to save your energy and rest properly for your elimination round.
When to book
Look at flights around 1-4 months before your planned departure timeframe. This is the focal point during which prices remain relatively stable, but new flights are also popping up frequently. I try to wait until I get an FB event or battle schedule to book more precisely (organizers, please release these schedules earlier before the event if you can).
Account for Delays
Always be flexible and account for delays. This is especially true if you’re a resident in a city with a large population density, because airports in those cities tend to have more bottlenecks in their daily operations (ex. LaGuardia, JFK). A delay will usually be about an hour, but sometimes you will get quadruple delayed. This has happened to me at least three times in the past year, and it sucks, but don’t let it prevent you from getting to a beatbox event.
Opinions on airlines
I only know a lot about these few but they’re pretty common in America, so I hope it helps.
United: I tend to use this one because domestic flights with United can be SUPER cheap if you book ahead of time (I got an Atlanta round trip from New York for around $140). From my experience and observations, they’re also good with rebooking if something goes wrong, but please don’t plan your travel according to this.
Delta: I like Delta, because they tend to stay relatively inexpensive, but they also allow you to use messaging in-flight which is super convenient, especially if you’re group traveling so you can stay in contact with other members of your group.
American Airlines: From my experience, they’re not as inexpensive, so I use them more situationally. Definitely do digital check-in with American Airlines though, because they will let you know if they need a volunteer to give up their seat. I did this and got a $500 travel voucher, and customer service rebooked me on a flight that got me back to New York faster.
Also, all three of these have good reward programs. Check the deals.
Always do this. This gets you through the airport way faster since you get your boarding pass digitally. It usually lets you check seats, and gives you text alerts if you get a delay.
If you’re about to make a series of huge expenditures, I would recommend getting a travel rewards credit card (ex. Delta SkyMiles) and using it for that purpose. Presuming you meet the requirements, you will get a ton of miles from this, meaning free flights.
When I redeem miles, I prefer to use them under these conditions:
- International flights that don’t use too many miles given the usual price (ex. NY → Europe)
- Domestic flights that are more expensive than usual (ex. NY → Chicago is cheap, but Chicago → NY is not, I will pay for the former normally and the latter with miles)
Group Travel Tips
I use Airbnb 95% of the time whether it’s group or solo travel. The platform makes it significantly easier to compare price, location, rating, and amenities. It becomes easier to book closer to a specific venue, while making sure your group’s needs are accommodated.
Oftentimes, the cheapest option is reserving a spacious Airbnb for a group, meaning that the price is split among multiple people and space is usually reserved entirely for just your group.
If you’ve decided to use Airbnb, here are some important tips:
Designate a contact person in your group who can reserve the Airbnb on their account and actively communicate with the host.
Follow the itinerary and share the entire thing with your group. This designates check-in/check-out, parking, rules, expectations, etc. Also, you want to avoid situations that lead to the host leaving you a bad review, which can be compromising if you use Airbnb often.
No Pay = No Stay
This is my personal piece of advice to group organizers. Airbnbs have a limited amount of spots and each one can be costly. If you have a group of people who need housing for an event, hold them accountable by reserving them a spot only once they pay. If they don’t pay promptly, their spot should be up for grabs by other people.
In general, avoid any situation in which one person can inconvenience an entire group by not paying, not being communicative or agreeable, etc. Traveling takes money, time, and energy from everyone, so cooperation should be an expectation of everyone involved.
These tips apply whether or not you use Airbnb for your group travel.
Always prioritize location. A cheap housing situation doesn’t matter if you have to expend more time and money on ridesharing, public transportation, etc. Sometimes, it is more worth it to get slightly more expensive housing closer to a venue (though that becomes super difficult in big cities because then it gets exponentially more expensive if the location is more central).
This is easily one of the most important pieces of advice in group travel. Make sure everyone in your group has a way to communicate with each other, especially since people will come in at different times. This is not only efficient, but safer as well. Ideally, use Messenger or WhatsApp, since those are the two most popular instant messenger apps.
Some members of your group may come with cars. Check beforehand who is traveling by car, and this will help you plan logistics more effectively.
Useful Traveling Apps
Please have these. If you don’t, you are that guy. Don’t be that guy.
WhatsApp & Messenger
Definitely have both. Messenger is arguably the most effective, while WhatsApp will help you communicate with people outside of North America. If you don’t have messenger apps as a beatboxer, I don’t know what you’re doing.
Uber and Lyft
Download both. There are some areas and situations where ridesharing is easily the most effective travel option. It’s also good for your safety, because you can use it any time of the day and it works in multiple locations.
Preferably Venmo and Paypal if you’re North American. Without these, you are significantly slower at resolving many financial situations common in group travel, such as paying someone back for food, ridesharing, etc.
This is important for your contact person because Airbnb has a messaging system that the host is obligated to use (from what I know).
Once again, if you’re a serious beatboxer and you don’t have these, I don’t know what you’re doing. You don’t necessarily have to use it, but organizers will very frequently use these platforms to make announcements, especially if they make an event page on FB.
This will include event schedules, venue details, ticket info, brackets/seeding, rules on elimination/battles, and other types of helpful information. You cannot access these announcements without an account, so for the sake of your autonomy and being informed about the event you’re participating in, make one and be on the lookout.
One more thing is that if someone is trying to create a housing group for an event, they are likely to use Facebook and Instagram as a means of communication. It’s in your favor to be accessible.
All The Google Apps
Gmail, Google Drive, Maps, etc. These are just generally convenient apps. Some organizers communicate through email, photos/content are often shared through Google Drive, and everyone will need a way to navigate to the venue.
Overall, any app that eases your ability to travel is recommended. Better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.
Have any questions?
If you have any questions, feel free to drop a comment below. If this was helpful in any way, be sure to share it with your friends. Until next time! Peace.