GRANDSTAND sports tours

FAQs and Tips

How do you chose where to go
This depends on budget - as a rule, you have to expect to pay more than 1000 for any decent trip outside Europe - and also what kind of holiday you are after. Some destinations are more suited for families - the Caribbean, for example - while others, such as Bangladesh and Pakistan, are for the more hardened tourists. As with so many aspects of touring, find a side which has visited where you plan to go and speak to them. Most organisers are more than happy to give their feedback.

Should you use a tour company or go it alone?
Although a tour company will be more expensive - by doing everything yourself you can save 10-20% on the cost - it does remove much of the hassle, and if you have no contacts where you are going and are not experienced in organizing trips. Turning up for the first tour match and finding a deserted ground or completing a 15-hour flight only to discover the hotel has no knowledge of your booking can lead to extreme distress all round. If using a tour company do shop around for someone you feel comfortable with - you will be speaking to them often - and also a firm who are experienced in running trips to your destination.

How long in advance should you start planning?
As long as possible! If it is your first tour, allow at least a year. That sounds a lot, but it isn't really. Clubs in many popular destinations book up early, and advanced planning can allow you to get good deals on flights and accommodation if going it alone.

How long in advance should you start asking for money
The sooner you start getting deposits, the better. Anyone who gets involved in organising knows that people are prone to crying off things unless they have had to put their hands into their pockets. Get an initial non-refundable deposit asap as so much of what you do is dictated by numbers - flights, hotels etc offer discounts for larger groups, and it will cost you if you take advantage of that only to have 50% of your "dead certs" drop out. Also, if you start early then you can set up standing orders for tourists to pay you a set amount per month, making it easier for you and less painful for them.

Who arranges insurance?
Unless you are using a tour company which offers a group scheme, leave this to individuals to sort out - you have enough to do anyway! Collating all the information can be a nightmare, so let people do that themselves.

What about visas, inoculations etc?
Again, all you can do is advise. Our club pages have all the links and information you will need, but you cannot be nursemaid to your tour party, however much they expect you to be! A reminder or two might not go amiss, as more than one side have reported leaving people behind because they have forgotten to get visas.

How do you choose local opposition?
We work closely with overseas sports associations and ground handlers who have expert knowledge of the level of play of local teams. If you have you own contacts we will happily liaise with them. The most significant lessons are learned in competitive challenging encounters, rather than easy victories or hard defeats. We therefore work carefully to ensure that the fixtures we organise for you are with teams of the right age range and competence. We also recognise the importance of cultural and social touring experiences and will therefore try and organise post-match hospitality wherever possible.

What format will the games be played in?
The format depends on what you want, but most countries play limited-overs matches, with anything from 30 and 50 overs the norm. If you want to play a specific format, then make sure it arranged well in advance.

How many fixtures can you play?
While the temptation is to cram in matches, we would recommend that you do not attempt more than four games in any week, and between five and seven in a fortnight. Much depends on geography: if you are in one centre, then more games are feasible, but if you have to travel then this will add to the wear and tear. The size of your squad is also a factor. Eight games for 12 players will be gruelling, while five games for 20 will leave too many tourists on the sidelines.

Can you take cricket coffins etc on flights
Normal baggage allowances apply, but many airlines will allow groups to aggregate their luggage which will allow you to get round any individual differences. But make sure that airlines are contacted before you leave, and that arrangements are made for both outward and inward journeys. And don't forget to allow for the extra weight of souvenirs!

Can we organise a game at an international ground?
Depends on where you are going. In some - Australia, England, South Africa, for example - it is almost impossible and even of you do, the fees can be enormous. In others, it is quite possible, and in a handful of places (especially in the Caribbean, Africa and Sri Lanka) the international grounds are regularly used by clubs. But wherever you go, some of the most beautiful venues are the lesser known ones, and it is always worth speaking to people who have toured to find out where to go and where to avoid.

Can you get sponsorship?
Appealing though it might seem, few companies are willing to cough up cash to help you have a cricketing holiday. If you have a rich benefactor, good on you. Otherwise you need to offer something in return. Logos on kit is one option, but publsihing a tour booklet needs some work but it is easier to ask 10 firms/people for 100 for an advertisement that to try to get 1000 off one outfit.

Doing some good?
Many sides visiting less developed areas in Africa and Asia have helped promote the game by taking old kit - clothing and equipment - with them for distribution around local clubs and schools. You would be surprised how much difference it makes. Contact the clubs you are playing to find out if you can help in this way. Many airlines will waive excess baggage charges if you explain what you are planning.
Click here for more on Barbados

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