Whoever said best things in life are free, did not have the pleasure of being a DanceSport Competitor. While anyone with a partner can dance socially, competitions, require costumes, coaching, and most likely travelling. Here are 12 tips for DanceSport On A Budget that will help you plan better for your next competition:
1. If you travel frequently by plane, consider getting a flight pass. You can pre-purchase a set number of flights for a good discount, and will generally have more flexibility in booking and changes than you would with regular discount flights. There are several different types of passes: for a region, a whole country, international and everything in between. Look at different options and different airlines to find the best one for you. If you travel out of your own country, you can also get a year’s worth of travel medical insurance at a cheaper rate than per trip. One way or another, don’t travel without this. Medical bills in foreign countries can really add up.
2. Earning loyalty points for an airline is a great idea. Accumulating points works best if you stick with one airline. It works even better if you add another way to earn, such as a credit card that earns points toward your airline or several airlines. If you use a credit card for points, use it for EVERYTHING, even gum if you can. Also, pay it off at the end of the month or you will end up spending money on interest, which should have gone to dancing.
3. For high demand locations in high season, plan your travel in advance and book early! Prices can increase to even double for last minute bookings to warm climates during winter, and almost everywhere around holidays.
4. Sign up for loyalty point programs that are offered by hotel chains. All things being equal, some people even choose one competition over another because of the availability of points in their program from the competition hotel or the option to redeem points that have been collected.
5. Many hotels and web booking services offer lower rates if you waive your option to cancel. It is a bit of a risk, but can save you a lot. if you do not see it advertised, just call the reservations line and ask for this and any other discount programs.
6. You can also look for hotels near the competition that may have lower rates. In the summer, many university dorms also rent rooms at VERY reasonable rates.
(Check out one of the DCR Episodes to see how we REVIEW competitions and hotels)
COSTUMES & SHOES
7. If you are new to competitions or unsure of your preferences, you might want to consider renting costumes. There are several services, and some designers who offer rental services. This is a great option for you to wear a high quality costume at a reasonable price.
8. You might also consider renting if you compete a lot. This will supplement your own costumes to keep you looking fresh.
9. Remodelling your costumes, or adding rhinestones to shoes will greatly extend their life. Selling your costumes is also a great option. (Check out our post on this topic.)
10. Coaching is the last place that you want to skimp. Regular coaching from a great instructor is the foundation of your success. Consistency is the most important thing here. Frequent stops and starts or long randomly spaced breaks will result in money wasted because momentum is lost. It is better to plan and space in a reasonable and sustainable way, with a good practice plan in between lessons, than to go all out, then bust.
11. Consider a shared session for extra coaching. Extra coaching with different coaches on top of your base is a great accelerator of progress. Unfortunately, many skimp on this due to cost. A shared lesson is where 2 couples share one session. Half of the time is with one couple while the other watches and learns, and then there is a switch. Be aware that not all coaches will do this, so please respect their preferences. You can further supplement your perspectives with high quality instructional videos and articles. Also, you can now get a personal evaluation and recommendations from a top coach through on-line coaching.
12. Group classes can also reinforce your learning and are great for technique. Make sure however that the group you select is at your level or slightly above. Being in the wrong group will only frustrate you. Group instruction is not a substitute for private lessons but is very worthwhile as a cost effective support.
DanceSport really is one of the best things in life. These tips might not make it free, but every little bit helps.