As anybody who has ever picked up a newspaper during the World Cup will know, the “beautiful game” isn’t always so beautiful. In fact, the British have a bit of a problem with conduct when it comes to international games, and it is not uncommon to see images of football fans yelling, brawling and causing trouble in cities around the world.
However, it must be pointed out that those individuals who do provoke conflict make up only a tiny proportion of the football-loving fanatics who flock to international games each year. The vast majority of people fly out to big matches (often with their children), have an amazing experience, and come back with a hundred different stories to tell.
This handy guide to travelling to international games will help you to make sure that you are one of them – it might save you a bit of extra money for beer and souvenirs too!
Save money with budget airlines
If you are keen to get out there and attend the big matches, particularly during Euro 2016, but you do want to have to break the bank to get there, spend a little time comparing prices from the budget airlines. For example, Air France do some great deals – you can pick up cheap flights from Edinburgh to Paris or even find a flight from London to Johannesburg at bargain prices.
Pack light and travel lighter
The issue of whether or not it is better to travel in a group is a tricky one, because there are plenty of reasons why you might want to head to a match as part of a crowd. In the end, the choice is up to you, but it is worth keeping in mind the fact that you are much less likely to get into any kind of trouble as part of a smaller group. To save even more when you fly, pack light enough to fit everything that you need in a carry-on rucksack or holdall. That way, you do not have to pay any baggage fees and you can sail right through to customs.
Take care of your valuables
Needless to say, wherever you travel to, you need to keep an eye on your valuables. The large crowds associated with football matches, both inside and outside venues, attract thieves and pickpockets who are banking on football fans being too distracted to notice their wallets being lifted. If you must carry expensive mobile phones or a large amount of cash, keep them as close to your body as possible – the best place is in a front pocket with a zip or a button.
These days, planning a successful overseas trip to watch the football can feel less about itinerary and more about having to represent Britain in a positive way. While it is not really fair to stereotype all British football fans due to the actions of a minority, the good news is that there are plenty of amazing opportunities to buck the trend.