Competing and Traveling with Family

If there is one thing that has been key to my longevity in the sport, it’s having a supportive family. Training and racing takes up a lot of time and financial resources and you really do need full support to make sure harmony is maintained.

How to plan a race with a family.

Suggesting that a race week can also be a family holiday can go one of two ways, let’s discuss how you ensure it goes the way you want it to. When you race, you really want to focus on it, but focusing at the right time and not ignoring your family responsibilities in the build-up can be done if you work together.

Traveling to races can be pretty stressful even after all the training and when you add a couple of children, things can escalate and ultimately add to worries before race day. Let’s assume as parents you know your children well, entertaining 2 year olds on a 5+ hour flight/car journey is a wildly different proposition than a 12 year old. However, only you will know how you would handle this, distraction (games/iPads/drawing) and teaming up together on this is essential, your partner is not a crèche. Just because you are racing you can certainly manage to be in the moment until you have arrived at your destination.


Adding a bike and additional race kit to family allowance means there is a lot to lug into taxis and around airports. Using a travel company to ship your bike to your race destination can be a lifeline here, they will also take a bag, normally up to another 5kg for kit such as wetsuit and helmet as part of the deal. The cost may be more than the bike carriage but weigh this up.

  • You have more hands for children, luggage and essential teddy bears.
  • You don’t have to dismantle your bike pre and post-race. Before you leave, take to a drop off point and then as you come out of transition after your race you hand the bike off, fully assembled and wave goodbye until you get home. This means extending your holiday without worrying about a bike in the room or wasting a day packing it after the race.
  • You can pack lighter for shorter breaks, only taking hand luggage, travel plans don’t have to be based around your bike, for example, connecting flights can have reduced wait times as you don’t need to worry about bike box making it across a massive city airport, this can also reduce your costs.

Race Location

If this is a family holiday, this is not going to be your decision alone, a long time ago I decided it was much better to discuss a number of locations and let my partner choose the race. All you will be considering is the race elevation, swim location, aid stations and how much you can spend in the expo. Your partner is so much further outside the box on this one.

It could be based on a city/location you’ve wanted to visit or especially with kids ensuring the hotel you stay in has facilities such as a pool or even better, local to a beach and evening entertainment. Race day isn’t just a long day for you, it’s incredibly hard work for supporters being enthusiastic for hours on end. Having your accommodation close by means that during the event when you are on the bike for 5 hours+ or passing on the run once an hour, they have access to toilets, additional clothes, food and drink, suntan lotions and the inevitable recharging for phones and iPads.

Timing of the race

The timing of the actual race day in the weeks holiday is also crucial. To race guilt free you really shouldn’t be flying out at the start of race week and then return home the day after! You would just focus on the race the whole week and adding little or no support to your partner in the lead up.

Travelling as late as possible before the race means more family time afterwards. For a Sunday race you could go Thursday to Thursday. This is plenty of time to get familiar with the race location, soak in the expo atmosphere and ensure the bike is ready to roll. If you’ve used a bike shipping company, it will be picked up ready to ride, pretty simple. You can also negotiate time to prepare in the few days before, ride outs, runs, putting your feet up and tapering. Evenings are all in though, and then when the race is over, all of my attention returns back to ensuring we have an amazing holiday experience. And there is more days of holiday than there were in prep.

These are just a few of the many considerations traveling with family can throw at you, my family are my world and my world includes triathlon, if they don’t work together I wouldn’t enjoy racing as much.

In summary

These are just a few of the many considerations traveling with family can throw at you, my family are my world and my world includes triathlon, if they don’t work together I wouldn’t enjoy racing as much.

Nick Rose

Triathlon Coach.

  • 3 times IM World championships finisher 2009/2012/2018
  • 20 IM finishes including AG podium finishes at IMUK
  • First Brit home Norseman Xtreme Tri 2005Completed
  • 20 IM distance races. PB 9.22 at Barcelona.