FOOTBALL... Or as some people like to call it Soccer, has an amazing thrill even in its word. No doubt it is the most popular sport around the world. So, what’s the other thing that can make you instantly happy and thrilled?
For people whose main source of happiness is travelling, getting a chance to explore the world can be the most pleasurable activities in for them.
Now combine these footballs and travelling, and boom!!! The by-product of these two will transpire to be the most cherished experiences. However, the enormity of the adventure, often might bog you down with its risks, unpredictability, time involved, expenses and what-not. We were too. But once we overcame the initial fears, the excitement took over and changed our lives forever.
We are from the football-crazy city of Kolkata (India), trying our best to capture our experience of travelling the world to watch the biggest tournaments of World Football from the stands, meeting all kinds of Football Fans from around the World, exploring the local cuisines & culture and experiencing the World’s Best Football Players fighting it out on the pitch. All of this and more on a shoestring budget.
It’s a promise, that, at Football Travellers, we will provide you a blueprint so that you can fulfill your dream of travelling to the FIFA World Cup.
Overall we aim to provide all the information you need to start planning your own football travel. We hope that someday, down the line we will cross our paths in some stadium cheering together!
Okay so let’s get started. Here we will provide you with the blueprint of how you can fulfill your dream of travelling to the FIFA World Cup. Let’s consider it as a project. If you consider so, it is easier to keep track of the progress and you are more likely to fulfill it.
So those of you, who are from a management background, already know this. But for others, usually, a project life cycle has 5 phases. Initiation, Planning, Execution, Performance Monitoring, Project Closure.
Just like a project life cycle, we will give a proper structure to the overall trip to FIFA World Cup matches on a very small budget. Let’s give this project a name. I am keeping this simple. “Project 2022”
A life cycle of a project has 5 components. They are Initiation, Planning, Execution, Monitoring, Closure.
The initiation phase of a project has three main components namely – Developing a Business Case, Identifying Scope and Identifying Project Stakeholders. Since you already landed in this page through a google search it is safe to assume that you are already in the initiation page.
- Inspiration – Developing a Business Case
During the 2014 Football World Cup, while watching on TV the electric thrilling the, made Arindam wonder how thrilling it would have been to be actually present in the stadiums. It made him think that how wonderful it would be to sink the atmosphere, mingling with football lovers all around the world and watching the best football players of the globe doing what they do best in the field. But a thought rushed through his mind. How can a middle-class boy with a mediocre job afford to watch the biggest tournament in the world out there from the stands? That thought brought an abrupt end to his momentary excitement.
Then, a few days after the World Cup, Arindam was watching a reality TV Quiz show named “DADAGIRI” in Bengali, hosted by our own DADA (former Indian cricket captain Sourav Ganguly), where an elderly couple had come to participate. This couple (they were more than 60 years together) had just come back from Brazil, after watching the legendary thrashing of the home team (7-1) in the hands of the eventual world champions Germany in the semi-final. This had been their 9th World Cup together watching from the stands. Arindam was awed. They were not millionaires! Just the dream had taken them that far despite all the hardships they had to endure, being from a middle-class background. Arindam too started dreaming!
- Feasibility – Identify Scope
At this point, you will have to do some research to identify the scope and the feasibility. For example, what are matches you want to see (for us, initially it was Final, and two Semi-Finals), the distance between match venues etc? One of the prime factors for us was to complete the journey in as little money as possible. So, we researched what are the cheap options to fly to Russia, cheap accommodations, cheap intercity transports, visa and so on.
- Bring in your fellow travellers – Identifying Project Stake Holders
Once you are done with your initial bit of research, it is the best time to intrigue some of your friends. People who you know will want to travel. It is best if you do some research before approaching your friends so that you can show them how it is possible and what could be approximate cost. Solo travellers go ahead to the next steps. But there are advantages of travelling in a group. It can significantly reduce the money you spend on food and accommodation.
Now that you have a team, let’s get down to business. You will now need to get down to the nitty-gritty of the trip. The major components of the planning stage in projects life cycle are creating a workflow, gathering resources and estimating budget.
At this point, you want to make a detailed budget. This will give you an estimated cost for the trip. Accordingly, you will have to start saving money. Depending on your source type of income and the time left for the tournament, you will have to choose the right vehicle to invest.
The most important pre-requisite of budgeting is to identify the match you want to see. Usually, all major tournaments will allow you to book tickets following a single team until the end of the tournament. You will be charged for all the matches till final and if the team that you are following is eliminated, you will be given an option to get a refund of your money for rest of the matches. The other option is to buy tickets for specific matches. Depending on the matches you will choose and the seat category, prices will vary.
- Creating a Workflow
This is very important!!! During our initial stage of planning, we were a bit confused on what steps to execute and in what order. We thought of buying flight tickets first as it was very cheap 12-10 months before the tournament. But soon we realised that it is not feasible because we were not sure whether we will get match tickets at all. So, the final workflow which we followed was. Buy Match Tickets – Buy Flight Tickets – Apply for FAN ID (Visa free entry was allowed with FAN ID) – Book accommodation – Book Intercity Free Train Tickets – Book intercity Flight Tickets.
You have prepared the budget and saved up the money. Now that you also have created a workflow, is the time to execute.
- Briefing team members
It is very important to share responsibilities while you are preparing for the trip. No one in your team should feel that they are overburdened by the work that is involved. So, assign tasks to each member and take updates from each other on a weekly basis. Tasks could be such as Buying match tickets, Flight tickets, Booking accommodations and so on.
- Match Tickets
This is the most important part of your execution component. Usually, there are multiple phases of ticket sales. During the 1st round, in most cases, the group will not be announced. Therefore, booking group matches will not be an option at that time. In this round, you should try and aim for knockout matches. If you are lucky enough to get tickets in the lottery round, good for you. Otherwise, you will have to buy tickets during the first come first serve basis. Check out our article for details of buying a FIFA World Cup Tickets Here.
- Flight Tickets
When you are travelling abroad, flight tickets are among the major cost of your trip. Qatar is not far from India where the next world cup is. So, you will be able you save some money there as we saved for Russia in 2018. Again 2026 World Cup is hosted by three countries USA, Mexico and Canada so flight tickets will cost you more. There are numerous websites where you can research the cost of tickets. Read this article to book the cheapest tickets
- Travel Dairies
This is documenting your trip. Take photographs, selfies, and videos of your trip. You never know you yourself will end up starting your own YouTube channel or blog. If you don’t do any of the above, you will at least have your digital travel diaries. You can share it with your friends and family and someday with your grandchildren. Check out our videos here and the travel dairy blogs here.
When you are travelling abroad, buying foreign currency can be daunting to some of you. All you need to do is a little bit of research. Check out this post where we have discussed about carrying roubles to Russia. Many of the tips are specific to Russia but you will get a fair idea on how to go about this.
So, your project is being executed and you are happy. You have reached your footballing destination and your dreams are being fulfilled. This is the stage where you will have to monitor the performance of your project. There are two main components firstly, monitoring the quality and secondly managing the budget.
Yes, we all love food. Bengalis and foodies are almost synonymous. Where ever we travel, we like to try out local cuisines and new food available. What we sometimes tend to forget is that eating every meal of your trip from a store or restaurant is very harmful to your tummy and your pocket. Thus, compromising the “quality” of project and budget.
Staying healthy during your trip is very important. We tend to eat a lot of junk food while we are on the go. We do not get enough time to work out and take care of our health. People who are allergic to a certain food should be careful while choosing your food. Read this article on staying healthy while travelling. Buying an insurance is a must but we hope you will not have to use it.
As budget travellers, we tend to spend very little on accommodations. We try to make the most out of the small budget. We mostly stay in hostels and apartments. Some amenities like washing machine, Kitchen and lockers are very important to us. Read this article on where we share our tips on booking the best and cheapest accommodation.
Now you have got the tips and tricks to save money on food accommodation. It is very important to keep a track of your spending. Try to stick to your budget.
Check the other ways you can save money while you are travelling here.
This is probably one of the most important parts when travelling. Keep your travel documents safe. These include your passport, copy of Visa (if not pasted on your passport), any immigration forms that you will have to produce while leaving the country. Keep your match tickets safe. Even after the match is over. We were asked to produce match tickets by the local police while leaving Kaliningrad. They wanted to verify we had visited the city for the match and not for anything else. Also, sometimes you are eligible for free rides and other freebies if you have match tickets. So, keep them safe.
In practice, a report is generated by the project manager on the closure of a project. He/she accounts what are the goals achieved, analyses results, unused budget etc. For us, the project closure will comprise of something a bit different though.
You will want to collect some souvenirs. If not for yourself, maybe your loved ones. For us, the souvenirs were the match tickets and FAN ID. That is probably the best souvenirs we could get for ourselves. Though we were gifted souvenirs by friends we made in Russia during our trip.
- Unused Budget
If you have any unused money from your budget, take an account of it. You can use it for travelling elsewhere or do bit more shopping. If you have gone over budget. Try to analyse why? Where have you spend more than expected. This will help you in future planning.
- Learnings and Inspiration for next trip
You are sure to learn many things during your trip. Some from your mistakes or from your experience, which can be applied during your next trip. After you have visited Qatar for 2022 FIFA World Cup, we are sure you will start planning for 2026.
That is all from our end. Hope we were able to inspire you and provide you the right information so that you can get started right away. If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to reach out. We will try our best to answer and help you and will not charge you any money for that. Recourses in this website is free and will always remain free.