‘Are you going to Daytona?’ - the airport check in staff member asks, who has just finished watching CHEER on Netflix.
I am not, but I am on my way to compete at one of the largest events in Europe which takes place in a theme park, with most of my best friends. To me, it’s as good as Daytona!
My international cheerleading career started in 2014 when I was offered a place on an All Girl Level 6 (now 7) team to compete at this same event. Since then, I have been lucky enough to compete across Europe on several occasions and at the prestigious Cheerleading World Championships in Orlando.
Whether you travel to an event by coach or plane, it’s all part of the adventure. Going away with your friends, the buzz of what to expect at the competition, which teams and levels will be there, what the arena will be like… travelling together is part of the excitement! Over the years I have enjoyed this part as much as the events - wearing matching jackets through an airport, posing for a team picture with our flag, putting up a quick stunt for a photo. It’s all part of the experience and something that I cannot wait to get back to next season!
Over my competitive years, I followed many high-profile international teams on social media (Top Gun, World Cup, Viqueens, Paris Cheer - to name a few!) and seeing these teams compete in person - and on the same floor as me! - has been surreal. My favourite international competition memory is from supporting Team England at ICU Worlds in 2016 when they received their first bronze medal. As a group of supporters, we took up a good portion of the arena and the atmosphere was just incredible, I have never felt anything quite like it. At that moment, it didn’t matter which individual team you came from in the UK, we were all there together to support our Kings and Queens and make history.
Following the Coronavirus pandemic, we can expect to see the world start to reopen over the coming months. If the last year has taught us anything, it is the importance of booking travel with financial package protection and a trusted travel advisor. We know that travel will look a little different post-pandemic and we will be here every step of the way to advise on any Covid procedures that are announced over the coming months. What is for certain, is that the UK cheerleading community is desperate to get back to training and working towards international events. We have already booked over 60 villas for Worlds and Summit 2022 already and can’t WAIT to be welcoming teams at Orlando International Airport arrivals! European events are looking just as popular and we are working closely with many large hotel chains to secure group room allocations. If you have any questions regarding team travel, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Competing internationally is an incredible opportunity that I thoroughly encourage every athlete, coach and parent to embrace. Not only have I represented the UK on several occasions, but it has taught me many fantastic life lessons which have helped shape me into the adult that I am today. It helped with my confidence, instilled independence, and made my cheerleading world grow a bit bigger. Steph runs the specialist cheer travel company, CheerTravelUK. You can find out all about what she does by heading to www.cheertraveluk.com or find them on Instagram or Facebook