Driving to Switzerland for BeachEuro2016
Sometimes you get the request (this time I was late to get on the ball) for a job on a short notice, so with flight prices through the roof, and weeks car parking at the airport going well into three figures. Some photographers would give up as there would be no profit, others would ask the client for four times as much as their normal rate - and some, just find the economical way to make a profit and keep prices normal for clients.
This is what happened to me, as I noticed less than two weeks before a tournament - that it was happening (yes, my fault and I should be better!). Few quick enquiries and clients were happy that someone was offering them images ... and so it was planning time.
Quick search came out with flights/car parking/rental car/hotel/etc - came up to close to £1500. But hey! the tournament is only in Switzerland, and I live in the UK - so what about driving?? I've driven further away for jobs....
So, Petrol/Road Tolls/EuroTunnel/Hotel ... and all of a sudden I was looking at the costs being near £550. This was much easier expense to cover with the payments from my clients - and I still would end up making a decent profit from the job. Although eating out in Switzerland isn't the cheapest for a week!
Departure from home, HR8 postcode, afternoon on Sunday - non-stop driving to Folkestone EuroTunnel .. quick bite of Moroccan Meatballs and into the train (delayed by an hour). Out of the train around midnight in Calais - non-stop for about 500km, with fresh air breaks as I had to jump out of the car to pay for the road tolls. Luckily this was night time and roads were empty... I do LOVE driving on the French roads, driving is so much quieter than the British rumbling roads.
Around 4.20am stopping at a service station (no two hour limits for parking here!) - plenty of other travellers taking a nap in their cars. So pull on the duvet and two hours of sleep. Good as new ... drive through some small French villages to the Swiss boarder. Boarder guards looking at me funnily with my bike packed into the car and explaining that I am off to Biel for Beach Volleyball. But in the end this stretched to a ten minute chat ... very quiet crossing this one, so I was the only one there.
Off the motorway in Switzerland and through some mountain roads... LOVELY SCENERY!!... and down to Biel. Two hours before check-in time to the Hotel. So taking advantage of this one and go for a little cycling around the lake. What a way to end the journey/start the day.
Is driving 700 miles a great way to go to every job?? Probably not, but for me - it beats the stress and hassle of flying. No worrying about the weight limits, connecting flights, what kind of rental car I get... Maybe I should move somewhere in southern Germany... would be pretty easy driving to most countries in Europe :-)
I do understand that as photographers we probably should always pass our expenses (whatever they may be) to our clients - but with the ever tightening budgets everywhere. I do not mind looking for ways to keep my clients happy.. and keep making a profit myself.
Now - looking forward to GREAT five days of covering BeachEuro2016 (European Championships in Beach Volleyball) here in Biel - and after today's first photo-session in the training... it's all looking good at the moment!!
Let the games begin!!
p.s Car is now parked at the garage of the hotel, while in Biel - I will move with the bicycle. Great way for an unfit photographer to try to keep himself in some sort of shape.