Headed Nationals.... needs some travel tips

djkahn86

Rookie
Headed to Nationals this year in Vegas and I am looking for any travel tips.
-How to pack my gear
carry on vs checked bags.
hotels
practice courts
etc......

Thanks for any advice you can give a newbie.
 

Ronaldo

Bionic Poster
Certainly shipping your sticks with Brown to a UPS Store must be the safest way to go. What could go wrong?
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
I live in Vegas and Darling Tennis Center is my home club .... so I can give you some Vegas specific things .... I also travel with my frames and gear so will put in my thoughts.

Travel: Racquet bag as carry on. Have your shoes and all essentials in it. If your checked bags are lost you can always buy new clothing .... but a new pair of unbroken in shoes would be awful (or your sticks). I cannot stress this enough ... DO NOT CHECK YOUR Racquets!

Hotels:
Vegas is easy for hotels .... the nearest hotel to the club is either the Marriott Rampart or the Suncoast. Both are less than a 2 mile Uber .... Suncoast is very reasonably priced Marriott less so
If you want to really save some money ... book one of the Station Casino hotels (either the Red Rock or the Santa Fe are close enough .... at the Santa Fe you can get a room for under $50 a night)

Stay on the strip? Up to you .... if you want a little more party atmosphere it is certainly all there. Expect that the drive to the courts will be a minimum of 30 minutes and if taking Uber/Lyft will be a little spendy.

Don't bother trying to get an AirBNB .... they have nearly been banned by city ordinance in all of Las Vegas

Practice courts are not easy ... at the center there will be no practice courts available ... the options are a very nearby park which would be available Thursday or Friday but will be used for league matches on Saturday.

There are other park facilities (free) on a FCFS basis .... figure add 10-15 minute drive to any of them All-American tennis club is about a 10 minute drive and you can reserve courts there (but probably not on Saturday because of league)

Be prepared for the desert. Chapstick ... you have to have it. Be prepared to drink 2X the liquid that you normally do if you are from a humid place (or a normal place) You probably don't realize what 6% humidity really is

Along with that really dry air, we are also at elevation BUT we don't use high elevation balls. So, BALLS WILL FLY!
Consider bringing a few different frames ... something at your normal tension and at least one that is 5# higher tension. The site has great stringers (4 of them) and can do a really fast turn around on a stick but always nice to bring one already done. Your first few times hitting will be a little weird until you get the timing down with the thin air and with the elevation.

That's all I can think of right now.

Congratulations and hope you have fun in October!
 

mikeler

Moderator
I bought a tennis backpack just for traveling to put my rackets in so I don't have to check them. I like the idea above from @OnTheLine for bringing an extra pair of shoes. It might be a good idea to wear tennis shoes on the flight too so you have 2 pairs.
 

djkahn86

Rookie
thank you. I have a tennis backpack but usually travel with 4-6 sticks. I have my own stringer so I will string them higher before I go. 5lbs is alot. So if I do 55# normally, then do 60#. I'm trusting you here.
How big of a bag will they let me bring on the plane for a tennis bag carry on. are they going to allow a 12 racket carry on. I have a smaller 6 pack that I can squeeze them in and then check the other in some luggage empty?
 

McLovin

Legend
Here’s my only tip: be nice to the USTA staff working the event. You never know who’s daughter you might be talking to ;)
 

Nostradamus

Bionic Poster
Certainly shipping your sticks with Brown to a UPS Store must be the safest way to go. What could go wrong?
LMAO... things that can go wrong.............1. Brown will throw it around like it is bag of potato chips, 2. entire racket bag and rackets can get Lost, 3. it could get shipped to wrong address and never be found again.
 

Nostradamus

Bionic Poster
I live in Vegas and Darling Tennis Center is my home club .... so I can give you some Vegas specific things .... I also travel with my frames and gear so will put in my thoughts.

Travel: Racquet bag as carry on. Have your shoes and all essentials in it. If your checked bags are lost you can always buy new clothing .... but a new pair of unbroken in shoes would be awful (or your sticks). I cannot stress this enough ... DO NOT CHECK YOUR Racquets!

Hotels:
Vegas is easy for hotels .... the nearest hotel to the club is either the Marriott Rampart or the Suncoast. Both are less than a 2 mile Uber .... Suncoast is very reasonably priced Marriott less so
If you want to really save some money ... book one of the Station Casino hotels (either the Red Rock or the Santa Fe are close enough .... at the Santa Fe you can get a room for under $50 a night)

Stay on the strip? Up to you .... if you want a little more party atmosphere it is certainly all there. Expect that the drive to the courts will be a minimum of 30 minutes and if taking Uber/Lyft will be a little spendy.

Don't bother trying to get an AirBNB .... they have nearly been banned by city ordinance in all of Las Vegas

Practice courts are not easy ... at the center there will be no practice courts available ... the options are a very nearby park which would be available Thursday or Friday but will be used for league matches on Saturday.

There are other park facilities (free) on a FCFS basis .... figure add 10-15 minute drive to any of them All-American tennis club is about a 10 minute drive and you can reserve courts there (but probably not on Saturday because of league)

Be prepared for the desert. Chapstick ... you have to have it. Be prepared to drink 2X the liquid that you normally do if you are from a humid place (or a normal place) You probably don't realize what 6% humidity really is

Along with that really dry air, we are also at elevation BUT we don't use high elevation balls. So, BALLS WILL FLY!
Consider bringing a few different frames ... something at your normal tension and at least one that is 5# higher tension. The site has great stringers (4 of them) and can do a really fast turn around on a stick but always nice to bring one already done. Your first few times hitting will be a little weird until you get the timing down with the thin air and with the elevation.

That's all I can think of right now.

Congratulations and hope you have fun in October!
send some of those hot vegas girls to opponent's hotel rooms and make them stay awake all night... they will be easy to beat
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
thank you. I have a tennis backpack but usually travel with 4-6 sticks. I have my own stringer so I will string them higher before I go. 5lbs is alot. So if I do 55# normally, then do 60#. I'm trusting you here.
How big of a bag will they let me bring on the plane for a tennis bag carry on. are they going to allow a 12 racket carry on. I have a smaller 6 pack that I can squeeze them in and then check the other in some luggage empty?
If you are already stringing at 55# that is already high for many people, and may be a little much to go to 60 .... If you are traveling with 6 sticks, I would do half at your normal tension and the rest at perhaps 57-58.

What I notice is that everyone who comes to Vegas and begins hitting has a lot of problems finding the court on their groundstrokes and problems keeping it in the complex on lobs. They also find that they love what happens to their serve here. You may adjust very quickly, but you may not. Thus the recommendation on the higher tension.
If you have the options in your bag with you, it may help you adjust much more quickly.

Depending on how you adjust you may want to start at the higher tension frames and may go back to your usual tension once you have adapted to the conditions.

You likely will not go through all your frames with broken strings and such over only 3 days of play .... last thing you would want to do is have to re string all your frames when you get back.

I would be surprised if a 12 racquet bag would be allowed for carry-on. Think overhead compartment or under the seat in front of you. For certain your backpack will fit ... the 6 pack might fit ... as long as you have 2-3 frames and your match shoes with you then whatever is checked will not be the end of the world if they get lost.

As a club member I do have some requests .....
If driving to the center .... don't park like a jerk ... use only one space.
There are trash cans ... use them. I was shocked last year at the amount of trash players at Nationals left everywhere
If you go to Angel park (or another park) and see people playing ... don't interrupt their match asking how long we will be on as you want to practice for Nationals .... we are playing our league match and that is rude.

Hit me up with any other Vegas type questions ....
 

darkhorse

Semi-Pro
Tag since I'm going to AZ for nationals.

Also re: carry-on racquets, are are recommending this because of cost or because you're afraid they'll be misplaced? I ask because I booked a flight on Southwest which gets you two checked bags for free.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
Tag since I'm going to AZ for nationals.

Also re: carry-on racquets, are are recommending this because of cost or because you're afraid they'll be misplaced? I ask because I booked a flight on Southwest which gets you two checked bags for free.
Not a cost consideration .... a damage or a lost/delayed consideration. I would want my racquets and my shoes no matter what.
 
ALWAYS carry-on your tennis essentials with you--two sticks, shoes, shorts. Haven't flown in ages, you can get anywhere in this country in a couple of days, and arrive with improved sanity, then today's air-travel experience. Never had a problem carrying-on a "normal" size bag--don't know about today's 12 packs big enough for companions.

TW makes a minimalist bag for $10 that will hold the essentials and three sticks--it's my go-to bag for rec play--fit's into the trunk of a Lotus easily :
 
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sureshs

Bionic Poster
Remember air is thinner in Vegas and balls fly. I have served only about 3 aces in my life, and one was in the Flamingo courts. Needs some adjustment.
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
Don't bother trying to get an AirBNB .... they have nearly been banned by city ordinance in all of Las Vegas
The hotel industry must be very powerful in Vegas. I read that short term rentals in Vegas have been restricted to homes where the owner also resides.
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
ALWAYS carry-on your tennis essentials with you--two sticks, shoes, shorts. Haven't flown in ages, you can get anywhere in this country in a couple of days, and arrive with improved sanity, then today's air-travel experience. Never had a problem carrying-on a "normal" size bag--don't know about today's 12 packs big enough for companions.

TW makes a minimalist bag for $10 that will hold the essentials and three sticks--it's my go-to bag for rec play--fit's into the trunk of a Lotus easily :

 

leech

Rookie
Definitely agree with carrying-on sticks and shoes. My checked-in bags did not make it with us to Orlando for MXD Nationals last November. I was smart enough to carry on my racquets and shoes/socks, but dumb enough not to pack shorts in that carry-on bag. $60 later, I was able to snag a pair of spiffy shorts from the USTA National Campus to play my match.
 

darkhorse

Semi-Pro
Not a cost consideration .... a damage or a lost/delayed consideration. I would want my racquets and my shoes no matter what.
I guess that makes sense, I just assumed I was resigned to checking them because of size requirements. Southwest is a little unclear, they say it's recommended to carry-on racquets but only allow bags 22 inches long. I have the Technifibre Rackpack Pro but it looks like maybe if I don't pack it super full I can get away with it. I will buy priority boarding so I'm thinking I should be good. I have a backpack I can use if need be.
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
I will be working on an exciting new foldable racket technology. It seems to be in demand based on the posts in this thread.
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
If you go to Angel park (or another park) and see people playing ... don't interrupt their match asking how long we will be on as you want to practice for Nationals .... we are playing our league match and that is rude.
Is that a non-reservable public court? If so, playing league matches which take more than 1 hour is rude.

As it is, in my club, we have pissed off members who make reservations and then find that a league match is spilling over. The club had to re-iterate the rule that league matches are allowed to finish.

That certainly does not apply to public courts. Players should be honor-bound by time limits and be prepared to leave if they have been around for an hour and someone shows up. League matches mean nothing to waiting people.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
Is that a non-reservable public court? If so, playing league matches which take more than 1 hour is rude.

As it is, in my club, we have pissed off members who make reservations and then find that a league match is spilling over. The club had to re-iterate the rule that league matches are allowed to finish.

That certainly does not apply to public courts. Players should be honor-bound by time limits and be prepared to leave if they have been around for an hour and someone shows up. League matches mean nothing to waiting people.
That particular park is odd. The courts are controlled and maintained by the tennis center and they are allowed to reserve it for league matches, about 3 minutes from the center .... last year played league matches there during Nationals ... signs posted (with the permit) all over the fences and yet still multiple groups of Nats players (4.5 men) kept coming up and asking those of us playing when we would get off. Wanted to stab them.

The standard sign for that park is that players without a reservation can use the court for 90 minutes, not 1 hour.
 

ShaunS

Semi-Pro
I live in Vegas and Darling Tennis Center is my home club
@djkahn86, if @OnTheLine was a real friend they'd let the whole team stay at their house. Just saying. :sneaky:

My checked-in bags did not make it with us to Orlando for MXD Nationals last November. I was smart enough to carry on my racquets and shoes/socks, but dumb enough not to pack shorts in that carry-on bag.
I've flown enough that I take nothing for granted. I'd also be carrying on my favorite "outfit" for a match including shoes, so I know I'm ready to go with that.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
@djkahn86, if @OnTheLine was a real friend they'd let the whole team stay at their house. Just saying. :sneaky:


I've flown enough that I take nothing for granted. I'd also be carrying on my favorite "outfit" for a match including shoes, so I know I'm ready to go with that.
And cook for them .... I make a mean lasagne .... but bring your own beer.
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
That particular park is odd. The courts are controlled and maintained by the tennis center and they are allowed to reserve it for league matches, about 3 minutes from the center .... last year played league matches there during Nationals ... signs posted (with the permit) all over the fences and yet still multiple groups of Nats players (4.5 men) kept coming up and asking those of us playing when we would get off. Wanted to stab them.

The standard sign for that park is that players without a reservation can use the court for 90 minutes, not 1 hour.
Were they told by the tournament to warm-up at those courts? It happened in my club once when the office told visiting players that they could warm-up on any empty courts, and shortly after, the members who had made reservations arrived, and both sides were upset.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
Were they told by the tournament to warm-up at those courts? It happened in my club once when the office told visiting players that they could warm-up on any empty courts, and shortly after, the members who had made reservations arrived, and both sides were upset.
I doubt it ... signs at the center noted that the park was being used for league play and not available .... if someone would have searched for courts those were the closest to the site. They were just jerks who couldn't read or chose not to.
 

EP1998

Semi-Pro
IMO I would take two frames, maybe three if you are a string breaker or use gut or something. I use full poly and only take two. I used to take three but it is so much easier to not drag around a lot of stuff and if there is a stringer onsite I don't worry about it. I string my own also and do a fresh job before i leave. The backpack is a good suggestion, you can fit two frames, carry a laptop etc.

I have boarded with a 12 pack but if you do this make sure your under the seat item is small and actually fits under the seat.
 

brettatk

Semi-Pro
Do they really allow a tennis bag as a carry on? I'm almost certain my tennis bag is taller than my normal carry on suitcase and it's on the bigger size for carry ons. Or are people using the backpack style racket bags instead of a racket shaped bag?
 

ChaelAZ

Legend
Bumping this up as 3.5 Nationals are about a week away. I know there are some AZ people around, any "must-dos" while I'm there? I think we're staying in the Scottsdale area
I play out of Surprise AZ so will be around. Courts are very nice and mid grit so medium speed with decent bounce overall. If you are in Scottsdale you have a good hour drive, depending on traffic so leave with enough time.

For things to do around Scottsdale I like the Wild West Museum, Frank Llyod Wright Taliesan (sp?), Keirland area is great for shopping and walking about, as well as the old downtown Scottsdale with tons of great boutique shops, Talking Stick Casino is close and usually has good performers, Phoenix Zoo is good, and tons of hiking trails around.

Scottsdale is the trendy/spendy part of time so you have access to some of the best restraunts. Some of my faves downtown are:
  • Roaring Fork
  • Mastro's City Hall
  • Grimaldi's
  • Rehab Burger
  • Los Olivos

If you are North Scottsdale:
  • Mastro's Ocean Club
  • True Food
  • La Hacienda
  • Four Peaks Grill and Taproom
And boatloads of other places depending on how much you wanna spend.

Anyway, PM me. I got ya covered.
 

darkhorse

Semi-Pro
Good info, thanks! All I'll say is that I was not responsible for booking the accommodations, I looked it up and it seemed like quite a drive.
 

darkhorse

Semi-Pro
Do they really allow a tennis bag as a carry on? I'm almost certain my tennis bag is taller than my normal carry on suitcase and it's on the bigger size for carry ons. Or are people using the backpack style racket bags instead of a racket shaped bag?
Also on this, I called my airline and they said a backpack would be fine, but the dimensions of your bag can't be more than 50 inches added together (so L+W+H =<50), but the actual number depend on your airline. I have the Technifibre rackpack which is less than 50 inches so I'm thinking it will be fine. It will depend heavily on the people at the counter and at the gate, I added preferred boarding so I don't expect many issues.
 

brettatk

Semi-Pro
Also on this, I called my airline and they said a backpack would be fine, but the dimensions of your bag can't be more than 50 inches added together (so L+W+H =<50), but the actual number depend on your airline. I have the Technifibre rackpack which is less than 50 inches so I'm thinking it will be fine. It will depend heavily on the people at the counter and at the gate, I added preferred boarding so I don't expect many issues.
Yeah, I think about 90% of the bags carried on wouldn't fit into what they suggest but it's not enforced that much. I do have a feeling if I brought my 6 pack Babolat bag it would get turned down and I'd have to check it. I guess if I ever do have to fly with my sticks I'll be getting some sort of backpack style bag just to be safe.
 

eshin

New User
Can we get some travel tips and ideas on what to expect regarding playing conditions for first-timers traveling to Nationals in Orlando? Much appreciated!
 

Idrayer

New User
Yeah, I think about 90% of the bags carried on wouldn't fit into what they suggest but it's not enforced that much. I do have a feeling if I brought my 6 pack Babolat bag it would get turned down and I'd have to check it. I guess if I ever do have to fly with my sticks I'll be getting some sort of backpack style bag just to be safe.
I would regularly carry on my 6-pack Babolat and it was pretty much the limit, but I never had any problems with carrying it on. If you have any problems, let the airline people know that the lower air pressure and temperatures in the checked baggage part of the plane can mess with the strings; they probably won't care but it's worth a shot at that point.
 

tpro2000

Rookie
Both times I went to Nationals (Indian Wells, Orlando), I always used a backpack racquet bag (putting my racquets in plastic bags) and put it in the overhead bin without problem.

But I did see basically everyone else have fullsize 9-12 racquet bags and carry them on without issue. So maybe it depends on airline?
 

Jack the Hack

Hall of Fame
I went to Nationals in Vegas last year, and stayed 10 days (for my 4.5+ and my sister's 4.0 team the following weekend). On the plane (Southwest Airlines), I carried on three freshly strung and regripped racquets in a 12 pack Babolat bag, with the bag mostly empty except a couple shirts, backup tennis shoes, some shorts, and assorted accessories like hats and sweatbands. I didn't have the racquet bag stuffed - it's only about half full, and I squished it down and wore it like a backpack. It fit easily in the overhead bin. (To note, I've flown to at least 3 other tournaments around the country, carrying on my racquets in the same size bag this way. I would NEVER check my racquets in... but I also don't sport around more than 3 frames when I'm flying somewhere.)

My wife and daughter came with me and we rented a 2 bedroom/2 bathroom condo in a gated community with several pools and it's own private tennis courts near Summerlin for around $85 per night off of VRBO.com. It was less than a 5 mile drive to Darling Tennis Center, which is home court central for the Nationals tournament. Staying there also meant that we avoided a lot of the traffic that occurs between Darling and the LV Strip. Two of my teammates stayed there, and reported that their drives back and forth from Darling to the Strip took upwards of 45 minutes or more. My commute was about 10 minutes max, so I recommend staying on the west side outskirts. Both my sister's team and some of my other teammates rented massive mansions in the area, equipped with their own pools and tennis courts. Those were spendy, but not bad if shared by 10+ paying people. And because we had access to our own private courts, we were NOT the offensive 4.5+ men's team that was trying to run @OnTheLine off of her League courts! :giggle:

Overall, we had a great time. I loved playing at Darling and the Red Rocks Country Club. Beautiful facilities. We also caught a couple shows at the Strip and at Fremont Street, and did a hike in Red Rocks park. The only thing I regret is that there was an ATP Challenger event happening at the same time we were there, but we missed it because there was no advertising about it with the USTA. Kokkinakis won it, and I would have loved to taken a day to go see those matches, which might coincide again this year for some levels.

Aside from that, @OnTheLine lives there, so I defer to anything else she (or the others) have already posted about Vegas.

On a final note, in an absolute miracle, the 4.5+ team that I joined this season also made it to Nationals... so I'm going in back-to-back years! That event is in Orlando. I've played tournaments in Florida before, so I think I know what to expect. Almost my entire team is going, and we're all staying in a massive 15 bedroom rental house not far from the USTA National Training Center. I can't wait!!! But again, if anybody has any particular Orlando tips, I'll listen. (y)
 
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