[TRAVEL/GAMING] The “THE INTERNATIONAL” Travel Guide

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TI5 is going to be upon us soon, and it’s never too soon to start planning a trip, because… cheaper air tickets!
I’ve been to all the TIs since 2012, and I’ve had quite a few people asking me about how much it would be and what to expect etc, so I thought I’d do up a post for people to refer to. I travel from Singapore to Seattle, and I prefer going by the Pacific Ocean route.

If you have any questions, or anything more that you’d like me to elaborate on, just comment and I’ll either reply, or add on in this post!

Expenses (At least SGD3,000, excluding food and expenses)
Air Tickets : SGD1,800 – 2,400
Accommodation : SGD800 for slightly more than a week
Local transport : Airport transfer – roughly USD 60 each way
Food : 20USD per meal
Admission : Estimate 200USD
Secret Shop stuff : up to you
Visa : SGD20

Air Tickets
I’ve travelled by Emirates, Delta and JAL. All of them have pros and cons.
I will personally try Asiana or Eva air next. I’m not keen on travelling in from Europe again though because that’s one big round.
I’d suggest that you get an international flight straight into (and out of) Seattle, rather than a flight into another USA airport followed by a domestic flight to Seattle, simply because I’ve had really bad experiences taking domestic flights. I had to wait 7 hours because my connecting domestic flight was cancelled, and on another trip, I had to wait overnight at another airport for my connecting flight after I was 10mins late for physical check in (I checked in online already ffs…)
I usually check out prices on skyscanner.com

Accommodation
I do recommend that you book really early, especially if you’re planning on getting a good location, or a popular hotel. August is the best part of summer in Seattle, and lots of people travel in during that period. If 2015 is going to be similar, the players stay at Bellevue for the group stages, and shift over to Seattle for the finals. If you’re only planning to go for the final event, then get a place in Seattle because travelling from Bellevue to Seattle is about 40mins each way. Bellevue is a really nice town though.
For TI4, I bunked in with 3 other people at an Airbnb apartment, and it cost us roughly 800 per person for more than a week.

Local Transport
Walking gets you almost everywhere in Seattle. I have walked from Key arena all the way to Pike Place, and back. In general, walking is friendly, the town is quite flat, weather is usually good during that period, save for some drizzles. The only transport you will have to budget for would be taxi to and from the airport.

Food
Food in Seattle is GOOD. Oysters are great and I like eating their French cuisine. There’s a great variety for you to choose from, but do make sure to keep some of your budget and appetite for the famous Pike’s Place Chowder.
If you’re on a budget, there’s always the supermarket where you can get instant noodles or if your apartment has a kitchennette, you can do some basic cooking.

Admission
I’d suggest that you put aside a little more budget for admission, because ticket sales go really fast, and if you miss the release timeslot, you might have to pay a little more to get them off the black market. There might be different tiers of tickets as well, but I think a ticket on the black market was going for around 250 last year.

Secret Shop Stuff
I have never spent a cent on purchasing physical Secret Shop items, but I do know of people who spent thousands and thousands buying stuff for resale and such. You CAN survive the trip without spending a single cent there, and without queueing a single minute. But, WILL YOU?

Visa
Singaporeans are exempt from this, but you will still need to apply for an ESTA, which is a travel authorisation. I normally do so at this link https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/ and it remains valid for 2 years.
Some other sites charge more, I’m not sure why. So I just stick to this one. Approval is more or less instant, and you don’t need it to buy your air tickets. So, you can delay application until the day before you fly or so. (If you’re worried, then just apply earlier. After experiencing the process once, you’ll be clearer the next time.)

Places to Visit
– Pike’s Place, especially on a weekend. Eat the food (the chowder!), check out the first ever Starbucks.
– Aquarium and seaside walk. If you have some extra time to kill.
– Macy’s, Nordstrom etcetc. Lots of US brands downtown.
– The nearest LAN shop is very far away, and it’s called Game Clucks that’s over at 3333 184th St SW, Suite D, Lynnwood, Washington 98037. Here’s their facebook page, in case you REALLY need to play. https://www.facebook.com/GameClucksLynnwood I’d suggest just bringing your own laptop and using a wifi connection somewhere.
– the Space Needle, which was made more famous by InFamous.

Climate, Clothes etc
I’m chilled easily, but Seattle in the summer has really nice weather. TI4 was in July, and it wasn’t at it’s peak yet, but since it will be in August this year, you probably won’t see anything but blue skies and hot sun everyday. You should pack some extra warmer stuff in case though!
On a good, sunny day, I can go out in shorts and a long sleeved shirt, and a light jacket/cardigan.
On a moderately cold day (cloudy, no rain, but not much sun either), I’d be in jeans, a camisole with a long sleeved shirt over, and I’ll carry a hoodie for good measure. If it’s raining and cold, I’ll add a pair of tights/leggings under my jeans, and take a thicker jacket with a scarf.

TI 2012

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TI 2013

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TI 2014

The stage booths are, if I’m not wrong, the same ones that they used in TI2 and TI3. So, no banana, but you can use the booths for scale!

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