December 3, 2019
Four years on the road with Homefans | Why I created football trips for like-minded people
This blog is written by Luke Verbeek, founder of Homefans.
Today it’s been four years since Homefans came to mind. What started as a small trip to tick off some of the biggest derbies with friends and like-minded travelers, has grown larger than we ever could have imagined of and has now become a global community of friends and football fans who travel all around the world to experience football at its best and off the beaten path.
My football travel obsession
From a young age, I’ve always been used to traveling abroad to watch football. I live in the Netherlands, but have nothing with Dutch football, I visit a game every now and then, but I prefer to go abroad to explore authentic clubs and football cultures. I used to travel often with family or a friend if I was lucky if any of them had time. Some might say support your local club, but I always had a different interest and preferred to go abroad.
I had a big wish of completing my bucket list with the biggest derbies in football. Think of Celtic v Rangers, Boca Juniors v River Plate, Partizan v Red Star and the list goes on. However, all my friends were busy with school or work and most of the times getting a ticket was a nightmare plus not all of the destinations are safe to travel alone.
After chatting with more and more people, I started to realize there are more people who have a desire to see some incredible derbies and football clubs around the world. No matter what club they support or where they are from. Often, they ran into the same problems as I did, there’s nothing out there that provided the entire pack plus anyone to share this experience with. That’s why we started Homefans, to gather like-minded travelers who want to explore the biggest matches in football off the beaten path.
Four years later, It’s incredible to see how our friends and travelers fly in from all corners of the globe to experience the world of football with Homefans.
Wherever we decide to put up a Homefans trip, our amazing community and like-minded travelers show up and make each destination unique in its own way together with the locals who create amazing itineraries.
The first small group trip
Let’s start at the beginning. Back in 2016/2017, we set out with a trip to the Old Firm for a group of Dutch travelers who had the desire to experience the Old Firm rivalry between Celtic v Rangers live and then continued for another trip to the Stockholm derby and the incredible Belgrade derby together with our local host Ivan. I still get goosebumps from the first derby in Belgrade, one of the most intense travel experiences in my life together with 16 other football addicts. You can read one of the other traveler’s experiences here. Since then we’ve been launching more destinations and adding more and more friends into our network for every season.
The Origins of Homefans
From the early days, our mission has been very simple and still remains the same. Invite friends, new and old, for a football trip followed by great football experiences and have a good time together abroad. We provide all the ingredients for the trips but it’s really the people, our travelers, who create the magic. No matter if it’s a beer in a pub in the morning or at a football match, it’s who’s there who makes it unique and a weekend or time to remember.
Over the years we have become more and more ambitious in how we create this mindset for our football trips, to meet new people and to be able to experience football anywhere around the world. We now build trips for the most intense football derbies around the world. We work hard every day to make sure, we can provide the best trips possible and of course safety in all the destinations, we travel to
I’m obsessed with really getting under the skin of the football culture and destination I’m visiting. On top of it ticking of my personal bucket list and understanding the scope of the derby and what makes it special. This remains the core principle around every itinerary and tips we create.
All combined these activities create boutique football trips like no other. We want to do it all and we do it with the sole purpose of having as much fun as humanly possible on our trips around the world, guided by locals and together with other travelers. These are no random match breaks you can find anywhere else, these are trips that take you beyond the traditional routes.
You get back home after a weekend or a week trip, with sore legs and possibly a bit tired or a hangover, but for sure with a smile, amazing memories and new friends from all over the world. Friends you have shared some extraordinary moments with experienced a great football culture with and next time you go traveling you can be sure there’s always someone around to grab a drink with.
Since our first group trip in 2016, we’ve taken thousands of travelers all over the world in small group trips and have created a community of like-minded fans. The travelers are the reason every trip is an amazing memory. Fancy to see what it’s all about? Check out our trips here.
Written by Luke – Founder of Homefans