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One of the best ways to combine your love of sports and travel is by taking a sports-centered road trip. Seeing your favorite team play an away game is always exciting! Plus, it can be a lot of fun to check out games at other venues. To make your trip planning easy, use these handy tips to plan the best sports road trip for your family!
- Tip #1: Pick your game first.
- Tip #2: Look at holiday weekends.
- Tip #3: Check your driving distance.
- Tip #4: Stay close to the stadium.
- Tip #5: Get your tickets in advance.
- Tip #6: Squeeze in some sightseeing.
- Tip #7: Read the bag policy.
- Tip #8: Check the weather.
- Tip #9: Get to the game early.
- Tip #10: Consider seeing multiple games.
Tip #1: Pick your game first.
The first step in planning a sports road trip is to pick out which game you will attend. This, obviously, will determine when and where you will go.
If you are wanting to go watch your favorite team on the road, look at their schedule to find a game that fits your schedule and is within driving distance.
If, on the other hand, you are looking to go to a particular stadium, then check out the home team’s schedule to find a game that interests you and will work with your schedule.
Lastly, if you are just want to go see a particular sport, then you have more options. In this case, determine how far you want to drive. Look at all the possible venues that are within that area. Check out the schedules to find a game that appeals to you.
Unless you are set on going to a professional game, don’t forget to look at the various college games that are in your area. These can be some of the most fun and family friendly games to attend. And, they are usually cheaper than going to a pro game!
You can find most schedules at ESPN’s website.
Tip #2: Look at holiday weekends.
When you are looking for a game to attend, take a look at any holiday or long weekends you have available. These are usually great times to travel for sports because you automatically have extra time for your trip.
We love traveling during Labor Day weekend to go watch college football games. Thanksgiving week is another great time to do a sports road trip for us.
If you are wanting to see college football, consider going to a bowl game around New Years! This is an excellent way to start off the new year right!
Tip #3: Check your driving distance.
Once you have picked out a game to attend (or while in the process of doing it), be sure to check the driving distance.
The last thing you want to do is plan a trip to see a game that is too far to drive to in the amount of time you have available.
Check not only the total drive time, but also make sure you have time to get there before the game starts.
Because my husband is a teacher, we can’t leave town most weekends until after school on Fridays. This makes some sports road trips impossible for us because we don’t have enough time between the end of the school day and the start time of the game.
And don’t forget to calculate time for pitstops along the way! A ten hour drive according to the GPS will actually take you closer to twelve hours with stops.
Remember to give yourself time to rest too! I can tell you from experience, there is nothing worse than planning a road trip with such a tight schedule that you don’t have enough time for sleep!
Tip #4: Stay close to the stadium.
To get the most fun out of your sport road trip, plan to stay as close to the stadium as possible. This will allow you to soak up more of the atmosphere while reducing your stress about parking and traffic getting to and from the game.
And, if you are able to stay close enough to walk to the game, you can even save yourself some money on parking at the stadium!
When my son was about 5, we went to the Big 12 baseball tournament in Oklahoma City. We stayed in a hotel just outside the stadium. It was amazing. We were able to walk to the games and didn’t have to worry about parking.
Plus, when a night game ran late due to a rain delay, I was able to take my son back to the hotel while my husband stayed and watched the end of the game.
Tip #5: Get your tickets in advance.
My next tip for making your sports road trip easy is to buy your tickets in advance. This will ensure you get them and will lock in your trip. Plus, having your tickets before you leave home takes away some of the stress, at least it does for me.
It will also save you some time once you arrive at the game by letting you skip the ticket window. Sometimes, there can be long lines at these windows right before game time. And who wants to spend their vacation standing in line to buy tickets!
Tip #6: Squeeze in some sightseeing.
It’s not always easy (or even possible) to go sightseeing on sports road trips. This is especially true during weekend trips. But, I highly recommend trying to squeeze in some sightseeing, if you can.
Now, you won’t be able to explore an entire city or even do a lot of stuff when you are traveling for games. But, doing one touristy-type activity can greatly enhance your trip.
Many times, sports travel will take you to locations that you otherwise wouldn’t think of visiting. So, it’s a great opportunity to experience some unexpected things.
You may be surprised just how much you enjoy a certain destination. And you may find a place that you want to go back and explore further.
Doing some sightseeing also gives your family a little break from all the sports stuff.
Tip #7: Read the bag policy.
Nowadays, every stadium seems to have a policy on bringing bags in for games. Most of them now will only allow clear bags, but some don’t allow any bags. So, it’s very important to read the bag policy for the game you will be attending before leaving home.
Make sure you pack an appropriate bag to take to the game. If you don’t have one, then plan to either go to the game without a bag or pick one up before game time.
Tip #8: Check the weather.
If you will be attending a game at an outdoor venue, definitely check the weather before leaving home. Make sure you take clothing to wear to the game that will be appropriate for the expected weather.
Trust me, there is nothing more miserable than being at a game dressed in the wrong clothes! I can’t tell you how many times we have regretted our clothing choices for a game simply because we didn’t check the weather beforehand!
Tip #9: Get to the game early.
If you are going to travel out of town for a game, you want to get the most out of the experience. One of the easiest ways to do this on your sports road trips is by getting to the game early.
Check out the atmosphere. Take in the pregame festivities. Explore the tailgate area. Sample some of the unique food sold at the concession stands.
Getting to the game early will allow you to experience everything that game/location has to offer. It will also make it easier for you to park and find your way around in an unfamiliar environment.
Tip #10: Consider seeing multiple games.
My last tip for your sports road trip is to consider seeing multiple games in the same trip. This is very doable if your trip will be longer than just a couple of days. This is a great way to double the fun of your trip.
Now, you can do this in a couple different ways, depending on your sport of choice and your preferences. You can either catch a couple games at the same stadium or add a second stop to your trip to see another game.
When we do a Thanksgiving road trip, we usually plan it so we can see two college football games in the same trip.
Traveling to watch sports is a fun way to spend time with your family. It’s also a great excuse to travel. These tips will help you plan the best sports road trip possible! Enjoy and go team!
For more sports travel tips, see my ultimate guide to sports travel, packing tips for tailgating, how to survive football games with kids, how to get tickets to the big game, and the perfect age to take your kids to football games.
And check out my gift guide for sports fans.
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