In these particular tough economic times, when a youth sports coach discusses team travel, a collective groan is commonly heard from the parents– specifically if the tournament or competition needs long distance travel.
By targeting tournaments within driving distance, you can keep a bundle, yet here are some other suggestions to keep your team travel expenses lower, whether or not you trek more than a car-ride from home:
Save on Team Hotel Accommodations
Although you are driving to a weekend tournament, you may need to spend about one– possibly two– nights in a hotel. Those 8:00 AM games with 7:00 AM warm-ups basically dictate a hotel stay the night before.
Many tournament coordinators will render a list of nearby hotels. Be sure you contact the hotel immediately, not the chain’s toll-free number. You’ll definitely get a more desirable deal on a block of rooms in this way. If you are choosing between two, fairly equally priced hotels and one has a pool but the other doesn’t, you’ll find the pool worth its weight in gold at the end of a long day at the field or facility– for both parents and kids!
For longer tournaments, for example, the week-long Cooperstown Dreams Park Youth Baseball tournament, it’s worth considering renting a large house with a kitchen and inside and outside eating areas. Not only can numerous families live in the house– saving money in the end– yet also you can make it a ‘home base’ for the team, making carpooling easier.
Plan Team Travel Meals
A simple way to preserve money on food at nearby tournaments is to prepare a potluck lunch on the first day. Sometime the week before the tournament, just have everyone list what he or she prepares to bring. Everyone can put their goodies in a cooler and keep them fresh all day because you’re driving. It’s cool to have a selection of salads, sandwiches, fruit, veggies, and drinks for everybody to enjoy all together.
And also, once you’re settled at the hotel, you can conveniently scope out the local convenience store and plan another potluck the following day. You actually have your coolers, just refill them with ice and more food and you’re set!
Do not forget to have families sign up for paper goods, utensils, card or other portable tables and, most importantly, pop-up canopies or tarps. Even if it’s sunny or raining, you’ll find those canopies important. And be sure someone brings bags for trash and recycling!
For those lengthier tournaments I mentioned above, that ‘home base’ house can develop into a great way to save money on team meals. Before you leave behind on your trip, split the parents into groups and assign them a particular day and meal. Jointly, they plan the meal and are responsible for all he shopping, cooking, and clean-up of that meal. When you come in town, or the day before your assigned meal, simply to go to Costco or the closest convenience store and do your shopping. It’s certainly a lot more relaxing– and cost-effective– than going out for breakfast, lunch and dinner for six days in a row! And also, it’s much healthier too!
Think about Group Transportation
Another way to preserve money is to set up group transportation for your weekend team travel,. Fourteen SUVs or minivans waste a lot of gas; even though you’re just driving 100 miles– and considerably more if you drive that distance four times over two days! When shared among the entire team, often using a motorcoach or a mini coach (depending on your team size and gear requirements) can save big bucks.