If you’re a sports parent, or even a league manager, you know that traveling is part of being supportive of your child’s development. For families engaged in very competitive sports, or particularly equipment intensive ones, the added purchases prove to be a true family budget buster.
Here is a brief list of some of the costs associated with sports travel. Consider this checklist the next time you’ll be traveling for sports and start writing out a budget that fits in with your exact plans and location.
First, where will you be traveling? How far away is it? There’s a vast difference between driving to the next town over for an away game and needing to fly to a different state for a nation-wide championship. You’ll also need to consider miscellaneous expenses in with this category, like auto tune-ups or paying for luggage if you are indeed flying.
How long do you plan on staying where you’re going. Is it just a day game or something that will take a few days? Using this information, base your budget amounts on this. If it helps, budget out how much it would cost to spend a day traveling and then multiple this number by the number of days you’ll be away.
Number of Travelers
It’s one thing if you’re traveling with just yourself and a child player, but you’re likely traveling with more than one or two people. Even staff sometimes bring their spouses and/or families, so it’s always important to consider the number of beds you need and mouths to feed when figuring out your budget. As a matter of fact, sport tourism is one of the fastest growing segment of the industry.
What kind of hotel will you be staying in? Depending on the reason behind your trip, your hotel might be paid for (like in the case of a national championship or title game.) Otherwise, your accommodations may be your own responsibility. Look into alternatives if you’re strapped for cash, like staying with friends or rooming with others who are also part of the team or league. Consider swapping with another family to bring their child with you and for them to return the favor at the next tournament.
You know you’re traveling for sports, but will you also be using this opportunity to travel as a mini-vacation? Since you’re in a new city, will you take in the sights? This can also add to your budget and should be considered before you solidify any plans.
If you do want to spend some extra time participating in some touristy activities, consider giving yourself a “fun stuff and souvenir” cushion within your budget. It’s also nice to get your child a memento to remember their trip by in regards to playing their sport.
Chances are you won’t be buying groceries and making your own meals on your trip. Many hotels don’t have kitchen options, so you’re at the mercy of their food or going out to eat. Depending on where you go, this can get pretty expensive.
Before you leave, check out local restaurants. In the hotel you’re staying in, what food options are there? What are the local restaurants like? Are they high class, or are there more “down home” options?
While you might be concerned with costs for your own family, when considering travel as a team, pull out comparative budgets to look for alternate tournaments or cheaper options. Other parents might thank you.
Setting up a specific fundraiser is also an option. League Network’s assisted fundraising tools and tips are available to help.