Traveling for sports can be a pain for parents and coaches alike, but it doesn’t have to turn into an absolute nightmare just because something goes awry. Here are four tips to help you better manage traveling to your away tournaments this summer.
1. Pack extras…of everything!
When you a traveling for sports the most annoying thing is when you realize that something you desperately need you either forget to pack or you ran out of it. Be sure to grab extra water bottles, extra snacks (preferably healthy and non-perishable), extra sun block, maybe even a few spare pieces of sports equipment in case someone else forgets theirs or something breaks. After a few weekend tournaments you’ll get a good feel for what kind of supplies you need to have stashed and ready to go.
2. Hit up the grocery stores right away and avoid the snack stand later.
Even one sports parent can make all the difference when it comes to keeping the players supplied with the right kind of food for a travel tournament. Most tournaments will set up a snack stand that is loaded with candy, soda, hot dogs and other fast food type items, but after 2 days of nothing but Skittles and hamburgers your players aren’t going to be in the best shape. Hit up the grocery store as soon as you get into town and load up on things like carrots, apples, grapes, granola bars and other nutritious snacks to keep the kids fueled.
And since so many teams have descended on one town the local restaurants are probably going to be overflowing. Instead of worrying about dinner reservations why not grab a few rotisserie chickens and some sides from the deli to have a picnic at the fields! Shopping at the grocery store is also a good idea if someone on your team has a food allergy.
3. Establish ground rules for travel before you hit the road.
Preventing sexual abuse in youth sports should be everyone’s top priority, and one of the best ways to prevent abuse is to do everything you can to prevent circumstances that would contribute to abuse. For instance, establish travel ground rules that say no adult can be alone with a player in a hotel room; two adults must be present at all times. Other travel ground rules could include things like a curfew time when all players must be back at the hotel for lights out; what happens in the event of an emergency, behavior expectations for players and parents alike and more. When you spell everything out before it becomes an issue hopefully you can stop the issue from happening in the first place.
4. Double check all your travel arrangements.
Hockey parents can tell you that the equipment bag is definitely not carry-on approved. If you are flying to a tournament what are the rules for transporting sports equipment? Will parents have to pay extra to check over-sized sports bags? Confirm with the hotel you are staying at to make sure they have you down for the right nights and the right number of rooms. Call ahead to make dinner reservations. Make sure your rental van is big enough. Those little details can make or break your travel experience.