Getting an entire sports team (and their families) to a tournament, training or playoff game is a challenge. If you’ve been tasked with planning your team’s travel details, treat the trip like any other group travel experience. Taking advantage of the deals and preplanning available to groups will help your sports team travel go smoothly.
Not sure where to start? Use these tips to ensure your team’s itinerary is taken care of before you hit the road.
1. Consider Special Airline Arrangements
Flying with a group may give you access to savings and other benefits, depending on the airline. When planning for sports team travel, you’ll also want to talk to your travel agent or airline representative about other unique considerations. Your bulky baseball, hockey or skiing equipment needs to arrive on time and without breaking the bank. This could mean choosing an airline that includes checked baggage and minimizing layovers.
2. Research Various Hotel Options
Your hotel can make (or break) your whole trip. For sports team travel, the more your hotel includes, the better. Look for accommodations with year-round access to a pool, healthy breakfast options, family-sized suites, laundry and in-room kitchenettes. Just like any large group, you’ll want to ask if you can reserve rooms near each other and whether there’s a simplified check-in process available.
3. Invest in Group Travel Insurance
To protect every team member, consider purchasing a group travel insurance policy. Tournaments and training clinics can be cancelled with little warning. While they may have a generous refund policy, it won’t cover your team’s transportation or accommodation expenses.
4. Discuss Covering Costs
Across the span of a season, the costs of sports team travel add up. Determine how costs will be divided among families and team members. Talk about what’s covered in upfront costs (which can be paid as a group, individually or in installments) and what spending money will be necessary, especially for team members travelling without parents.
5. Make Dinner Reservations
After a long day on the field, court or track, searching for a restaurant with the capabilities to serve a large group is no fun. Make dinner reservations before hitting the road. You can also scope out quick lunch options near the event space or local grocery stores.
6. Choose Team Transportation
Moving a team from airport to hotel and hotel to playing field is no easy task. Organize transportation in your destination to make getting from place to place simpler. Depending on how many people are in your group, you may be able to rent cars, work with your hotel’s shuttle service or charter a bus for the duration of the trip.
7. Get to Know Your Destination
Have an idea of what activities are available for families during down time. You should also research where the nearest emergency room and urgent care are, just in case one of your players needs treatment.