April 16, 2014

Travel Tips for Navigating the Teen Sports Circuit

Whether you’re driving the kids to games yourself, or sending them on a bus provided by the school, coordinating sports-related teen travel itineraries can be a logistical exercise requiring military precision. Factor in frugality concerns, and you may find yourself in need of serious assistance. Use these shoestring travel tips to successfully navigate the school sports circuit.

Food: For weekend tournaments and games where the school bus will be returning late, restaurant tabs are often unavoidable. This is where checking your credit card’s points program can come in handy. For example, one of my credit cards allows customers to use accumulated reward points to purchase gift cards from a variety of restaurant chains that are typically near highway exits. Frugalupstate.com’s Jenn Fowler favors powdered lemonade and iced tea mixes that come in small tubes. By purchasing multipacks at her local dollar store, she’s able to provide her children with a simple beverage option that can be enjoyed from their individual water bottles.

Fuel: Some grocery store chains partner with nearby gas stations to offer discounted gas prices as part of their loyalty card program. If this is the case where you shop, consider gassing up there on the way to your teen’s next sports tournament. Gasbuddy.com is a helpful web site for finding which fueling stations are offering the best gas prices on the day you are traveling. Having this information ahead of time will help you decide upon the best place to top off your tank before heading home. According to soccer mom and freelance writer Tisha Kulak-Tolar of Trifecta Strategies, carpooling is king when it comes to saving money on gas for student sports travel. She often saves money on fuel by sharing driving duties with other parents.

Organization: Kulak-Tolar also points to organization and planning as two of her top money-saving strategies for sports travel with her children. To avoid duplicate purchases of things like insect repellant, sunscreen and extra first aid supplies, she keeps a kit stocked in the back of the minivan along with extra blankets and sweatshirts for unexpected drops in temperature. When it comes to orderly storage for the gear and belongings of multiple team members however, my money’s on individual rolling duffels. If each child has their own, they can easily transport their gear, shower supplies and uniforms between the school bus or van and the host school’s locker room.

Photo Credit: Family MWR

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