Traveling to tournaments or playing games far away from home can get expensive. The first thing to consider is how to get there. Would flying or driving more economical? If you can get good airline tickets and are able to use an Uber or Lyft service or share a car rental with another family, that would be ideal. Flying could mean your kids miss less school because there is less time traveling. If you have to drive, pair up with another family and share gas and snacks. It's always more fun to have others to talk with and your child will enjoy the conversations with another teammate.
Out of town tournaments are fun but more expensive, so save up for it. Forgo your coffee shop stops for awhile and put that money toward having fun during the tournament. Ditto for all those fast food stops during the week. Grocery shop and plan the week's menu ahead of time and put meals in small plastic containers to heat up before jumping in the car for practice. Many times my kids have eaten leftovers on the way and the savings can add up because the typical cost for a drive-through meal can be 8 to 10 dollars.
With some effort, you can save money on lodging for these trips. In most cases, the team must stay together at the tournament hotel. If it is feasible, consider sharing a room with another mom and her player. This is all dependent on who all is coming along and the age of the kids. If you can stay anywhere, check out Airbnb's in the area. These are houses and condos that can accommodate several people.
Days before you set out on a trip, prepare a checklist with everything the family needs from the moment you leave the house until you return. That way, you won't have to make a stop to buy items along the way. That is especially important when it comes to sports gear because buying gear on the road can get very expensive.
When the day comes to leave town, depart with a positive attitude and enjoy the experience. These tournament opportunities won't last forever and although the budget may be stretched, the shared time together is worth it.
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