How To Juggle Travel, Family Life And Your Sanity

You know how fast practices, games, and tournaments can fill up your schedule if your child plays sports. Parents who travel with their children often have to plan extra and pay more for expenses. My husband was a coach for 28 years, and my three children played sports from the age of four through college. Our family used to pull out of our driveway at 5 a.m. every Saturday to travel to another state or city, and not return until Sunday night. We were exhausted by Monday morning, and I wondered how much longer we could do this.

My family played more games than I did, but the more I learned, the better. These years were a great way to build character and provide many moments of family bonding. These six tips will help you maximize your sports travel experience and make it more enjoyable. Planning takes time but it can save you time and money in the long run. Look ahead to the tournament weekend and find affordable, healthy, and family-friendly restaurants. Take a moment to look online for coupons.

Many sports require a lot more downtime than others. Spend some time researching inexpensive and fun activities that you can do while you wait for matches or games to end before you go. Each city has its own unique story. An interactive museum for children is a great place to start. You can take your whole team along, but make sure you find something everyone is passionate about. Also, be sure to have plenty of parent chaperones. Are you in town for a swim meet Organize a visit to the aquarium in your area for your children.

It’s okay to have multiple children traveling at once. You can substitute for one parent if you are single or both parents cannot make it to the away game. Parents feel guilty if they are unable to attend all sports trips. My advice: Take it easy on yourself. You don’t have to be there at every game for your kids. They need your support and encouragement. They will understand that they can’t always be there for everyone.

Instead of beating yourself up about missing a sporting event, focus your energy on finding creative ways you can support your child from afar. It can be as easy as texting or Face timing your child between games so that they can share the play-by-play for each goal, race or basket while it is still fresh in their minds. A few encouragement notes and some of their favorite snacks can be stuffed into their bag or suitcase. There will always be weekend events, no matter how well you plan. Sports parenting is only possible if you are flexible and don’t panic at the unexpected.

It was during a basketball tournament that our car key got lost and we were forced to wait in the parking lot for hours for a locksmith. Although it was after the game, we were hungry and eager to get home after a long day. However, our frustration soon subsided when another family offered to wait for us. We had a wonderful time waiting. The boys got out of the van to start throwing a football around and we got to know our parents better. These experiences taught us to be flexible and deepened our friendships.

You can keep a list of all the items you need to take on your sports trip so that you don’t have a headache when packing for these weekend aways. This list can be shared with your child, and they should take responsibility for assembling their uniforms and equipment. You might feel more at ease if you share the checklist with your child before you go.

Also, think about the return journey when packing for your trip. How can you make it easier to return to your normal routine? If you are like me and hate returning home to a mess, have your kids tidy up their rooms before you head out on the road. If you don’t have much time to clean your home the next day, make sure you have the school clothes and backpacks ready. Also, pre-pack lunches for the week.

Your family can be more effective in navigating the tug-of war between youth sports travel and family lives by accepting that there is something you have to give. Traveling for long periods of time can not only drain families financially but also emotionally. Learn to let go of the need for a clean home and delicious meals at every meal. You can also embrace the chance to see your children doing something that they love, and you can focus on creating memories with your family and sharing adventures with them. These are the benefits youth sports can offer that money cannot buy.

Maxine B. Sandoval

Road To Paradiso is a travel blog that brings out the travel companion stories together so that anyone can learn from the experiences and decide which city to wander, what travel items to carry, and what time to visit.

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