Tips for Planning the Perfect Baseball Road Tripby Laurie Wilson /
On the bucket list for many fans of America’s favorite pastime is a baseball-themed road trip. It’s a bonding experience for the traveling team—whether that team is a couple, a squad of friends, or even a multi-generational family—and building a roster of favorite places to visit on the championship trip takes careful planning and strategizing.
“I have clients who each year go to one new basketball or baseball stadium,” says Michele Schwartz of Making Memories Travel in Austin, Texas. “Others, like my own parents, did ten stadiums in three weeks, piling it all into one trip,” she says. “There is something special about grandparents taking the whole family to see ‘the team I grew up with’.”
According to Schwartz, the three most important questions to consider from home base when planning the trip:
- What teams and/or stadiums do you most want to visit?
- How long do you have to travel?
- Are there any can’t miss games or series?
”The answers to these questions go right to the heart of the scheduling and travel modes of the trip,” says Schwartz.
There are also potential curveballs to consider, including ticket availability. “The biggest challenge to overcome can be ticket availability,” says Schwartz. Some of the most popular teams and stadiums like visiting Fenway Park when the Boston Red Sox playing can be tough to pull off. “Know in advance how much you’re willing to pay,” she says. “Do this before you plan other logistics like hotel and transportation. There isn’t any use planning to go to a city for a specific game if you don’t end up getting tickets.”
Another curveball to avoid: transportation issues. “Some days, it was cheaper to take a flight out after an afternoon game than try to spend the night at a hotel with another day of a rental car and parking,” says Schwartz, referring to her parents’ trip. “Knowing when a rental car was needed versus being in a city that has mass transit to and from the stadium—all issues that working with a travel advisor can handle so clients don’t have to worry,” she says.
It’s all in the details, says Linda de Sosa, leisure travel consultant at Bucket List Travel Consulting, a Virtuoso Agency. “I’ve planned mostly father and son baseball stadium road trips. You have to be very detail-oriented because when you are looking at game schedules, make sure to take note of which games are away because those won’t work.
Hotel curveballs: “If it’s a big game, many hotels will slip a non-refundable clause in there,” says de Sosa. “When I look at hotels, I also try to find one that is in walking distance because trying to figure out a transit system on crowded game day is not fun.”
Sometimes, a fan’s baseball road trip bucket list isn’t about the games or teams—but the ballpark and other baseball-themed spots. “Frequently, you can book a stadium tour as well,” says des Sosa. And, East Coast baseball road trippers can swing by Williamsport, Pennsylvania, to visit the Little League Hall of Fame and/or Cooperstown, New York, home to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
And because everyone in the fam may not be a fan of the game, or even like baseball for that matter, a baseball road trip can have broader appeal. “There’s a whole lot of baseball history that goes along with the growth of America,” says Schwartz. So history buffs can also score while along for the ride.
Extra inning tips
- Consider special jerseys for the trip. Schwartz says her parents wore matching T-shirts that had the itinerary on the back of the shirt. “It encouraged others to ask questions and make conversation,” she said. “They discovered that as word traveled about their trip, they received some special unexpected perks.”
- Travel advisors can also coordinate a special scoreboard greeting at one of the ballparks, says Schwartz.
- “Insurance is always a must,” says Schwartz. “Full stop.”