Road trips are the lifeblood of every sports fan, no matter the sport nothing beats a great road trip! Assembling the right trip can be tricky but with a bit of planning, you’ll hit the ground running when you reach your destination. Whether traveling solo, with a group of like-minded friends, or with your significant other, a balanced attack is a winning formula. Choose the right game with available tickets, book the right hotel in the right location, and build the right activities around your trip. Everything must fit together in a convenient little package.
Pick the right travel opportunity: The three Florida based NFL teams get their fair share of visitors, but it amazes me when I hear people complain it was too hot in the stands. Avoid Florida for the early season NFL games, skip the September games altogether and focus on the rest of the season. A good rule of thumb is to look for contrast from your home weather, give yourself a taste of something different.
Be sure to pick a destination that’s walkable, you’ll probably be drinking so be sure you are not driving. Public transportation is always a handy option, look for destinations with strong metro systems like Boston, New York , and Washington DC. If you can’t walk or rely on public transit, then use Uber.
Buying game tickets at reasonable prices is a major consideration. Seasoned NHL fans know the Toronto Maple Leafs have a major following. Home games in Toronto are next to impossible to get at a reasonable price. With a greater following than home ticket availability Toronto fans take it to the road, driving up prices and limiting ticket availability.
Booking the right hotels in the right location: Just like Real Estate the first three rules of hotel selection, is location, location, location. Choose your hotel close to your activities, and if you must, Uber to your game. St Petersburg Fl being a perfect example, the downtown area is quite compact filled with a wide variety of breweries, bars, restaurants and comfortable hotels all within walking distance. The hotel is no place to cut corners. A close friend visiting San Francisco lamented their hotel selection, saying they had to step over drug addicts shooting up on the sidewalk because they saved money by booking in a less than desirable area. Danger lurks in the bad parts of town, don’t risk get mugged to save a few bucks.
Having access to tickets at the right price: Scoring the right tickets at a reasonable price can sometimes be a challenge. Avoid Craigslist in favor of reputable ticket agencies like Ticketmaster selling tickets directly through the NFL.com website. My personal favorite is Ace Ticket, a ticket broker based in Boston selling tickets to sports, concerts and theater events nationwide (enter Password: Playhard2019 if you don’t see what you need, use the online chat). Ace Ticket is an active member of the National Association of Ticket Brokers, specializing in hard to find tickets for all types of events. Ace Ticket stands behind every ticket sale with their 200% money back guarantee.
Filling your travel with activities: While the chosen sporting event is the primary reason to travel, it’s important to round out your trip with other activities. That’s where Craft Beer comes it! PubQuest offers the perfect brewery locator app with an easy no-cost download to your smartphone. For the beer tourism pros, nothing beats a brewery crawl, most cities with even the slightest beer culture have companies offering this type of mobile tour. No drinking and driving because you are transported by bus, and in most cases picked up from your hotel and taken directly to the selected breweries. Food trucks and breweries seem to go hand in hand, and in some cases the breweries themselves offer food so you don’t have to worry about going hungry.
Now that we have established a few of the basic concepts for building a successful Road Trip, here are a few Sports Travel Opportunities to Consider:
- Tampa Bay Area Tampa should be at the top of most everyone’s list of sports travel destinations, great golf, and fishing with beer culture that’s out of this world. We recommend Thirsty Pelican Tours offering the best-guided brewery tours in the Tampa Bay area. Stay in St Petersburg, within walking distance of so many fun activities. As for the sports, Raymond James Stadium and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are just a short drive away, same for the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning in downtown Tampa. Major League Baseballs Tampa Bay Rays play at Tropicana field just a few blocks from our favorite hotel in St. Petersburg. How about MLB Spring Training? The Tigers, Yankees, Blue Jays, Phillies, Pirates, and Orioles are all within a short drive of St Petersburg. Baseball by day and beer tours by night!
- Las Vegas Raiders won’t be moving to Vegas till 2020 but Vegas is still a hotbed for sports. The NHL’s Golden Knights are fresh out of the Stanley Cup finals and a fan favorite for road tripping fans. The NFL season, College Football, Super Bowl Weekend and the NCAA Basketball Tournament give you plenty of sports options for Vegas. Fantasy Football draft parties, mid-season visits, and fantasy playoffs make perfect group events. The Vegas activities are endless, and Craft Breweries are popping up all over the city. We suggest Sin City Brew Tours as your beer tour connection, they are Vegas brewery experts and will (literally) steer you in the right direction.
- Boston WOW! Boston has everything you could ever want in a sports destination, Red Sox, Bruins, Celtics, Patriots and Boston College. Year-round entertainment, a top-notch transit system and our top Beer Tourism destination on the East Coast. I can guarantee the hairs on the back of your neck will stand at attention the moment you walk through the stands an see the Green Monster rising high above left field in Fenway Park. Boston Beer and Harpoon Brewery call Boston home, each with marvelous tours. We recommend City Brew Tours as your guide to this dynamic beer culture, but give yourself time because there is so much to see and do, you’ll need more than a weekend to enjoy it!
- Baltimore, New York & Boston Combo If Major League Baseball is your thing plan this three-city combo, giving you the opportunity to experience 3 great cities, 3 great stadiums, and 3 great beer cultures! Start in Baltimore visiting Camden Yard staying in the Inner Harbor area, travel by train to New York City staying in either Brooklyn or Manhattan and catching a game a Yankee Stadium, continue to Boston by train, staying downtown with a night game at Fenway! All three have a great beer culture and each serviced by City Brew Tours. City Brew Tours offers unforgettable all-inclusive tours and beer-focused experiences in some of the best beer cities throughout North America.
Follow this guide and you’ll have the perfect trip. Do your homework before booking anything. Research your travel destination, and be sure game tickets are available. Buy the tickets from a reputable source. Don’t go cheap on your hotel because you’ll probably regret it. Plan your hotel location with your activities in mind. If you plan on drinking and you know you will, use public transit, uber and be sure to join a craft beer tour!
Play Harder Tours can help troubleshoot and assemble your trip without adding additional cost, and most of our recommendations offering discounted rates to our booked guests.
Remember, no matter the sport nothing beats a great road trip!
The Beer-Centric Traveler writes for Play Harder Tours… Please email Bill@playhardertours.com and start your travel planning today! For a complete list of recommendations please email with “Sports & Craft Beer” on the subject line. We’d love to hear your suggestions too.