A typical Denver team traveling to a game in Cheyenne will travel 220 miles roundtrip. If they do so in fifteen different cars, a total of 3300 miles will be driven, compared to just the 220 in one bus. This equates to 14 more vehicles on the already over-congested stretch of I-25 to Fort Collins and almost 1.5 metric tons of additional carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. One metric ton would make a cube of around 27 feet width, depth and height. Needless to say, it is a big waste. If your team doesn’t have access to a bus, efficient carpooling can easily save half of the wasted money, effort, and pollution, plus it gives you a teambuilding moment.
Often going to a tournament creates a bigger version of the above calculations, either from repeated trips from home to somewhere local, or one big trip to a tournament far away. Finding the right way to travel can save you team a lot of money and hassle. Ever tried taking fifteen teenage boys through an international airport? We recommend taking extra players because you will be incredibly lucky to find all of them at the destination…
As a coach, your first decision is whether the team are traveling as individuals/families, or as a big group. If it is the latter you might save on travel costs, but your job as organizer will become a lot more complex. Remember that a group moves at the speed of the slowest, so plan a lot of extra time at each connection to get everyone from one place to the next. Think about transfers at each end. Will you be renting mini-busses, taking public transport (if there is any), or each getting cars? Do you have chaperones helping you? What or who are they responsible for? Remember also that they are probably wearing your club clothing so they are representing your organization in front of thousands of other people.
Whenever possible we recommend traveling as a team, not just because it saves so much money, but because it also gives you more time to bond. It is the little things like stopping off for food together on the way, or all sitting together on the airplane that often get stuck in people’s memories. Generally the chaperone and team group approach will not work very well until you are coaching teenagers. Younger teams will often do better with the families there to look after and support them. We do of course encourage families to take other players with them (under their responsibility, not yours!) to split costs and allow them to make friends.
Where possible, flights are often a better option than driving. 1-2 hours to Las Vegas is much better for players than 11 hours of driving. If you are looking to help their performance, we recommend the cheap flight over the slightly cheaper driving. Spending a lot time trapped in the car can lead to fatigue and aches and pains. It also means driving through the night or taking another day off school or work, which probably doesn’t work out well for anyone! Some other tips from coaches: –
- Take your soccer gear in the carry on bag so you can still play if your check in bags get lost in transit.
- When you get there, rent a mini-bus or two to move the team around. This saves from people getting lost and again helps build team spirit.
- Get a list of everyone’s cell phone numbers in case anyone gets lost.
- All chaperones must have background checks done. They should have maps or GPS to get them to the various places you will need to go.
- Create a team blog, twitter feed, or other website for parents who are not there to be able to keep up on what you are doing.
If you have more suggestions, please email them to us so we can add them here. Happy travels!