On the road again. And again. And again.

Traveling to tournaments and away games can be a lot of fun and make for good team bonding. It can also be a living hell along the lines of National Lampoon’s Vacation, at least for the parents. We’re midway through a seven trip summer and each time I hit the road, I encounter something new. Here are a few of my better ideas to make road trips more vacation-like.

Making the most of the hotel breakfast

Save the time and expense of going out for breakfast by booking a hotel that provides a breakfast bar. It’s worth an extra $10- $20 a night. If your team has a really early game time, ask the hotel manager the night before and they will usually open the breakfast a little early for you, or at least put some bagels or something out. A few other ways to maximize the breakfast bar:

Peanut butter and wheat bread

Peanut butter tubs and bread for an afternoon snack, courtesy of hotel breakfast bar.

  • Grab a couple extra peanut butter and jelly packets and a whole wheat bagel or a few slices of bread to make a sandwich later.
  • Do they have yogurt and milk in cartons? Throw one in your cooler.
  • Take a banana or apple to eat in the car if there’s not time for anything else.
  • Hard-boiled eggs have good protein to kick start the morning or to save for later in the day. Grab a salt packet, too.

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How to reap the travel rewards

This weekend the hubby and the Prospect head off to Cincinnati, OH for the Cincinnati Flames wood bat tournament and I’m taking the softball player to beautiful Traverse City, MI for the Traverse City Waves Northern Classic.  We left the college kid at home to play ball, work and feed our ferocious guard dog so don’t even think about breaking in and stealing anything. Beside, we don’t have any valuables; our kids play travel sports. The softball bat is probably the most expensive item we own.

ferocious guard dog

He's got huge sharp, er, he can leap about!

That means five nights of hotels. In July, we’re looking at 15 or more nights of paying to sleep somewhere. (See previous mention about lack of valuables.) Many times, we’re forced to use tournament partner hotels at partner prices so you can’t even shop around and save money. But you can squeeze a few lemons here and end up with some lemonade by signing up for reward accounts at hotel chains. Read the rest of this entry »