Youth Travel Sports: Six Things to Look for in a Tournament Hotel

Sports Travel

Sports TravelBy Sue Rodman

My teenagers are big lacrosse players and they’ve gotten hooked into the whole summer league scene, which is a lot of fun and a scam all at the same time. We’ve been traveling around the country to lacrosse tournaments for several years now. Last year, our youth travel sports moved to a new level when two of the three boys were on different travel lacrosse teams, with different schedules and tournaments.

Sports travel is a bit different from leisure travel. My expectations of a hotel, and my requirements of that hotel are a bit different when I’m looking for a hotel to stay at during a lacrosse tournament. Amenities I absolutely need in a youth travel sports hotel (laundry) aren’t as important when I’m traveling for leisure.  Some things are important no matter what your travel objective, like cleanliness and a friendly staff. However, here is my dream list for a hotel when we travel for sports. What are your must haves in a hotel during youth travel sports season?

Big Rooms: There are times when our entire family goes on these trips. While I might spring for two rooms during a leisure vacation, I don’t want to spend the money for sports travel. Rooms that are big enough for a rollaway or air mattress are appreciated.
Separate shower and toilet: You would have thought the SpringHill Suites in Charlotte was a five star resort the way my husband carried on about the room layout. In addition to a pull out couch (that actually had springs), there was also a separate toilet closet and another for the shower. Being able to have one child in the shower and still have the bathroom free was great, especially when you are trying to get kids out the door for an 8 am game.

Sports Travel
The Spring Hill Suites in Charlotte had a separate water closet for the toilet and then another room for the shower, plus this awesome eating area that transformed into another bed.

Laundry: A laundry saves having to wash everything in the sink and then ride around with the jersey hanging from the window to dry. Having more than one machine in good working order is another bonus.

Sports Travel
The Hampton Inn Sugarloaf near Atlanta not only had a washer and dryer, but had Tide available for guests! As an aside, in every science fair competition, Tide always wins hands down. That should be their commercial. In 5 out of 5 science fairs, Tide cleans clothes the best.

Heavy Duty Ice Machine: Not all sports travel is during the summer, but ours is and its HOT. Our team goes through a lot of ice. The Holiday Inn Huntsville allowed teams to fill up the team coolers from the catering ice machine. I’d stay there again just for that. I hate trying to find (and pay for) bags and bags of ice.

Big lobby with free breakfast: Free breakfast is always great when you are trying to get kids out the door. Having a nice big lobby so everyone isn’t tripping over each other getting to the one waffle maker is even better.

Sports Travel
Everyone always wants those hotel waffles. They aren’t even that good, but my kids (and every other kid) loves them, which creates a really long line on busy mornings. Love it when a hotel has more than one.

A Pool or other gathering area: After the games are over, it’s nice to have a pool or an outdoor porch where everyone can gather to make dinner plans or just hang out for a little bit.

Sports Travel
How awesome is this…a fire pit with a TV above it and the pool on the other side of the fence.
Sports Travel
At the Hampton Inn Sugarloaf, in addition to a large indoor lounge area, they have this fantastic patio. There is a gas grill too, so forget going out, have a cookout with the team.


About Sue Rodman 174 Articles
Sue Rodman is the mom of 3 boys and publishes Field Trips with Sue, an award winning family travel blog about the Southeast and fun places to visit from the Southeast, covering outings, day trips, weekend getaways and family vacations. Field Trips with Sue is a Nickelodeon Parent’s Pick Winner, a Red Tricycle Best Family Travel Blog and a best blog nominee. Sue has been interviewed on Family Travel in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, The Northside Neighbor, Publix Magazine, and on all three major networks. For four years, Sue produced a Field Trips with Sue travel segment for CBS Better Mornings Atlanta, and has filled in for the host of WXIA Friday Freebies. Sue offers inside information about must-see Atlanta attractions and more in her popular book “100+ Free Things to do in Atlanta.”

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