We all spend so much money on hockey. Between fees, equipment, slush funds and miscellaneous expenses that come up with having a hockey player. Adding in hotel, travel and food expenses For a tournament can be intimidating. Below are some money saving tips for tournaments. Some are obvious and others may not be. Hopefully you can find one or two to help offset some of the costs.
This is an expense that is hard to mitigate unless you have family or friends in the area.
- Stay with family or friends if you can. You can always sit at the hotel and visit and be engaged without the expense.
- Make your fees work for you. I pay my fees, and anything else hockey related on one specific credit card. I write a check same day to pay it off so it is coming out of my cash flow. This allows me to build a stock pile of credit card points that I can leverage for hotel, other travel discounts, or cash when I need it.
- Pay for hotel with points. If you are traveling for business, or accumulating points some other way, use them. Sometimes this does not work as the hotel has to be booked through the tournament, but try to use any points you have accumulated.
- If you cannot use your points, add your rewards number to the reservation to take advantage of earning points. Always sign up for the rewards number for hotel chains. Most points have long periods before expiration, if they ever expire.
- When my oldest was playing and we all had to go I packed sleeping bags. I know it was tight but it is like camping for the the younger kids. The sleeping bags roll up quickly to get out of the way and allowed us to stay in the smaller, more affordable room. It is typically only for a couple nights so works out well.
- Call ahead to confirm a refrigerator and microwave are in the room. Sometimes if there is not a refrigerator in the room they can roll one in for no cost. If not the hotel may store items in their main refrigerator for free. Also use coolers as you can replace the ice using the hotel ice machine.
Dining is one area of money saving tips for tournaments that is easier to control. There are options to still have a good meal and not just sandwiches. There will always be a team dinner or two and those are some of the best bonding moments. However, we did those one year by getting a “conference” area for the team and doing a pot luck. Everyone brought or cooked something. It was such a relaxed team dinner with no checks and the kids were a little more free to move about the room.
I always bring a cooler, paper plates, microwave safe cups and plastic utensils. The cups can double as a bowl.
- Pack snacks, lunch meat, bread, peanut butter and jelly, and all those easy quick grab items.
- Bring hot chocolate packets. Make the siblings hot chocolate before you leave the hotel using the hot water from the in-room coffee machine or the lobby hot water for tea.
- For breakfast a half gallon of milk and cereal as well as fresh fruit in cups works well.
- Bring oatmeal packets and use the same hot water options mentioned or the microwave and you have oatmeal just like home.
- COST Cooking (Cook Once Serve Twice) Method always comes in handy as well. Make egg bites and pancakes before leaving home and place individual servings in baggies. Dump those to a paper plate and microwave for a nice filling and hot breakfast.
- Place a freezer bag of COST chili and/or sloppy joes in the cooler. They double as an ice pack on the drive. Once defrosted you can warm in the microwave or store in the refrigerator or cooler until ready to heat. Don’t forget the buns and cheese.
- Bring a Ninja Foodi or Instant Pot and the ingredients for Spaghetti and Meatballs. Bring or buy a jar of sauce, beef stock and small box of noodles, along with premade COST meatballs.
- With the Ninja Foodi you could also make a quick Chicken Pot Pie. Purchase chicken that the butcher has already diced, frozen vegetables and a pie crust. Place pre measured spices and such in a plastic bag. The cream can be brought in the cooler or purchased when you get to your destination.
There is nothing better then providing a great home cooked meal on the road, and saving money.
Hopefully there is something of use in the above. I will continue to add to it as I talk with more hockey moms to find out what they do to save money at tournaments.