Let’s talk travel! If you’re like me and you’re traveling for sports, it’s most likely that you’re traveling to see a hockey game! (If not, these tips can still help you too!) For you to be able to plan the best and most affordable trip, you’ll need to answer these five travel questions: Where, When, How, Where (again), and What. Check out my suggestions and resources on how best to answer each of these five travel questions!
This post is not sponsored. The resources listed below are all resources I use regularly to plan my travels, and I want to share those resources with you! Some of the links provided are affiliate links, which means that when you use the links, both you and I will receive a discount, cash back, or both!
Remember to sign up for Rakuten (formerly Ebates)! Rakuten is a FREE service that you can use when shopping or reserving travel online. All you have to do is click on the Rakuten link when it pops up during an online shopping trip and your cash back will be activated. Use this sign up link to receive an additional $10 cash back for your first purchase using Rakuten!
Where are you going?
The most important thing you have to decide is where you’re going! Do you have your heart set on one city or team in particular? Do you want to see as many games and teams as you can in one trip? If you’re wanting to visit multiple cities in one trip, try to find cities that are close together or have affordable one way flights to/from each other. For the NHL, think about doing a Florida, California, or New York trip. (Just keep in mind that with those three areas in particular, they will all three play the same away team in a row. You might end up seeing each team play the same away team.) There are also some NHL cities that are within driving distance of each other, so you could make it a road trip, depending on how much time you have! The league schedule will be your best friend when planning your travels,, so keep it close!
When are you going? How are you getting there?
So you’ve figured out what games you want to go to or you know what city you want to visit, but need to figure out the exact dates, it’s time to ask yourself how you’re going to get there! If you’re doing this much planning for your hockey travels, it’s most likely that you’re going to have to fly for at least part of your trip! My best advice is to check out all avenues of transportation. I almost always fly every place I go to, but I’m always open to the option of flying somewhere, renting a car to drive to the next city, and flying back home from there. Figure out what works best for your schedule and your needs. Don’t be afraid to look at one way flights from one city to another – sometimes one way trips can come out cheaper than round trips and it can also help you stick to a more strict time schedule on the days you fly.
My new favorite app for booking a flight is Hopper. I’m obsessed with Hopper! You choose your departure and arrival cities and if you’re looking for one way or round trip. (Remember to check both!) It will provide you with calendars for the upcoming months and show you price trends with color coding. This will help you see if it would be easier to travel the day before, the day of, or the day after a game depending on what flight prices look like. Hopper will also tell if you if the current prices are the best prices or if they will change in your favor sometime soon. You can set up watches on different flights and it’ll alert you when the best prices are available. After booking with Hopper, you can go into your reservation on the airline’s website and add your frequent flyer login information to collect points for airlines. (Note that Hopper provides you with basic economy and economy prices. If you like more flexibility with the type of seat you’re getting, Hopper might not be the best option for you.)
I also mentioned looking into ways that you could drive to certain cities, maybe by renting a car and driving to one or two cities and flying home from there. Whenever I have to rent a car, I always use Hertz. I only use Hertz because they have a great, free rewards program and provide a discount for AAA customers. With the rewards program, it provides you a much easier check out process and you can build points for future reservations. Check out Hertz next time you’re renting a car – they’re the best to deal with!
Where are you staying?
Where you’re staying will depend on several different factors: what you’re doing while you’re in town, how much time you have, and what transportation options you have. For my multi-city trip, I needed to stay as close to the arena as possible, since I was only going to be in town for 24 hours max and needed to get to the game easily. Most of the NHL arenas have hotels very close by. (My hotel in Anaheim was basically in the parking lot of the arena!) I always use Hotels.com for hotel reservations. There are several third party reservation websites out there, but I’ve had the best success with Hotels.com. They also provide cash back for each reservation with Rakuten, so double points to Hotels.com! I recently joined their free rewards program, where you collect nights (points) for each reservation and once you book 10 nights, you get one free! (For as much as I travel, that free night is a blessing!)
I recently stayed at my first AirBNB and REALLY enjoyed it! It’s now added to the list of “resources I need to check when traveling”. Now that I’m traveling more and getting to know cities better, I’m finding that there are AirBNB’s that are within walking distance to arenas and they’re super affordable! I think it’s really cool to stay in an AirBNB to be able to experience the community of the city. Definitely check out AirBNB before deciding on a hotel. You might find some really good options that are close by to the things you want to do and won’t require you to Uber/Lyft/drive everywhere.
What are you doing?
We already know you’re going to a game – the most important to do list item of the trip! – but what else can you do while you’re in the area? It’s important to find some other fun things to do in the area, especially if you’re traveling with someone who isn’t the biggest fan of the sport you’re going to see. Pinterest is your best friend when trying to find fun things to do or delicious restaurants to try in a new city! If you’re traveling specifically for a hockey game, you should check out my Pinterest board Hockey Nomad! I have a section for each NHL city and it includes pins of fun things to do, restaurants to try, Instagram walls of the city, etc.
I also check Yelp and TripAdvisor for recommendations on places to eat and things to do. Even AirBNB now includes “experiences” as part of their reservation system, so you can book a fun outing for your group AND book your place to stay all in one place!
Now that you’ve answered all five questions, you’re ready to travel!
Are these all of the resources you can use for traveling? No way! These are the resources I use the most and that I’ve had the best success with. As I continue to travel, I’ll add to this list to provide you with more ways to save money, earn cash back, and to have the best trip possible!
Are you going on a hockey trip soon? Do you have a particular app that you use for planning your travel that is the best ever? Just want to say hi? Leave all in the comments! I’d love to hear from you!