Sabre fencers practice before a tournament at Capital Fencing Academy in North Bethesda, Md. Photo by Barb DeLollis.

Sabre fencers practice before a tournament at Capital Fencing Academy in North Bethesda, Md. Photo by Barb DeLollis.

For many families across the USA, including mine, September means more than back to school. It also means a return to a costly sports schedule complete with long drives or flights to far away competitions. In my family’s case, that means trips to cities across the USA where various Sabre fencing competitions are being held.

So naturally, a new study commissioned by Hilton Worldwide’s Embassy Suites chain caught my eye. The sports travel survey asked parent respondents about their travels and hotel planning habits for their kids’ competitive sports activities.

According to the survey, the average parent respondent travels more than 1,000 miles to their children’s away games and tournaments, and spends more than $1,400 per season.

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Other findings from the survey:

  • 94% agree that picking the right hotel can make a difference in a long, sports-filled weekend,
  • 51% said free breakfast is something they want and
  • 31% consider extra space in a guest room a bonus

One thing I can vouch for is that the travel team life can be grueling – and pricey.

This Sunday, my family and I will drive to Richmond, Va., so our 10 year old can fence in a tournament. It’s only two hours away, so we consider this a break. Last Saturday, my husband drove the kids to eastern Long Island (a seven-hour drive thanks to awful traffic) for two days of competitions before driving back the next day to the Washington D.C. area.

We have a weekend trip to Louisville coming up – but even that’s a breeze compared to our eldest son’s team mates. Some just returned from Warsaw, and others are leaving tomorrow for San Jose, Costa Rica!

By the way, Hilton released the survey news in addition to launching a social media contest that lasts through Oct. 7. I have no involvement in the contest, in case you’re wondering; if you want to see the details click on the chain’s Facebook site. The goal is to promote the chain, which features large, all-suite rooms, made-to-order breakfast and a free evening reception with drinks and snacks.

Readers: How much would you estimate you spend per season on your kid’s sports-competition-related travel?