Tournament weekend success is a product of detailed planning. The last thing you want to worry about when heading out for a tournament weekend is that you forgot something. Here is a tournament weekend checklist to make sure your home, car and kid are ready for the weekend away.
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Any tournament weekend check list starts when you receive your tournament schedule.
Once Schedule is Released
£ You probably already have a trusted animal kennel. You should contact them as soon as your schedule is released so you can make sure they have availability. You might as well make the kennel reservations for the entire season. That way one big item is off your checklist and you don’t have to worry about it for the rest of the season.
£ If you are reading this, you are likely the Team Mom. In that case, you will want to follow these steps to secure hotel rooms for your team:
1. Research each tournament to find out the following info:
a. Are they a ‘stay-to-play’ tournament?
b. Play locations
2. If they are not ‘stay-to-play’, begin researching hotels within 20 minutes of the play locations. This isn’t always possible, but most parents will find a 20-minute commute from their hotel way more palatable than a 30-minute drive. Crazy… but true. Expedia has a map feature that allows you to enter an address and find the closest hotels.
3. Filter hotels depending on your team’s preferences:
b. Free breakfast offered – This can be a savings of as much as $10/night/person
c. Hotel rating
4. Select two or three hotels which fit your team’s preferences. The reason to pick a few hotels is because some might be showing availability on Expedia but don’t actually have the quantity you need.
5. Google the name of the hotels you are interested in to get their direct phone number. DO NOT CONTACT THE PHONE NUMBER ON THE EXPEDIA PROFILE.
6. Ask for the “Group Sales” department
7. Be prepared to give them your name, the team’s name and the number of rooms you are needing. Don’t forget to include the coach’s room in your room total.
8. Put together a list of the hotels where you have reserved blocks with the following information:
a. Hotel Name
b. Hotel Address
c. Nightly Rate
d. Phone Number
e. Group Name
f. Check-in and Check-out Dates
g. Booking Deadline
£ If you don’t already have one, buy a small roller suitcase. Having a small suitcase specifically for tournaments is a good idea because you can easily store in it a bedroom closet and it can take a beating and you don’t care.
SHAMELESS PLUG: If you don’t want the hassle of booking your team’s hotel rooms contact me today.
Throughout the Season
£ You will be putting a lot of miles on your automobile throughout the season. Always stay ahead of scheduled car maintenance. This includes oil changes, tires, tire rotation, turn-ups, etc. Your car will thank you!
£ Reserve your own hotels rooms from the group blocks which have already been reserved.
£ Send reminders when hotel reservation cut off dates are approaching.
Week Before Departure
£ Contact your bank to place a travel notice on your account. Be sure to give them every location your MIGHT be in. For example, if you have a tournament in Ohio and you live in Illinois you should tell them you will also be traveling through Indiana.
£ Tell a trusted neighbor or family member you will be gone. If you have any pets who will be remaining in your home such as cats or fish, see if they will stop in to make sure everything is hunky dory.
£ Check tournament information to see if food is allowed. If so, coordinate bringing food for the players and families.
£ Once the schedules are released, send a summary email to the team with the following info:
o Tournament location & Address
o Tournament Entry Fee Info
o Parking Information
o Tournament Schedule
o Hotel Info
o Team activities – if you are having team dinner or outings during the tournament
Night Before Departure
£ Put a few lights on timers
£ Clean out refrigerator
£ Take out the trash
£ Do your dishes and put them away
£ Depending on your kennel’s hours you might need to take then the night before. If the hours are available, it’s best to take then on your way to work or as you are headed out of town. This will save you a night’s cost.
£ Make sure your purse or Team Mom Bag has the following items in it:
o Driver’s License
o Insurance Card
o Cash for Tournament Entry Fees
o Printed copy of hotel reservations
o Printed copy of tournament schedule
o External Phone Charger
£ Pack for the weekend
£ Pack Player’s Gear
o Uniforms (some sports require multiple uniforms)
o Sport specific equipment (ie. balls, bats, knee pads, sneakers/cleats/skates, gloves, helmets, etc.)
Morning of Departure
£ Pack toiletries – If you touch it in the morning it goes in your toiletries bag
£ If you made breakfast, hand wash the dishes you used and put them away
£ Adjust the thermostat
£ Unplug unnecessary appliances and electronics. Even when some appliances and electronics are turned off they are still pulling electricity. By unplugging them you are not only reducing your electric bill you could also be saving it from a power surge. If there are any electronics which must stay plugged in, make sure they are plugged into surge protectors.
£ Lock all windows and doors
£ Gas up your car
At Departure Time
£ Put bags in the car
£ Pack food, if necessary
£ Turn off all lights except those plugged into timers
£ Turn on any in-home security devices you have
£ Lock Doors
£ Close garage door
When You Arrive Home
I know the last thing you want to do when you come home is chores, but it is important to get the clothes out and wash them. Sweaty uniforms are doubly hard to wash when they have been stuffed in a bag for a few days.
£ Unpack bags
£ Wash laundry – ESPECIALLY UNIFORMS
£ Place luggage and Team Mom Bag in your closet for the next tournament.
If you have done anything on this checklist you will have a worry-free tournament weekend.
Sue Nowicki is an alumna of the 2014/15 Disney Parks Moms Panel. She is a team mom extraordinaire who has filled her time serving as secretary, navigator, head cheerleader, treasurer, athletic trainer and team psychologist for her daughter’s travel sports team for over 15 years before becoming a team owner. She is also a travel consultant for Looking Glass Travel specializing in Disney destinations. You can follow her on Twitter at @JazzinDisneyMom.