The NCAA College Basketball Tournament is a month long love affair with basketball. Teams compete for the ultimate prize of tournament champion, and fans get to enjoy the camaraderie and excitement of watching their favorite teams play all over the U.S. tapping her adventures following her favorite college sports team around the country, Twins TravelingMom shares her best tips for experiencing March Madness no matter where your travels take you.
What is March Madness?
March Madness, or the “Big Dance,” is the term most commonly used to describe the almost month-long NCAA basketball tournament. This tournament takes place each year in the United States. Colleges and universities from all over the country play each year in hopes of being crowned the NCAA College Basketball Champion. Teams are selected based on their seasonal record, strength of schedule, and a selection committee that chooses at-large bids. Games are single-elimination style and are played in various locations throughout the country until the final game is played in a selected host city each year.
Traveling During March Madness
March Madness travel allows fans to follow their favorite team wherever they may roam. Sometimes, teams and their fans get to travel to new and exciting destinations as they play their way through their opponents.
The NCAA Basketball Tournament begins its preliminary rounds by dividing up into regions, which can make for more family friendly traveling experiences (i.e., less “family bonding” time on those long, exhausting car rides). Teams from each region play their first few games near their hometowns before heading out to the predesignated arenas for the final rounds of match-ups.
March Madness Host Cities
Traveling around the country is its own adventure. Family travel brings a different element to the table when it comes to sporting events. Before or after the game, considerations need to be made for those in the group that may need a break from the sports fan atmosphere. From Milwaukee to Orlando to Phoenix, each city boasts unique and exciting activities that will round out your tournament experience.
This year’s host cities are:
- Salt Lake City
- Kansas City
- San Jose
- New York
Traveling Moms Have Been There
Our team of Traveling Mom writers has already “been there.” We have several useful tips and ideas to make the trip worthwhile, outside of the tournament itself.
- Last Minute TravelingMom Jenn shares How to Visit Orlando without Going to Disney World.
- Are you bringing the kids? Teaching TravelingMom, Kirsten, wrote several great pieces on What to Do in Milwaukee with Kids, the Best Family Activities in Phoenix, and Family Experiences in Indianapolis.
- Robin Hutson, Mindful TravelingMom, can help you plan an amazing 24 Hours in Tulsa, Oklahoma With or Without Kids.
- Fun Free Things to Do in Sacramento by Maria, our Multigenerational TravelingMom, is a fantastic resource for fans on a budget.
- Mimi, Los Angeles TravelingMom, has a helpful article about Best Things to Do in Kansas City with Kids-Missouri and Kansas.
- My article, 5 Family Fun Spots in Memphis, Tennessee, will assist you in determining how you can incorporate your family into your travels.
- Greenville Without Spending Any Green: 6 Family Activities penned by Judy, Vegetarian TravelingMom, is another beneficial, budget-friendly resource.
- Traveling to NYC with a family? After reading Smarty Pants TravelingMom Caroline’s New York City Family Travel Simplified with the New York City Pass, NYC travel doesn’t sound daunting after all.
Best Tips for March Madness Travel
After plans have been made for experiences and activities outside of the tournament, it’s time to plan for the game itself. Traveling fans will want to know information like how to get the best seat in the house, what there is to do for kids at the arenas, and where to score the best deals on game tickets. After polling the TravelingMom family, these were some of the best tips we came up with:
- For tickets, search Groupon, Living Social, or other deal sites for the best prices. Beware of unofficial ticket sellers at the games that may or may not be selling counterfeit tickets!
- Try to plan ahead as much as possible, especially for hotel rooms. College students may snap up last minute hotel rooms leaving other fans without one.
- Use public transportation where applicable. Parking at stadiums is often quite costly. Riding the bus, trolley, or subway allows for more flexible spending inside the arenas.
- Additionally, purchase team spirit gear before heading to the tournament venues. Prices on team gear take a significant hike once you arrive for the game.
- Reach out to your college or university and see if they are offering group travel packages. Some travel packages include everything like accommodations, transportation, tickets, and meals. Other packages may just include accommodations and tickets, but the deals might be more budget friendly. You won’t know if you don’t ask!
Which team(s) will you be following in the tournament this year? Share your best tips with us for making March Madness travel an unforgettable family experience! Don’t forget to fill out your bracket for added fun and competition between your family members!