Packing tips for the Traveling Athlete

If you are a parent of an athlete you know all too well what life is like on the road during competitions and tournaments.  Every sport that has different levels of competition eventually leads to some sort of travel. For many this is as simple as a road trip and overnight stay somewhere, somewhat close by. Often a coach or parent will load of their van and take a bunch of kids for a road trip, spend a night in a hotel and head home the next day. There are costs involved like the room, gas and food, but for the most part a few hours of fundraising has you covered.  When my kids do competition in our province we car pool and look for the best deals for a room. If many people on the team are staying over we can get a group rate. We also look for hotels that include breakfast and have a pool. The pool keeps the kids entertained at night and helps their achy muscles. 

So what do you do when the travel is a bit further?

My one son is at the competition level where he is traveling throughout Canada and other parts of the world. Being a huge lover of carry on I tried convincing him to carry on his bags for an upcoming trip. However it is reality that this will not be possible for him. The plus side is we do not need to worry too much about liquids, the negative is additional charges.  Do to the additional charges of me flying, he will be traveling alone with his team and I will not be there. This is tough as I like to support him when he is having a good day and be there when he may not be. But he is at an age where he is ok on his own and I just can not always be there. I am thankful he has his phone to keep in touch. 

traveling athlete

The following tips are from our experience with him getting ready for a national competition. Hopefully they can help you and your traveling athlete. 

Pack an extra bag

Like I mentioned I like carry on. If this is possible pack an additional bag just on case for the flight home. Medals, clothes bought at the event and souvenirs will require additional space. Not to mention sweaty , stinky clothes that they were wearing for the days/week away. And if your kids is like mine, the nicely washed and folded clothes will be rolled into a huge ball. 

ID and Money

Photo copy all ID you send just in case it gets lost. Send small bills so your child does not need to worry about change. Give prepaid credit cards, gift cards and a bank card for purchases to lessen the worry about your child carrying cash. 

For the trip during travel

iPods and phones loaded with music, games etc will help kill time during layovers and long flights. Make sure to pack headphones so they do not need to buy any on board. Airplanes do not take cash, credit card only. so if  meal is not purchased, pack snacks. Items that are in their original packaging are ok for travel. No liquids though unless purchased after the security gate.  Any empty sports bottle for water is a great think to pack. It can be filled at water fountains throughout the airport and will save money during competition. 


If your child takes medication you must pack it in its original containers. If it is a prescription, include all info to contact the Dr if needed. Your child’s cell phone should have ICE as a contact In Case of Emergency- with your phone number. Any health concerns or allergies should be mentioned to the supervising adult. Medic alert bracelets are great for giving information when parents are not around. 

Additional items needed

Athletes need items a regular travel doe snot. Be sure to pack extra plastic bags for dirty laundry, also can be used for ice compresses if needed. All hotels have ice machines. we pack a mini first aid kit, bandaids, muscle rub, Tyelnol, allergy meds for seasonal allergies etc. Bandages for muscle compression, sunscreen, toothpaste and other personal items must be packed too. You want to make sure they are covered no matter what. Competitions are not usually held anywhere close to a shopping mall and they will most likely not be able to pick these things up if needed. This is why my son will most likely have to check a bag. 

If you get samples of hygiene products these are great for traveling. Deodorants, shampoos and toothpaste can be found in small travel sizes. For carry on liquids must be under 100mls and kept in a clear bag. You are to place these on the counter for security to see as you go through. Make sure your childs items meet the requirements. You can see Air Canada has more info here


C&D Product

Church & Dwight has a great selection of items that are travel friendly 

  • Arm & Hammer Advanced White toothpaste
  • Arm & Hammer Pro Whitening SpinBrush
  • Arm & Hammer Pro Whitening SpinBrush replacement heads
  • Vitafusion MultiVites
  • Rub A535 Ice Spray
  • Rub A535 Triple Action Cream
  • Gravol Natural Source Filmkote Tablets

These items are all under the required amount fr air travel. Gravol is often needed even for experienced travelers. A change in diet, stress and motion sickness can do a number on ones stomach. For athletes competing the natural Ginger is not only a great choice but does not make them drowsy. 

Make sure your child has a calling card or a phone with unlimited texts or calls (or a really good plan) This allows then to check in and update you on their progress. Plus it eases your mind when they let you know they arrived safely 🙂 

Hopefully some of these tips help you plan for your child’s next getaway! 

Special thank you to Church & Dwight for sending some deserving kids a great care package for their next competition. 



  1. These are all such great tips and I think a lot of them would apply to a regular traveler. Based on my years of traveling both recreational and for work, I strongly believe in packing an extra bag. It's crazy the amount of times I've had to buy a bag while out of country. Good luck to your son and safe travels.

  2. So awesome of Church and Dwight to send care packages for the athletes! Good luck to your son – I hope it all goes well.

  3. MapleMouseMama says

    Although I have not had to pack for an athlete we have taken a few trips. Many of these tips can be shared with any traveler, whether with a family or alone. It never hurts to be over prepared with things like the extra bag for souvenirs and the calling card is a great idea!
    My recent post Venture Out With Guardians Of The Galaxy!

  4. vegetarianmamma says

    Great tips for the traveling athlete! My kiddos aren't there yet but it won't be long!

  5. massholemommy says

    Good tips, mama. My kids are still little, so we haven't had to travel yet, but we might when they get older and I will keep this in mind.

  6. Great tips! We aren't there yet as my boys are really young, but we inevitably will be!

  7. mamatomanyblessings says

    YES! Great products. Add to your list a laundry bag for the sweaty dirty clothes!
    My recent post A Little Girl’s Must Have – Nenuco Me & My Little Sister Playset

  8. doomsdayblaze says

    I can see myself coming back to this post in a decade or so to get some solid tips for my now-9-month old.

    You know. If he does sports. We'll see 🙂
    My recent post I AM NOT A FOODIE: #SamInHand Has Me Cooking With Sam Adams Beer!

  9. Those are definitely things that will come in handy when traveling. I need to get some gravol to have on hand for myself.

  10. Ann Bacciaglia says

    Great tips! I am so excited for your son and your family. Please let us know how he does in this big competition.

  11. Great tips Kim, it is so important to be organized and prepared for the unexpected. Especially for sports and injuries (I always have a 1st for skateboarding kit with me when I travel with my son) and if they are travelling outside of the country. Preparation like is sports makes travel so much easier.
    My recent post WHAT 2 WATCH WED #W2WW Recommendation #26 #EnoughSaid & #SalmonFishingintheYemen @Netflix_CA

  12. Great post. So cool and very helpful. Thanks for the traveling tips.

  13. This is a very good article.
    And still will work for the regular traveler too!
    My recent post When The Heart Calls – The Dance

  14. Great tips. My daughter is going to start softball next year. I played for 7 years.
    My recent post Have you entered 5-hour ENERGY's "Yummification" contest? Check out my Yummification drink!

  15. Great tips. I like the idea of packing an extra bag. Seems like there's always more coming home than going.
    My recent post Teachers Pay Teachers: A+ Resource for School Teachers!

  16. Yep – looks like we pack those things to. And you are right about traveling taking a toll on the stomach.

  17. Perfect post for our family! My son is starting to travel with his basketball team and your tips will come in handy. Thanks for sharing!
    My recent post 3 Must Know Tricks for Healthy Nails

  18. Great list! Hope he has a great time!

  19. Awesome tips and great ideas for what should be in the bag. I'd rather have something and not need it than be searching for a store at an odd time looking for it.
    My recent post Finding Pretty Dresses with cable & gauge

  20. These are great tips!
    My recent post THE Friday Link Party – Show Off Your Pinworthy Projects

Speak Your Mind