Being a mother of 2 boys who play both school and AAU basketball, I have to say that I absolutely love every moment and experience of AAU basketball. AAU basketball has a certain intensity and exciting environment that stays with you forever. However, when my boys first started playing on the AAU level, my husband and I were certainly not aware or ready for what we were about to face (evil laugh).
Unfortunately, there aren’t any social groups or blogs to help you become better informed of what to expect as a first time or new AAU travel parent…..until now!!! Thanks, Baller Mom Blog!
Ok, back to the spill. Basketball moms are not the ones doing suicides on the court, going over plays every day, or playing for 24+ tough minutes a game. However, we do dedicate countless hours of travel time and money. Did I mention that we spend money? I mean bring out the Benjamins.
In AAU travel ball, you will be responsible to pay a fee to play, which can range from $350-$1000+ (depending on the team). The fees to play do not include transportation, lodging accommodations and entry into daily games. Expect many tournament games to be played in and out of state for the weekend. Therefore, you’ll need to make plans to book transportation and lodging. Trust me, you do not want to be shacked up in a rinky dink motel, because you did not plan properly. Over the years, I have found great ways to plan for out of state tournaments to help cut down the costs.
Fundraise: Fundraisers are great ways to get the team involved to help reduce individual team
members fees to play. You can always do a raffle off a gift card or use a Krispy Kreme fundraiser. You can even have the team do a car wash event. There are plenty of ways to get creative and fundraise. Teams can split the cost of the fundraiser and apply the funds to the fees.
Travel Discount Websites: Travelocity, Priceline, Expedia, and Hotwire are good websites to
search for travel deals and packages, but I have always used my employer discount website or
College Alumni website to find the best deals on rentals cars and hotels. You’ll be surprised with the discount that your employer will provide.
Are you crafty? If there are things that you craft, sell those items. If you are a great cook, you
can make platters and sell them to help cover the travel ball fees.
Sponsors: Family members can make great sponsors. Ask a few family members to donate so
your child can play. Any amount that your family can give will add up and help the overall cost.
Carpool or Share a room: There may be another parent that will be willing to split the cost of
transportation and/or hotel during the duration of the AAU season. Consult with other parents
on the team to see who would be willing to split cost for the travel games.
Call the Hotel: Ask the manager or front desk clerk for the current discounts. You may get a
better deal than what may be listed on the hotel’s website or travel discount site.
PLAN AHEAD OF TIME: This is the most important tip that I could give. Last minute planning often leads to higher prices for hotel and rental car costs. Use the coupons books for local restaurants or fun activities that are provided by the hotel.
There are ways to cut down the cost of AAU travel basketball. The AAU circuit is worth every penny, in my opinion. My sons have the best experiences with their teammates and have made long lasting friendships. AAU will introduce your child to many basketball opportunities. Remember, look for ways to cut the cost of fees, and enjoy every experience it will offer you and your child.
VERY SPECIAL THANKS TO BALLERMOM BLOG CONTRIBUTOR LAUREN JACKSON