Travelling is great. You can see a new country, explore an intriguing destination and experience everything that comes with that, from culinary delights to a bevy of history and culture.
But what you travel for usually dictates what you can do on your tip. Travelling for work leaves little time to explore, travelling to catch up with friends can be hectic, but travelling with the intention of catching a sporting event is a different kettle of fish. You have to be truly dedicated to a sports team or a sport itself to hop on a plane and travel hundreds, maybe even thousands, of miles in order to attend an event in person but for most, once you’re there it’s all worth. Nothing beats that feeling of being in the crowd, taking part in the action and soaking up the atmosphere.
So, how do you make the most out of a sporting trip? Travelling always involves some expense, whether that be time, money or energy, so you want to make the most out of a holiday abroad. Attending a sports event - however thrilling - is somewhat restrictive, so planning ahead can means that you see more of your destination away from the stadium. Here are some sporting experiences you can try.
USA: American football
Along with the start of autumn, comes the beginning of America’s biggest sporting season, as the 32 teams of the National Football League start the fight to make the annual Super Bowl. Watching football in the fall has become a tradition that even rivals the favourite all-American pastime of baseball, with crowds turning out in their droves to enthusiastically support their favourite teams.
Whilst it may seem a long way to travel for an American football game, this truly is an awe-inspiring experience. With entertainment in the form of cheerleaders and mascots working the crowd, a smorgasbord of delicious snacks to try and a buzzing atmosphere that tailgate parties create, it doesn’t even compare to a televised game viewed at home.
North America is also a brilliant place to be as the seasons change from summer to autumn. As well as the NFL games, there’re pumpkin patches to visit, pumpkin-spiced everything to eat, and plenty of spooky experiences themed around Halloween. An autumnal holiday to the US is guaranteed to have something for everybody to enjoy!
Multiple countries: Formula 1
Formula 1 racing is synonymous with glitz, glamour and outrageous luxury, with Monaco perhaps taking the title as most desirable grand prix destination, where the micronation is transformed into a racing track for the weekend.
However, the most recent race in the F1 2018 World Championship takes place in Suzuka, Japan – a place famous for its distinctive figure-of-eight circuit. It is the main attraction in this area of Mie Prefecture, but there is plenty more to do if you wanted to stay for a few days after the race. In Suzuka, you’ll have the perfect opportunity to see a less-publicised side to a beautiful country that is often centred on the megacity of Tokyo in travel brochures.
Suzuka city itself is on the edge of two national parks, Ise-no-Umi Prefectural National Park and Suzuka Quasi-National Park. Like much of rural Japan, it is a mountainous region, so it’s a great place to visit if you’re a fan of hiking. It’s worth taking a few days away from the frenzy of the track in order to explore the quiet of nature here.
Multiple countries: Olympic Games
Of course, the ultimate sporting event to attend is the Olympic Games. Whether summer or winter sports are your thing, this is a once in a lifetime experience not to be missed. 2020 will see the summer games return to Tokyo, Japan, while the 2022 winter games will be hosted in Beijing, China for the first time – a city that hosted the summer games in 2008.
The best thing about the Olympics is the variety of sports available to watch, and the differing host venues every four years. It’s your chance to see the best athletes in the world compete on one of sport’s biggest stages.
While the Beijing bustle can be a little intimidating, the Winter Olympics will give you a base from which to explore and take in all the fascinating sights around the Chinese capital. Visiting during the Olympics also guarantees that there’ll be plenty of unique celebrations on show throughout the city.
Travelling the world doesn’t always have to be a relaxing excursion. Following your favourite athlete or sports team to a new location is a just as valid a reason to cross borders as visiting a beautiful beach, while having the dual benefit of providing you with an extraordinary sporting experience as well as the opportunity to expand your horizons immerse yourself in a different culture.