Summer road trips and baseball go together like an RV and the road. If you’ve got at least six weeks where you can travel the open highway, why not hit all 30 major league ballparks, take in the games and bask in the local nightlife while sampling the local cuisine? Start anytime between opening day in April and season’s end in September. Plan your routes, budget and pack the RV for a road trip that will provide a lifetime of memories.
Check Schedules, Buy Tickets
Peruse the major league baseball web site to get up-to-date information on schedules, stadium seating and ticket pricing. Click on each of the 30 baseball icons to go straight to each ballclub’s ticket center and schedules. You can even order from your smart phone and have the ticket delivered straight to your email. Eight clubs currently deliver tickets to your mobile device: the Cincinnati Reds, Kansas City Royals, Pittsburgh Pirates, Texas Rangers, Detroit Tigers, Oakland A’s, San Francisco Giants and the Washington Nationals. The average ticket price is nearly $27, so when you budget, make sure you round it up to $30 to give you a cushion for sudden price hikes. You can either buy all your tickets ahead of time or buy as you go. It may be risky buying ahead of time as road trips are notorious for unexpected time delays for RV maintenance or extra time in a town that you enjoy.
Plan Your Route
Now that you have your tickets, it’s time to plan your routes to each stadium so you’re not backtracking., wasting gas and precious time. Find ball fields clustered in one area, hit all of those before going on to the next region. Most of the ballparks are on the east coast. They get sparser as you head into the Midwest. Once you hit the west coast you have to decide whether to end in Washington State or Southern California. Either way, prepare to put around 13-14,000 miles on your RV, minimum.
Give Me Your Money
Money seems to fly out of your pocket when you’re on a road trip, especially an extended one like a national baseball RV tour. Careful budgeting is key to making your vacation a safer, less worrisome trip. Over-budget, not under-budget, and you will have a small cushion for emergencies and those unexpected side trips that make RV’ing so memorable. Eating at ballparks is very expensive, unless you get a $1 hotdog at a Phillies game. Gas fluctuates wildly these days. Plan on gas being more expensive near exits no matter what region you’re in. Note that there’s over 5200 miles of toll roads in the United States and prices vary widely.
Gas Buddy: Local Gas Prices and Locations
On your off days, unless you want to simply laze around in your RV, take time to explore your locale. This need not cost an arm and a leg if you budget carefully. Walks through pretty parks, window shopping downtown, stopping for some city flavor, and chatting up the locals all make for interesting side trips. Planning for more expensive excursions to museums, planetariums, amusement parks and zoos requires research beforehand to determine pricing and hours. If you’re tired of sleeping in your RV, you might find a hotel with a hot tub or an indoor swimming pool and catch your favorite shows while lounging around in a hotel room for a night or two.
Remembering Where You’ve Been
When you’re planning your trip, run to the store and grab two or three multi-pocket storage folders with at least 30 pockets total. Label each pocket with a ballpark. After you visit each destination, throw the ticket stubs, souvenirs and photos into the pocket for a neatly organized catalogue of where you’ve been. For the computer or mobile device savvy traveler, create a blog or website that you can update with each stadium’s adventures. Don’t forget to keep the pictures of you eating that chili dog that just dripped down your shirt! The more candid your photos are, the more fun the memories.