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After going to my first baseball game at Tiger Stadium in Detroit, Mich., I was hooked. I told my father that I wanted to visit other stadiums to really get a feel for the game, and he provided me with the challenge of a lifetime: Visit all 30 Major League Baseball (MLB) stadiums in the United States and Canada.
This was something I wanted to do before starting my final year of college while I still had the finances and the free time. So, two of my close friends and I began planning our journey. And as the school semester came to a close, we rushed through our final exams, packed our bags and headed east to start crossing stadiums off our list. In order to keep hospitality costs low, we simply stayed in campgrounds instead of forking over the dough for a hotel.
If you're thinking about tackling a similar agenda, here's how to do it:
Do Your Research
Sure, a good portion of our adventure was based on spur-of-the-moment ideas, but we were sure to do our research ahead of time, too. Sites like Ballparks of Baseball provide in-depth information about each MLB field and the surrounding area, including everything from parking to local landmarks and tourist attractions. Have a plan in place detailing where to head once you roll into town.
In order to make the trip affordable, we created a budget for all our expenses including the costs of parking, camping, food, tickets and gas. If you're traveling with friends, split costs wherever you can; it'll be cheaper for everyone involved. Find cheaper game tickets online at StubHub or fan sale sites, but don't worry about where you are sitting; just enjoy the baseball atmosphere.
Pack Your Lunches
When preparing for the trip, Fuelzee reminded us to avoid unnecessary meal costs. Eating lunch on the road seems cheap at first, but we quickly learned that filling up the cooler with packed sandwiches was more affordable than a five dollar hot dog (don't get us wrong, we still enjoyed some affordable local dining along the way).
Find Affordable Fun
While our time in each city was limited, we still wanted to get the most out of the journey. Whether it's visiting monuments in Washington D.C. or walking through Central Park in the Big Apple, find sites unique to the area that won't burn a hole in your wallet.
After nine days of driving, the three of us had visited eight Major League Baseball parks starting in Cleveland, Ohio, and ending over our northern border in Toronto, Ontario. The trip totaled more than 3,100 miles with 45 hours spent on the road between stadiums (including our return to Detroit, Michigan).
Here’s the final roundup of the stadiums we were able to visit:
|Toronto Blue Jays vs. Cleveland Indians||Progressive Field||Cleveland, Ohio.|
|New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox||Fenway Park||Boston, Mass.|
|Miami Marlins vs. Washington Nationals||Nationals Park||Washington D.C.|
|Cincinnati Reds vs. Pittsburg Pirates||PNC Park||Pittsburg, Pa.|
|Baltimore Orioles vs. New York Mets||Citi Field||New York, N.Y.|
|Baltimore Orioles vs. New York Yankees||Yankee Stadium||New York, N.Y.|
|New York Mets vs. Philadelphia Phillies||Citizens Bank Park||Philadelphia, Pa.|
|Boston Red Sox vs. Toronto Blue Jays||Rodgers Centre||Toronto, ON.|
Looking back, I wish I would have documented our experience throughout the trip because it's a story I continue -- and will continue -- to tell. Don't let your finances hold you back -- use available resources and start planning the road trip of your dreams.