Juuuust A Little Bit Outside

Everyone has their reasons for solo traveling, and solo travelers can still enjoy their love of sports by attending games and playing while on the road.

Juuuust A Little Bit Outside

We all know that next week is the Big Game that marks the end of the NFL season. Unfortunately, for us football fans, it might just be the most unexciting matchup in all of professional sports. But let's not dwell on that. As I was thinking about the upcoming event and the countless people who watch games on TV by themselves, I couldn't help but wonder - would you ever consider going to a sporting event alone? Maybe you blend in with the crowd and enjoy the wave when everyone else does, or perhaps you're like me and prefer to sit in the back, cheering with applause when your team scores. If you're a sports fan, traveling solo could be a fantastic opportunity to experience a game and visit a stadium, especially when exploring a new city. Luckily, there are several great options available for attending a game alone, with a group, or even participating in sports yourself.

The Athletic Traveler

If you're a sports enthusiast or enjoy being active, solo traveling for recreation can be a perfect fit for you. For example, if you're a cyclist, solo traveling allows you to explore various landscapes and trails. You can easily rent a bike or bring your own to discover rail trails, belt lines, or bike trails in different destinations. Additionally, cyclists can join group tours with fellow solo travelers or participate in events alongside bicyclists from all over the world. If you're into adventurous activities like kayaking, rock climbing, paragliding, or scuba diving, solo traveling can provide you with the peace and solitude you desire. However, if you prefer the company of others, there are also group competitions you can join. Lastly, if you're a golf lover, solo traveling gives you the opportunity to play at various golf courses worldwide. You can bring your clubs, schedule a tee time, and enjoy a round of golf wherever you go. There are countless ways to embrace your inner athlete while embarking on a solo travel adventure.

a man riding a motorcycle
Photo by Vander Films on Unsplash

Take Yourself Out To The Ballgame

I have a confession to make, i’m a long suffering New York Mets fan. From 2009 until the pandemic hit, I made it a point to attend at least three Mets games each year, usually with my buddies. However, as time went on, life got in the way. Some of us got married and had kids, making it harder to gather a crew for a game. Not to mention, the cost of attending games kept rising, and it's not the most convenient ballpark to visit if you're not from New York City or Long Island. In recent years, i’ve pivoted to attending minor league games on my own, as the Mets have minor league teams that are based in upstate New York that will travel through my region through the year, and I will attend those games. When traveling, I also try to visit ballparks of other teams, even if my team is not playing them.

Even though I am a Mets fan, one of my all time favorite experiences was at Progressive Field in Cleveland back in 2021. It was a Friday night game between the Cleveland Indians (they have since changed the name to Guardians), and the Kansas City Royals. A few former Mets were on the Indians, so naturally I rooted for the Indians that night. I bought “standing room only” tickets, and walked around the ballpark, enjoyed a few beers and sampled the best parts of the game. The climax came when Cleveland secured a thrilling victory. The atmosphere was absolutely electric. Throughout the game, I kept my college friends in the loop by sending them updates, photos, and videos via our group text. It turned the experience into a shared one, even though I was surrounded by unfamiliar faces. This serves as a wonderful example of how technology enables us to keep our friends and family informed about our solo travels. Above all, it emphasizes the significance of maintaining human connections.

I tell this story to illuminate the point that as a solo traveler, you can easily attend games for any sport you love and enjoy. It may be a more relaxed and unique experience compared to going with friends, but it's definitely doable. Thanks to mobile ticketing options provided by the team or through secondary sellers like Stubhub or SeatGeek, buying tickets has become incredibly convenient. You'll often find single seat tickets available, sometimes even more than group tickets! Additionally, many teams and leagues offer "standing room only" tickets, which are the most affordable way to enter the ballpark. With these tickets, you have the freedom to explore, find an open seat, and enjoy the game from a distance.

The Itinerant Fan blog had a great post on attending sporting events while solo traveling, and explained the “single seat” options available:

Ever heard of the single-rider line at Disneyland? Basically, if you’re willing to ride an attraction alone, you can cut the line. This way, rides enjoy a fuller capacity and don’t operate with empty seats thanks to, say, a five-person party getting into a car that can hold six.
The same principle can benefit you at sporting events. You’ve surely scanned the ticket portal for a particular game and seen only single seats. For most people, that’s a deal-breaker, but if you’re going alone — or, if you’re willing to break up your party for the game — now you can get in. And quite often the single tickets are in prime seating areas.
Not to mention, many teams will make single seats available at a discount for upcoming games (usually they’ll do this on the day of the game or the day before), and ticketholders looking to offload a single will post them on the secondary market at huge markdowns. Yup, attend a game alone and you can save!

In my experience, if you’re interested in attending a local game, check out the website of the team to see what type of seating options are offered. Personally, I find the "swivel seats" to be fantastic as they provide extra space for getting in and out, along with ample room for food and drinks. However, it's important to note that this type of seating is not commonly available. In most cases, I tend to book a "standing room only" ticket or, if the price is reasonable, a single seat ticket. I generally wear my Mets hat, and will often cheer on the local team, unless they’re playing my team of course!

Charlie Sheen Film GIF

Group Tours

You can also make use of group tours to attend football, baseball, hockey, and basketball events, just like adventure travel. It's a fantastic choice for those who feel uncomfortable going to games alone, and you'll have the added bonus of being surrounded by other passionate fans. If you're planning a trip and your team happens to be playing at a nearby stadium, this option is perfect. Typically, it includes game tickets and transportation, and some even offer pre-game food in a "tailgate style" setup. Some companies also provide the option to include a hotel stay, which is worth considering and booking in advance. MyFunBus, Sports Traveler, and OnLocationExp are some great options to explore. However, keep in mind that these tours are usually for larger events, so you'll find more availability for games on weekends rather than during the week between non-rival major league teams.

grayscale photo of bus
Photo by Andy Kuo on Unsplash

Closing Thoughts

The beauty of solo traveling lies in the freedom to craft your own extraordinary adventures. These moments become integral parts of your overall solo travel story. Chances are, you're already embracing these incredible opportunities. Adventure travel can involve thrilling activities such as kayaking, scuba diving, or even teeing off at some of the world's finest golf courses. Alternatively, you can immerse yourself in the city or area you're exploring by strolling or cycling along its captivating "rail trails." Whether you're in a city for work, exploring museums, or visiting a Presidential Library or National Park, it's always a delightful surprise when the local baseball team has a home game during your stay. If you're visiting a friend, you can even persuade them to join you for a game, or simply relish the experience on your own. Regardless of the circumstances, you're likely already embracing all these adventures without even realizing it. That's the allure of solo traveling – it expands your mind and unlocks endless possibilities. Perhaps that's why it's gaining popularity!

woman in black one piece swimsuit jumping on swimming pool during daytime
Photo by B Mat an gelo on Unsplash