As a basketball coach, you spend a lot of your time during the season planning practices, building game plans, and working with players on developing skills. With all of that to take care of, chances are you haven’t had too much time to plan how you’re going to get to your away games.
However, the responsibility of planning sports team transportation comes with being a coach. Here’s the good news: We’re making travel planning easy for you this year with our no-nonsense guide and checklist to planning your team’s travels. Good luck this season, coach!
There are many advantages to managing transportation with a basketball team versus a football or baseball team. A basketball team has a smaller roster and much less equipment, meaning you can save money by renting a smaller bus with less storage space.
With five starters plus reserves and a few coaches, one of our smaller buses will be enough to accommodate your team. A minibus rental seats around 21 and is our cheapest option, great for short trips. For a few more frills and a bit more space, go with the mini coach bus, which includes more luxurious seats and Wi-Fi. Be sure to consult our Quick Guide to Choosing a Bus Type, which features an easy-to-read infographic to help you make your decision.
If you find that your team is a bit too small for bus travel this year, it may be worthwhile to look into renting a sprinter van. A sprinter van is a type of passenger vehicle that can comfortably fit up to 15 players as well as their sports gear. Bus.com offers both chauffeured and non-chauffeured sprinter van rentals.
It’s important to take stock of your locker room and make a list of the equipment that’ll need to travel with your team. You want your games on the road to have all the comforts of home games, so take advantage of the extra storage space a coach bus offers by packing all of the basketball essentials with you.
Apparel & Footwear
- Practice & game day shoes
- Game and practice shorts
- Game and practice jersey
- Leg sleeves
- Shooter sleeves
- Compression shorts
- Warmup tracksuit
- Sports bra
- Practice basketballs
- Ball pump & needle
- Training aids
- Team duffle bags
- Water bottles
- Athletic tape
- First aid kit
- Sports drinks
When taking your team on the road, it may be beneficial to stay overnight and avoid a long drive immediately before or after the game. If you book a hotel the night before a game, you can enforce a team curfew, and if you stay after the game, you can properly celebrate after a big W! Plus, you’ll eliminate the need to rush to beat traffic or get on the road before dark.
When booking accommodations for an entire team, you’ll want to keep your players, coaches, and parents all together. The best way to do that is to book a hotel room block: a designated number of rooms reserved for your team in one area of a hotel. While sports teams can be a burden on a hotel, there are particular chains that we know to be sports team-friendly. Reach out to Best Western, as they’re known to sponsor sports teams and offer discounted rates. Holiday Inn Express also provides discounts for youth teams, and they have a Parents’ Lounge where Moms and Dads can hang between games. La Quinta specializes in large groups, and is a sleek offering for those with higher standards.
Planned pit stops
While our mini coach buses are ultra-comfy for a long trip, you’ll still want to schedule in some pit stops to let your players out to stretch their legs and use the bathroom before they get too restless. These stops should be embedded into your trip planning to forecast an accurate ETA. Take a look at the map before you leave so you can try and incorporate your stop locations as conveniently as possible. While you might be tempted to stop in a big city where you can take some time to walk around, keep in mind that you’ll need to find a place to park your bus and let your players out safely.
Get some sight-seeing in
Depending on the location of your away game, plan some fun activities away from the court for an unforgettable team bonding experience.
New York City
It’s the City That Never Sleeps for a reason — you don’t have to look far for excitement in one form or another. Take in a Broadway show, stroll through Central Park, or bask in the bright lights of Times Square.
Basketball arenas in NYC
How about paying a visit to the most famous arena in the world? Catch a Knicks game at Madison Square Garden, and if they’re not in town, chances are you’ll have the opportunity to catch a Rangers game or a Billy Joel concert, at the very least.
Just like the bright lights of Broadway, La La Land brings the glitz and glamour, too. Your athletes might get a kick out of Muscle Beach near Santa Monica Pier – it is the birthplace of the 1980s’ neon Spandex-clad physical exercise boom, after all. Don’t forget about all the other beaches LA has to offer, too.
Basketball arenas in LA
Much like Madison Square Garden, the Staples Center is a legendary arena that hosts events just about every night. The NBA’s iconic Lakers team call it home and its flavour-of-the-moment Clippers both play their home games here at LA Live.
Basketball arenas in Miami
AmericanAirlines Arena was the one-time home of basketball legends LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, and has witnessed not one, not two, but three NBA championship games that they’ve won playing with the Heat in the last 15 years.
Athletes have big appetites, and SF is the burrito capital of America – need we say more? Head down to the Mission district for some of the top burrito spots – we recommend Taqueria El Farolito or El Metate. Then, burn it off with a team hike over the Golden Gate Bridge. Or just check out everything else that San Francisco has to offer.
Basketball arenas in San Francisco
In the nearby Mission Bay district, you’ll find the brand new home of the greatest basketball dynasty of this generation: The Golden State Warriors. In October 2019, the three-time champions moved over the bridge from Oakland into the Chase Center.
How about this for a food and exercise combo: Chow down on Montreal’s legendary smoked meat sandwiches at Schwartz’s, followed by an arduous climb up the iconic Mount Royal to get an unbeatable view of the city skyline. Whether you’re looking to play or party, Montreal has it all.
Basketball arenas in Montreal
Montreal doesn’t have a pro basketball team, but the Bell Centre is a regular host for Toronto Raptors preseason games as well as performative shows put on by the Harlem Globetrotters. While MTL doesn’t have its own home team, basketball’s original roots run through this city: James Naismith was McGill University’s first athletic director before inventing basketball in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1891.
Canada’s closest comparison to New York City is The 6ix, home of – as you probably already know – the Toronto Raptors. Oh, and rapper Drake. Toronto’s become a cultural hub of the Great North, with plenty to do and see no matter the time of year. And there’s always something going on at Nathan Phillips Square.
Basketball arenas in Toronto
The defending NBA champion Toronto Raptors are sure to be a hot ticket this year at Scotiabank Arena. They’ve lost their big star, Kawhi Leonard, but they’ve replaced him with a new attraction that he helped install: A winning NBA championship banner.
Ready to plan your team’s bus trip itinerary? Get started now.