The intersection of sports and travel isn’t always the most obvious when you’re planning a trip but when you’re able to make it work, it’s a wonderful thing. There’s something exhilarating about finding yourself figuring out a new sport, learning ridiculous new chants, and rooting for a team you just found out about. Professional sports exist in almost every place you can travel to so why not make your next trip a little interesting.
Sumo in Japan
Image via Flickr by davidgsteadman
Now this is something I’ve always wanted to do. There’s nowhere else in the world where you can watch a match involving two oversized men duke it out. Sumo is really a Japanese style of wrestling where the first person to exit the ring or touch the ground with any part of the body besides his feet loses. While matches typically last seconds, there are a lot of rituals in between to keep you entertained.
The trick is to make sure you visit Japan at the right time of the year. Tournaments are held in Tokyo (January, May, and September), Osaka (March), Nagoya (July), and Fukuoka (November). If you’re interested in going to a match, the biggest tip is to book online in advance.
Rugby in Australia
Image via Flickr by mornnb
I, for one, don’t understand the sport of rugby, but if there was a chance for me to attend a game, I would be all over it. Turns out, Sydney is a great place to watch a game with 9 of the 12 teams of the National Rugby League (NRL) in the city. In many ways, I hear that rugby games are very close to football games here in North America, except instead of hotdogs you have meat pies.
Most rugby stadiums are accessible by public transportation, so it should be easy to get from your hotel in Sydney to a match. For non-championship games, buy tickets online without too much time in advance. Alternatively, many travelers have a lot of luck just showing up to the grounds and buying a ticket on the spot.
Tennis in London
Image via Flickr by pete_edgeler
Part of NatGeo’s Top 10 Sporting Events, Wimbledon is the most prestigious tennis event in the world and the only one played on natural turf. Just picture yourself in the stands watching the last serve as one of the 50,000 spectators that collectively hold their breath. Even if you’re not a big fan of tennis, an afternoon under the summer sun with strawberries and cream, a glass of chilled Pimms, and a cup of afternoon tea doesn’t sound too shabby at all.
Getting tickets to this grand spectacle is a mission on its own. There are three ways to get tickets. One involves entering your name into a ballot for a chance to buy tickets, another through Ticketmaster, and lastly there’s good old-fashioned queuing the day of.
These are just three of the major sporting events around the world that are must-see, but there’s so much more. What about hockey in Canada, soccer in Europe, baseball in the US, cricket in India? Seeing and experience the real thing is so much different from watching it on TV.
Want to save this for later when you plan your next trip? Pin it onto your travel board.
Featured image via Flickr by ttoes