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Sporting Events to Check Out When Traveling

Sporting Events to Check Out When Traveling

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.

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Featured image via Flickr by ttoes

About Will Tang

Will is a travel blogger writing for Going Awesome Places. Since quitting his consulting job in 2012 he's been travelling the world and along the way writing about his epic adventures and taking amazing photos. His true passion lies in telling stories, inspiring others to travel, writing detailed trip itineraries for others to follow and providing helpful tips and tricks to travel better. Also the founder behind Travel Blog Breakthrough and freelance writer for Hipmunk and currently working on the #‎HipmunkCityLove Project.


  1. Will, we went to the Sumo on our recent visit to Tokyo – it was a great experience! We also went to a baseball match in Tokyo which was awesome – there was a full crowd and they totally got into it all!

    Regarding sports in Australia, you may not be aware that both the National Rugby League (NRL) and the Australian Football League (AFL) grand finals are usually held on the same weekend in September each year – crazy but awesome! the NRL is in Sydney and the AFL is in Melbourne.

    We love attending local sporting events when we travel – it is a great way to participate in the local culture!
    Anne Sutherland-Smith recently posted…Review: The CitySlider Street Water SlideMy Profile

    • Oh I am so jealous! I went to Japan at the wrong time last time I was there so I wasn’t able to catch it. Rugby wise, I don’t know a whole lot but would love to be part of some of those big events. Have you ever been??

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