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Big Bucks Spent on Traveling Sports [AUDIO]

A child’s love for a sport can be very expensive for parents, particularly when that sport isn’t related to school. More and more families are learning the financial strain that comes with having a kid on a traveling sports team.

youth gymnastics
Dean Mouhtaropoulos, Getty Images

For ten years, Montclair resident Alison Bermack and her husband have been supporting their son’s passion for gymnastics. When he was younger, travel wouldn’t go beyond state lines, but the competition region expanded as the years went by. Bermack said she spends an average of $6,000 per year to keep her son flipping, plus any incidentals like gas and tolls.

“It’s been about $300 a month just for use of the gym and the training,” Bermack said. “Additionally, we spend money on uniforms — probably several hundred dollars per year.”

A day or weekend trip, though, means money spent on overnight stays and several meals. Participants are also charged a fee to be part of a national organization and take part in the different events.

Bermack noted her son also dealt with a major injury twice, resulting in $30 physical therapy co-pays three times a week for several months, and many of the event fees weren’t reimbursed.

“You do what you need to do for your kid if he’s passionate about something,” Bermack said. “He tells me he sees the world upside-down.”

The travel sports movement has become so big that, similar to how they handle weddings, hotels surrounding arenas have been offering “block rates” for anyone who chooses their accommodations for the night or weekend.

Diane Wieland, director of the Cape May County Department of Tourism, said her region notices a significant uptick in restaurant, hotel and retail activity when traveling sports come to play.

“The beach has been a big draw in bringing in these types of events,” Wieland said. “It generates a lot of people who participate, as well as their families and spectators who come to see it.”

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