The art of combining sports and travel

The art of combining sports and travel

Whether it’s a golf getaway, a ski retreat or a biking/hiking adventure, sports vacations are becoming increasingly popular. So, if you’re considering it, SSQ has some helpful information to help you plan yours.

To book or not to book with a specialized travel agency?

When planning your first sports vacation, is it better to go with a specialized travel agency or just plan everything yourself?

The answer depends on you and your personal preferences… as well as your organizational skills.

The advantages of a travel agency

When booking with a specialized travel agency, everything is taken care of for you (even your luggage transfers) and you take advantage of their expertise and knowledge of the destination. They will tell you everything you need to know to make your sports vacation a great one.

These agencies also work with experienced local guides and professionals who will help you get organized when you reach your destination. If ever you have a problem or want to change your plans, you are never left to your own devices.


When doing it yourself, you have to plan every single thing in order to make sure your trip is to your satisfaction.

Get ready to do a lot of homework: reading, Internet searches and getting advice from online communities that share your passion.

Despite all the planning that a solo trip entails, many sports travellers enjoy the challenge of having to rely exclusively on themselves, of having to overcome their own fears and doubts as well as of having to learn to deal with snags while travelling.

With a group or on your own?

If you book through a travel agency, you’ll have the option of going with a group or on your own.

Would you rather be part of a collective whose shared drive will motivate you to push yourself past your limits? Or would you rather practice your favourite sport at your own pace?

The answer will have a lot to do with the sport you practice and your personality.

The advantages of group travel

  • You pay less
  • You let others take care of everything
  • You are never alone
  • You meet people who share your passion

The advantages of solo travel

  • You make every decision
  • You choose who you travel with
  • You avoid having to compromise or negotiate
  • You travel at your speed and according to what you like

Book early

If you enjoy booking last-minute deals (at a discount), think again when booking a sports vacation.

On this type of trip, you get discounts when you book at least 6 months in advance, not at the last minute.

Booking early also means having the freedom to choose everything you want:

  • Room type (some types fill up faster than others)
  • Flight times
  • Airline (flying with one company means you reduce the risk of losing your luggage and equipment)

Be in peak physical form

A sports vacation is physically demanding and you must be prepared for it.

Losing an entire day because your body is too tired to keep up is never fun. Start a workout plan that you know you can stick to.

Eat right

Wherever you go, be mindful of what you eat! In some places, you’ll want to avoid ice, fruits and vegetables, especially if you think they might do a numberon your digestion.

Don’t leave home without travel insurance

Insurance companies now offer products tailored to thrill-seekers travelling to practice their favourite sport or activity, whether solo or for a foreign team.

Insurers will even adapt their travel insurance coverage to cover the most likely injuries the sport can cause.

Before leaving, make sure the luggage insurance amount covers the replacement cost of all your expensive equipment.

Here’s a tip: when shopping for travel insurance, be sure not to leave out any details. Clearly state the purpose of your trip so that the agent will be able to recommend the best coverage.

You wouldn’t want to have to take an emergency flight back home, only to realize that you weren’t covered for it.

The luggage conundrum

If you’re just planning a week of beach yoga, you really don’t have to worry about the logistics of packing your yoga mat.

However, when it comes to golf, skiing, biking or any other sport that requires large equipment, things can get complicated…

In fact, each airline has its own restrictions that apply to these items.

It’s therefore wise to ask your airline about their packing instructions, size and weight tolerances as well as any extra fees they may charge.

No one wants to leave their personal sporting equipment behind.

Be prepared

Travellers don’t want to be out of options should they lose their luggage, especially on the way to their destination.

That’s why it’s important to pack the bare minimum in your carry-on.

However, make sure that the items you need to pack are not banned from planes, like compressed air tanks for bike tires. What can you do when they are? Find a sporting goods store at your destination to help you get the equipment you need.


Renting sporting equipment is a viable option.

The advantage is you don’t have to worry about your airline’s policy on such items. Plus, you’ll know that the equipment is adapted to the local conditions. For instance, most skiers in Quebec use skis that are designed for well-groomed slopes. If you plan to ski the Alps, you may want to use equipment that is designed for the conditions there…

Stéphanie Morneau, sports traveller

SSQ has its fair share of semi-pro athletes, like Stéphanie Morneau.

An avid runner and triathlon enthusiast, Stéphanie loves to go on sports vacations. For her, packing her bags means she’s participating in a swimming, cycling or running competition.

She kindly accepted to give us her 5 best sports vacation tips:

  • Arrive a few days early to get acclimated to your new environment, that way you will be in peak form when you go into competition mode.
  • Make sure your competition is in the first few days of your arrival so you can spend the rest of your time relaxing.
  • Pack extra gear in case something breaks while on vacation.
  • Take your bike apart before leaving and write notes to help you put it back together (seat height, pedals, etc.) – don’t try to be a mechanic and calibrate your bike while on vacation.
  • Bring snacks and energy bars instead of buying them there, especially if you like a specific brand or flavour – why risk not being able to find them?


Article written with:
Stéphanie Morneau, SSQ employee