Most travelers fill up their itineraries with sights and attractions, shopping, and dining. Sports are often overlooked by travelers. This is unfortunate as sports play an important role in every culture. In addition, participating in certain sports may help you stay fit, which will ultimately help you stay healthy while traveling.
International sporting events provide a great reason to travel
International sporting events allow you to visit another country, explore a new culture, and make friends from around the world. Events like the Grand Prix of Bahrain and the FIFA World Cup are enthusiastic, boisterous events where people from many different countries come together to cheer for their athletes and their teams.
In addition to the aspect of cultural discovery, there is also the sheer entertainment value of international sporting events. Even if you don’t have a horse in the race, you can always appreciate the level of talent and skill that is on display on the international level. If you want to make things more interesting, you can check odds and statistics of major events sites.
Don’t just be a spectator, participate!
Every country has at least one sport or physical activity that is practiced by a large part of the population. In many cases, you may already be familiar with this sport, and you can jump right in to pick-up games. If you are not familiar with a particular physical activity, you have a great chance to learn. Head to parks and recreational centers and ask locals if you can join in. You will be surprised at the number of people that say “yes.” You will make new friends and learn how to play a new sport.
There is an additional benefit of participating in sports while traveling – it will help you stay fit and healthy. The health benefits of sports are numerous and whether the activity involves significant physical exertion or not, there is a good chance you will squeeze some health benefits out of it.
I’ve had the pleasure of playing badminton and practicing Tai Chi in Vietnam, football in West Africa, rugby in England, and basketball in the states. All of these experiences have allowed me to meet new people, discover new sports, and to stay healthy while on the road.
If you have any of your own experiences with sports while traveling, either as a spectator or a participant, please share your thoughts in the comments below.
Photo credit: flickr user Marshall Segal