Travel sports have expanded across all organized sports. It is not uncommon for young athletes to play multiple travel sports growing up.

Youth travel baseball can be quite different from high school travel baseball. There are youth travel leagues for baseball…

Contrary to what some organizations promise, playing travel baseball will not guarantee your player a college baseball scholarship let alone a professional baseball career. It doesn’t even guarantee they will make their high school varsity baseball team. 

And if a player is truly talented, college baseball scouts will find that player no matter where they play. 

Now, let’s get into the reasons why you should or should not commit to playing travel baseball.

Travel Baseball Compared to Rec Baseball

A player considering playing travel baseball is usually weighing that option against the local rec league. Travel baseball is often seen as more prestigious so a lot of people may overlook the many benefits of staying in your local rec league. 

The Benefits of a Recreational Baseball League

  • Proximity, cost – play at the local baseball field – ride bike. 
  • Play with friends, neighbors and classmates. Ideal for other family members who attend lots of games.
  • Chance to big a big fish in a smaller pond
  • More focused on fundamental baseball skill development.
  • Usually more focus on fair playing time and rotating players through multiple positions. 

Benefits of Travel Baseball

  • Exposure
  • Traveling is exciting – go places and play teams you’ve never seen before from places you’ve never heard of before.
  • Better facilities – good teams play on college fields and at professional stadiums.
  • Better instruction

Disadvantages of Travel Baseball

  • May interfere with school teams and other school activities
  • Last minute schedule changes, rain outs, rain delays…
  • Time commitment may be much longer than just the baseball season…
  • Weeknight and week day travel
  • Lack of carpool options

What To Consider When Looking For A Competitive Travel Baseball Team

  • Do they hire professional coaches or are they coached by a parent?
  • If they hire a professional coach, what do they look for in a coach? Will they have played at a certain level?
  • Do they use technology to track hitting and pitching metrics?

Myths about Travel Baseball

While some travel teams and organizations are truly elite competition, most teams are not. Even a lot of the more well known travel baseball organizations have multiple teams at each age level of varying levels of competition. 

Average Cost to Play Travel Baseball

It would be nearly impossible to give you an average cost to play travel baseball because each organization is independent and free to do whatever they want if they can find a dozen parents willing to pay for it. 

Some factors that go into the cost of a travel baseball team are:

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  • Paid (professional) coaches
  • Tournament fees 
  • Offseason training
  • Additional trainers and skill coaches
  • Indoor facilities – especially in colder climates
  • Field Rentals
  • Equipment
  • Uniforms

Hidden Costs of Travel Baseball

Hopefully your fees cover the basic parts of the season but you could be out of pocket for additional costs, especially if your team is really a traveling team. 

  • Travel Costs – by car or plane, depending on distance.
  • Gas, hotels, meals, gate fees, parking.
  • Fundraising

Additional Costs in Travel Baseball

  • Showcase tournaments
  • Private lessons

Questions to Ask a Travel Baseball Team or Organization

  • Annual costs – is the fee you are being charged an annual cost or are there separate fees for additional programs like a fall ball season. 
  • How many teams do you field at each age level?
  • How far do the teams travel and how many out of town tournaments do they play each season?
  • Is this a new team or is it mostly made up of returning players?

Teams should openly offer this information on their website and in their marketing. If they do not, that may be a red flag. 

Questions to Ask Yourself Before Signing Up For Travel Baseball

  • How far is too far for your kid to play travel baseball?
  • Is my whole family up for this?
  • Do I see this working out for the next few years, maybe longer?
  • Is my child really good enough to play travel baseball?
  • Is this something my child wants to do or something I want them to do?

Summary

I’m sure this is a lot to think about when weighing the pros and cons of playing competitive travel baseball. 

Learn More: Our Guide For Baseball Parents

Frequently Asked Questions About Travel Baseball

How many games do travel baseball teams play?

Why is travel baseball so expensive

What is the highest level of travel baseball

What age do baseball scouts start looking at players

How do you survive travel baseball

What should I expect at a travel baseball tryout?

At what age should I consider travel baseball for my child?

Are six year olds too young to play travel baseball?

Are you allowed to play travel baseball during high school baseball season?

Can my kid play travel ball when on hs baseball team?

What is the birthdate cutoff to play travel baseball?

Are there travel baseball team rankings?

What is a typical travel baseball schedule?

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