Traveling to a new city? Get tickets to the game.

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The most memorable part of my recent trip to the UK was not visiting London Bridge and eating a full English meal, but taking the train to the suburbs to watch a football match in the English third league. Americans can call a minor league game.

Tickets to play big Premier League players (Manchester United, Arsenal, etc.) cost me light years, but I could get a $30 seat at a lower tier stadium and that’s how I ended up getting sick for them. Charlton Athletic against Shrewsbury Town in a stadium with a capacity of less than 30,000 fans.

My single seat was next to my father and his teenage son, who gave me CliffsNotes on key players and traditions — like why everyone disappeared before halftime. (They rushed to the concession level for pints in the middle of the game; when I got that tip, I got up and followed suit.)

Since it was not the big leagues, I could afford to sit right outside the goal – so close that I could make fun of the players. I watched the red-robed fans around me and tried my best to keep up with the many chants, to stand when everyone was standing. After the game, I joined a crowd of people pouring out of the stadium and ended up spending several hours in a noisy fan-only pub (you had to show game tickets to get in).

Even though I didn’t show much interest in the teams before the start, this day had all the trappings of a fantastic trip: the rush associated with public transport to get to a new place, the pleasure of spending a day in the sun, the opportunity to soak in the local culture and get to know with new people.

This is just one example of why, along with relaxing on the beach, visiting museums and booking tables at a restaurant, attending sports deserves the highest expense of your trip, regardless of your interest in sports.

“People want to travel like a local — they want that authentic experience, and there’s nothing more authentic than going to a sporting event,” says Luisa Mendoza, founder and CEO of Global Tourism Sports and Entertainment, a business center. is a business platform that, among other services, connects travel agencies with tickets to professional sporting events in the United States.

Don’t write off the idea because you don’t follow the sport. I couldn’t tell you offhand who won the World Series. But blending in with fans in an unfamiliar place is still one of my favorite things to do when traveling.

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Minors are more personal

You could shell out a fortune to watch the superstars play, but there’s another magic to packing cheap seats with the common man.

Fulvio De Bonis, president and co-founder of Imago Artis Travel, says seeing one of Italy’s obscure football teams instead of the super-famous AC Milan or Roma is like eating from an Italian grandmother instead of a Michelin-starred restaurant. restaurant.

“Both are authentic, but it’s a different kind of authenticity,” he says.


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