Travelling for hockey can be interesting. On the surface, you think it will be like any other trip you take. There’s a hotel stay in a different city, but instead of seeing the sights, you’ll be hanging out at the hockey rink, right? You think that means the only difference is the addition of the hockey bags and sticks. Over the years, I have found that isn’t quite the case. Some of these places aren’t necessarily remote, but it isn’t always as easy as you think it might be to grab what you need when you need it, so I have compiled a list of things I make sure to have on hand. It looks rather long at first, but many of these items are small. Sure, you can also do without many of these things, but they sure do make things easier if you have them. There just always seems to be some sort of “adventure” on these hockey weekends.
Baby wipes...great for quick cleanups. I mean we probably all have that stash of napkins from fast food places in our glove box, but I found I much prefer a travel pack of baby wipes.
Ziploc bags in a couple sizes. These come in handy for separating wet clothes, makeshift ice packs, or a multitude of other uses. I found that many concession stands can help you with ice, but they often have nothing to put it in, so this has saved my hiney when the athletic trainers run out of ice packs or they just don’t have any.
Dryer sheets. I keep a few in a ziploc bag to help with the stink in the hotel room from airing out gear. Ideally, it’s better to do that outside if possible since the sun is a natural deodorizer, but if it’s raining or there isn’t a good spot for it
Clothespins--can help keep hotel curtains closed. Sounds weird, and most of the time they aren’t needed, but when they are needed, boy are they needed!
Screwdriver. If a helmet screw needs tightening, it’s pretty much guaranteed that this will happen on the road. I also keep a baggie of the extra helmet hardware with it, and that has saved my rear more than once. If not a screwdriver, a multitool will usually work.
Travel mugs for all. These make it easier to stay hydrated both on the road and in the hotel. You can usually fill them up with ice at no charge from most any gas station or convenience store as well as in the hotel from their ice machine. Don’t rely on the rink concession stands or vending machines for drinks or snacks. You MIGHT be disappointed. They might be amazing, but they might also have only soda which is the last thing a kiddo needs when they need to rehydrate.
Deck of cards. Another small item and an easy way to keep kids occupied between games and keep them from running through the halls of the hotel like banshees. Also comes in handy at times in the evenings with the parents for a poker game
Extra mouth guards, tape, and laces. It never fails. There will always be a kid that forgets his mouthguard, runs out of tape, or breaks a skate lace.
Socks, especially in summer when kids are running around in flip flops. This was probably the most surprising to me, but after being annoyed at how far out of my way I had to go to find somewhere selling kids socks, I made sure that never happened again and always tossed a pair of socks into my bag.
Some of those squishy ice packs that activate when you squish them. I had a whole first aid kit, but the things I’ve used most are ice packs, Ace wraps, Tylenol, and an occasional bandaid. Some athletic tape can be an extra thing to add, but most of the rest of stuff in a traditional first aid kit has gone unused for me.
I leave a small bag containing all of these items in the car all the time with my rink blanket and an extra hoodie or jacket or two.