Who doesn’t love a good road trip? There is just something freeing about being on the open road and experiencing life face to face. With football season right around the corner, now is the time to plan the perfect football road trip. That way you get to see the action personally and in a way that is going to create some awesome memories for you. We know you are already chomping at the bit to get going.
You might be thinking what’s the big deal; you don’t have to plan a road trip, you just get in the car and go, but you couldn’t be more wrong. There are plenty of things that can happen during your trip and you want to make sure you have all your bases covered. If you love football and you want to try to plan a road trip with your friends, then you have come to the right place. We are going to give you some tips that are going to give you a headache-free trip. Check out these 30 ways to plan the perfect football road trip in the US.
20 Invest in A Driver’s Club
The last thing you need while on a road trip is to have issues with your car. We advise getting your car checked out before you hit the road, but it wouldn’t hurt to be a member of a driver’s club. If you do find yourself experiencing car trouble on the road, then the benefits to being a member are huge. The customer service is unmatched and you are unlikely to lose much time. If you don’t have a member’s card, then you can waste an entire day finding someone to fix your car and you could miss the game entirely.
19 Don’t Listen to Music
You might find that a few of your friends disagree, but hear us out. Music can actually block you from enjoying the things around you while you are on your trip. “Science tells us that travel and exposure to new sights, sounds, and tastes all spark different synapses in the brain. Don't interfere in that process. Give yourself a chance to take in your new environment, uninterrupted.” This is a good tip when you have friends in the car. Wouldn’t it be better to talk and share fun stories rather than tuning each other out? Now, this doesn't mean you shouldn't listen to music at all, but set aside some time drive without it.
18 Don’t Stay Close to the Stadium
You may think that getting a hotel close to the stadium is ideal, especially if you are going to be tailgating, but that might not be the best idea. Hotels book up quickly for events and those rooms are likely going to cost a lot of money. Branch out a little and find a more affordable hotel and you will still get to the game and tailgate all you want.
17 Choose the Right Vehicle
You might think that you can use any vehicle for a road trip, but that’s not necessarily the case. You should consider all the people that are going on the trip with you and pick a vehicle that fits everyone’s needs. If it’s two people going, then you don’t have to worry about space, so a compact vehicle would be the most cost-effective. But if it’s a bunch of guys going, then you might want to bring a full-size vehicle.
16 Plan It Out
You know that you are going to be watching 17 games over a period of 47 days. So, make sure that you plan that out. If you plan out each trip to each city, then you know you probably have about four hours in between each city. Keep in mind the stops you are going to want to make and how that’s going to work out for the time restrictions that you have. These kinds of things are not something you want to wing.
15 Don’t Over Complicate Things
Yes, you want to plan things out, but you don’t want to be inflexible because some things are going to happen that are just out of your control. There could be lost luggage, traffic, low fuel, and many other things that could delay you. Just focus on the road and where you need to be, not necessarily what’s in your luggage. You have to be somewhat flexible in your plans just in case something pops up.
14 Pack Light
This is probably a lot easier for guys, then it would be for girls, so maybe you have this one covered already. It’s just a good idea for anyone going on a road trip with a bunch of people, to pack light. Whether you are road tripping to one game or ten games, you want to just pack for that timeframe. Extra packing is going to become a burden. Leave the cooler at home because you can always grab a cold can and a foam cooler on the road.
13 Check For Potential Double Dips
A double dip is when you have the opportunity to attend two games in one day, depending on the times and the city. Sometimes, it’s possible for you to grab two games at one time which is great for those people who can only road trip to one game. You basically get to see two games before you have to head back home.
12 Cruise Control is Your New Best Friend
Road trips are fun but after a couple of hours, driving in general can become boring and tedious. When you get to a clear coast of the highway, you may be tempted to speed. Nothing can kill your trip faster than getting pulled over by the police. The best way to avoid this is to put on the cruise control, set to a specific speed and let the car do the driving for you.
11 Some Stadiums Are Hard to Get Into
Keep that in mind when you are planning your trip, some stadiums can be harder to get into and you can just plan around that. “From Chicago, the closest stadium is Indy's and the furthest is San Francisco's. Surprisingly, San Francisco's stadium (not Seattle's, New England's, or Miami's) is the furthest drive for half of the teams in the league. Here are the hardest places to get to for the NFL's 32 teams: San Francisco: 16 teams, Seattle: 10 teams, New England: 4 teams, Miami: 2 teams,” wrote NFL.com.
10 Pick a Speed to Save On Gas
It’s really best to just pick a speed and to maintain that speed during your trip. Believe it or not, but accelerating and de-accelerating will only eat up your gas. If you maintain a good speed, then you are actually saving money on gas. U.S. News writer Rick Newsman explained this best in his 2008 story 5 Gasoline-Wasting Mistakes: “Aim for the lowest rpm in the highest gear, while still having a comfortable degree of power available if you need to pass or maneuver quickly.”
9 Beat the Traffic
There is a rule, “Ride by sunrise, park by sunset.” Not only do you get to watch the world wake up right before your eyes, but if you leave early, you beat the traffic as well. It’s always best to drive during the day and settle in somewhere at night. You might not be aware that it’s four times as likely for someone to get into an accident while night driving rather than during the day as well.
8 Know What You Are Doing For the Day
Plan out your day before it happens because a lot can go on. Decide if you are going to tailgate in the stadium parking lot or a nearby one. What time will your group be arriving? You should definitely look into what is allowed on the premises in terms of cooking and lounging gear. Are you going to bring a car or just walk around and chat up the other people at the event? Make sure you know what you are doing ahead of time so you don't waste any time deciding the day of.
7 Don’t Be A Bad Guest
When it comes to tailgating, there is still some kind of etiquette guidebook to follow, especially when it involves drinks. We all probably know someone who acts like a fool when they've have too much and you don’t need that when you are in another city around a bunch of people. Veteran tailgaters know how to be their own version of the police and they won’t tolerate shenanigans by out-of-towners. Don’t be that guy that gets kicked out of the lot. Treat everyone with respect.
6 Eat Light Throughout the Day
We know it can be hard with the smell of hot dogs and popcorn all around you, but it’s in your best interest to eat lightly throughout the day. You can binge at the end of the day when you don’t have to worry about staying awake. That goes for breakfast too. If you eat a big meal before you get on the road, you may have an uncomfortable drive. “Blood redirects from all throughout your body to your digestive system, causing a system wide slow down.”
5 Make Time For Stops
We know you are probably anxious to get to the game and party, but something might catch your eye on the road and you could regret not stopping. It’s best to add some time to your trip so that you can make stops and give yourself extra time if there are delays. If something catches your eye on the road, then stop. You never know when you will create an awesome memory on the fly.
4 Keep A Secret Stash
It wouldn’t be a terrible thing to keep a spare key to your home and an extra credit card hidden in your vehicle. Crazy things happen when you are at the stadium and if you lose these things, then you could find yourself in some trouble. "Keep a record of your wallet contents – I use a smartphone app to keep numbers and photos of my cards secure and confidential in the virtual cloud,” wrote The Globe and Mail.
3 Trust the Locals
If you are traveling on the highway or looking for food in a new city, always trust the locals first. Sure, you can look up a review, but nothing is better than finding a gem of a restaurant because a local knew where to go. “A random stranger in a random big box store in New Mexico pointed us to arguably the best view of our trip, Eagle's Nest State Park.” Sometimes, it pays to talk to the locals.
2 Book Accommodations in Advance
Don’t be that person who is looking around for a hotel at the end of a day on the road. If you plan your trips out, you should have some idea what city you will arrive in at the end of the day. Last-minute hotel bookings can be expensive and that’s if they are even available. "Book ahead in the morning so you don't have to find a place at the end of the day. And aim for hotels with generous cancellation policies so you can switch if you find more intriguing places." If you're not interested in spending money on hotels, then consider investing in some kind of a trailer or suit-up van so you could set up camp no matter where you are.
1 On Game Day, Save Your Appetite
You know exactly what we mean. The best part of game day are the brews and food. It’s best not to have a huge breakfast as we talked about before. There will be plenty of food at the game that you are going to want to eat. Regardless of the city you end up in, there will always be good food available for you. It probably wouldn’t hurt to pocket some TUMS as well, just in case. You wouldn’t want to get sick with all the great food you are eating.