Jeremy Branham's College Football Trip Playbook
Whether you are cheering on your team at a home game or joining them on the road, college football is one of the most exciting and passionate sporting events in the country. Last year, 1 out of every 6 people in the United States attended a college football game according to attendance records.
While many fans follow their teams, attending a college football game is more than just tailgates and touchdowns. Experiencing the passion and local culture of college towns makes a weekend road trip a unique sports and travel experience.
There are a few things you will need to plan your college football weekend road trip. From football tickets to travel, here are a few tips to make you feel like the smartest guy on campus.
Tip #1 – Getting tickets to the game!
Check with your target school's ticket office to get tickets in the visiting team section. If you want a ticket for the home team, you check with that school's ticket office. As a member of the school's athletic department donor program, you can get tickets before they go on sale to the public.
Single game tickets go on sale to the public between August 1st and August 15th for most schools (check with your school for ticket information). If tickets are sold out, I find StubHub to be a great source for finding tickets.
Finally, some schools offer ticket exchanges for members and donors. If you are a member of your football team's donor program, you may be able to purchase tickets from other members.
Tip #2 – Getting to the game!
Fall is one of the best times of year to travel allowing for travelers to find some great flight deals. From a hotel perspective, be prepared to act and plan fast as many hotels sell out quickly when games come to town.
In my personal experience, the best deals for fall flights are during the summer. For football games early in the season, check for flights from late May to mid-June. For mid and late season games, check mid-summer to early fall for the best deals.
If you want to know where to stay, make friends with the enemy. You can check with the host school to get a list of hotels for the game. If you are following your team to the game, check with your athletic department to see if they have a list of hotels for visiting fans. You can also check with the local tourist board or visitor's center for recommended hotels. Social media sites can also be very helpful so keep an eye on Facebook and Twitter for recommended places and activities.
This season, eager fans who want to plan a trip can save money on their college football weekend by booking their flight and hotel together on Expedia. And this year Expedia is offering deals at more than 3,000 hotels nationwide to college football destinations.
If you are driving, give yourself plenty of time, keep your eyes on the road and stay safe!
Tip #3 – Getting around town
Be sure to research the local town before you visit. Tourist boards and universities have a list of activities to do in town. Expedia also has activity pages for many cities and towns where you can book excursions and things to do in advance. Travelers should also check out the college student newspaper or free city publications to get a list of free events going on that weekend.
Connect with fans of the opposing school on message boards to find the best places to eat or other activities in town. Local fans know the towns better than anyone. Some universities may offer free campus tours if you want to learn more about the school or see more than just the football stadium.
Planning a college football road trip can be a lot of fun. And with some savvy planning you can save some money and make the most of your experience, so you can enjoy the sights, sounds, passion and culture of college football.
Follow the College Football Travel Tour on Expedia and Budget Travel Adventures all year for college football and travel adventures from campuses across the country.
Jeremy Branham is a budget traveler and college football fan who loves exploring California, the US and destinations around the world. When he isn't traveling, attending college football games and sporting events or hiking, he enjoys time at home with his family in Sacramento, California. He's been featured in publications such as The Washington Post and The Sacramento Bee. Follow his adventures and travel stories for a fun, unique look at travel on Budget Travel Adventures.