College move-ins, back to school open houses and crisp air mean that it’s time for college football weekends. College visits aren’t far behind so pack up for a roadtrip and create a weekend with something to remember for the whole family. Long Weekend TravelingMom shares the best travel tips for college football weekends that families will want to make an annual tradition long after they have alumni.
Travel Tips for College Football Weekends
While fall means back to school, college football season is one of the things my family is most looking forward to! Whether you have a regular tailgating spot or are experiencing college football weekends for the first time, visiting college campuses in the fall is a special time of year.
I love all the electricity in the air with all the incoming students and their fresh pride for their school. Seeing them reminds me of the best on college campuses. Not to mention all the traditions like band practice, cheerleaders, and social events! A college football weekend road trip and college visit are the best of both worlds. And since your family is going to be there anyhow, here are just a few planning tips for college football weekends to maximize your fun.
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College Football Weekends 101: Check the schedule!
Your first travel tips for college football weekends, check the schedule. If you’re a member of the booster club, I’m sure you already know all the games of the season and this doesn’t apply.
For families who are focused on college visits, make sure to check the college admissions campus tours and information session schedules. Lots of colleges will not host tours during the home games of college football weekends. It can logistically just be too much of a hassle trying to navigate a large area with the traffic and crowds.
Depending on the school, they also may host tours on weekends of big games that are held away either. (I’m guessing that the weekend of the UGA vs. UFL game everyone is a little distracted.)
Decide what’s going to be most important for your family. Your senior might have a dream to do the wave with 50,000 other fans in the stadium they believe will be their home school.
Or they might want to escape winter cold to sunny California on a tour of Northern California schools. If they’re looking most at the school, then you might want to consider visiting another time of year. Either way you go, make sure that your family is focused on the key reason for your trip.
If they’re looking most at the school, then you might want to consider visiting another time of year. Either way, make sure that your family is focused on the key reason for your trip.
College Football Weekends 201: Create a plan.
College football season is a HUGE deal on lots of campuses, and this isn’t an event that you can just go with the flow on. Determine where you’ll stay, where you’ll park, where you plan to eat, etc. Work with the assumption that parking is going to be an issue on campus. Call ahead and ask the office of admissions or visitor center for tips on where to park and cost.
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Make sure that you have secured accommodations for your weekend visit. If you last visited during the spring or summer and had a great rate for a five-star hotel, remember fall is college football season. Hotels may have been sold out for 6 months or more. You could be left with an hour drive to and from the campus.
Not to mention, everything will be packed including restaurants! Make reservations in advance if possible. Other options would be ordering take-out or having food delivered. The plus side is that you can just embrace the experience and make new friends in the process. There may be lots of other families and alumni waiting who you can ask about their experience at the school.
College Football Weekends 301: Be road trip ready.
College football weekends are totally made for road trips! The most important thing about road trips is the vehicle you’re in. This could be the perfect opportunity to try out a rental car. It reduces the wear and tear on your personal vehicle and lets you turn the road trip into a true adventure. There are plenty of options from the sporty Fiat 500L or the Ford Escape. Let your plans be your guide for what you choose.
Along with the vehicle, you have to have the entertainment. Create your perfect playlist that gets you in the mood for college. You can add in your favorite songs from your college era to expose your kids to a little nostalgia. To bond with your college bound kid, have them create a list for your trip. Our seven tested road trip games are an alternative for the family who is over music.
Make sure to pack light and impress that upon everyone going. While your future college student will want to ‘dress to impress’ your college football road trip is really just a few days. Packing light leaves more space in the car for everyone to spread out comfortably. Not to mention, packing light leaves the perfect excuse to pick up a souvenir that you can wear home.
College Football Weekends 401: Have a great time!
While it may be your first experience, look forward to a lifetime of fun on your college football weekends. Our head Traveling Mom, Kim Orlando, is still a college football weekend fanatic 10 years after she wrote this post. Don’t stress trying to pack it all into one weekend but leave some room for trying new things over the years.