Fall can mean different things to different people. Pumpkin coma, comfy sweaters, and hot apple cider go hand-in-hand with fall festivities. While these warm and fuzzy fall favorites might be the highlight of fall for some, the rest of us look forward to the tougher side of the season. Well sports fans… football is upon us and fall is the time to bask in the glory of NFL and College Game Day.
It is finally the time of year to wash off the truck, paint those corn hole boards, and warm up the grill because tailgating season in among us! Tailgating culture varies based on the team you are cheering for, but all tailgates require the same type of planning. We wanted to share some basic football travel tips to make your tailgate worthy of game day.
There is a lot to consider when you are planning your dream tailgating trip, but the most important part of tailgating is the GAME! Confirm a headcount, set a budget, and order tickets early. Order tickets and parking permits well in advance will set the pace for planning and to ensure that you will be able to tailgate with a purpose. Do not plan to buy tickets at the stadium – you will be disappointed.
Depending on the location of the game, you will need to determine the best route to get there. If you are looking to fly, you will want to rent a tailgate-ready vehicle in advance. Decide your vehicle based on how many people are attending and what you are comfortable driving. RV’s are the ultimate football tailgating choice but can be more of a hassle for inexperienced drivers. Be sure that your parking permit allows for the number of vehicle in your caravan and the size of those vehicles. Often times, larger trucks/RVs require special permits. Research the best routes with the least amount of traffic before making the drive and be sure that you leave early enough to procure a choice parking spot. Set an itinerary and print directions in advance to keep everyone on the same page.
Feeding the Fire
Brats and barbeque are staples when it comes to a tailgate feast, but you might want consider expanding your regular the game day spread. Remember, game day runs long and food is a great way to keep your tailgating guests happy. When you are trying to prepare the right amount of food for the entire tailgating team, rule of thumb is to prepare 1 pound of food per guest with enough leftovers for post-game munchies. When it comes to food, stick to the basics. Make and cut baked goods in advance, only use disposable dishes, and stick with easy to grill foods if you choose to grill. It is always a good idea to have a vegetarian option ready in case you have unexpected visitors. Remember to pick up fuel for your grill and plenty of ice for safe food handling before the game as well!
When you are tailgating at a stadium you are a guest in your favorite team’s home. Being in a parking lot does not mean that you can go wild. Keep your tailgate area tidy and litter free. Pack trash bags/bins, wet naps, disinfectant wipes, and towels. A clean tailgate makes way for a great game day.
Before you hit the road, be sure that you have packed a few extra items to make for a safe day. Recreational activities like a pick-up flag football can be a great way to have fun at a tailgate, but these activities have the potential for scrapes and scratches. Pack a first-aid kit stocked with the basics. You may want to add sunscreen, bug spray, and burn cream to your kit just to be safe. Be sure to pack a fire extinguisher for any grill mishaps as well. Finally, ask your tailgate party if anyone has allergies before leaving so that you can be sure that all of the food is safe and to know if there needs to be any special medications onsite. Tailgates get crowed and are difficult to navigate in an emergency; be prepared.
If you take these simple steps when planning your tailgating trip, you are setting your team up for a win! Above all else, have fun and be a good sport.