Travel Tips For March Madness

by Holly Riddle

Mar 4, 2016

© Aspenphoto | Dreamstime

Tips / Travel

Beginning March 13, all of your friends and everyone you know will love college basketball. Brackets will reign supreme and those who know the very least about the sport will suddenly come out victorious by a matter of pure chance. If you plan on ditching watching the games at home and sports bars and traveling to a few games instead, you’ll want to keep some things in mind.


Firstly, remember March Madness brings thousands upon thousands of out-of-town fans to cities sometimes not at all equipped to deal with this influx of travelers needing to be lodged, fed and transported at a relatively quick pace. Places like Des Moines, Raleigh and Louisville can handle conferences and business meetings all fine and well, but they are not made for mass tourism in the same ways Chicago might be.


This being said, it’s going to take you a while to get where you need to go. Prepare for long traffic times, long restaurant wait times and inflated hotel room rates.


The most important thing to do is to plan ahead. Many travelers, particularly younger ones who are following their college teams, will end up on the road before they’ve even booked a room. Even if you think you’ll be able to just pop into a budget-branded hotel on the outskirts of town at the last minute and everything will be fine, that more than likely won’t be the case. Take the time to look for a property that’s both within walking distance to the arena and within your budget. You’ll be glad for it later.


You’ll probably want to get some sightseeing in as well, but that’s the same thing everyone else will be thinking. If you’re in one of the smaller host cities, finding an attraction that’s not already booked full or overly crowded will become frustrating. Again, do some research ahead of time. Look for attractions that aren’t as well known, but that still hold appeal to you and your travel companions. If possible, book limited space tours in advance.


Lastly, pack as lightly as possible, especially if you plan on visiting multiple March Madness destinations. If you can fit everything you need in a carry-on bag, do it. You’ll find it’s much easier to make your way around the city, as well as to pack up and go in a hurry.


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