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College towns are often oases in the middle of otherwise dreary environments.  During university events, these towns are places travelers should avoid.  If you do not, you will face congestion, long lines, and high prices.

 

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Travel Advice - Avoid college towns on event weekends, if you are just passing through

If you are traveling  through small to midsize U.S. "college towns" on weekends during sports season, we suggest that you detour around these towns, unless you are going to the game. Most college towns do not have extensive lodging facilities and those that they have are filled during major sporting events. The overflow often fills adjacent towns for many miles around and can create havoc for the traveler who just happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

 

One experience that we had in Lubbock, Texas involved a home game for Texas Tech. We were looking for a room the night before the “big game” and had no idea there was an event scheduled.

  • All of the hotels we contacted were full or charging prices double or triple the normal going rate.
  • We were told that most hotels were overbooked and we decided to continue driving to the next town (35 miles north) but when we arrived there (Plainview, Texas) we found that all the hotels there (four) were completely booked with people going to the "game" in Lubbock.
  • Finally, we decided to continue on to Amarillo and booked a Hampton Inn at a decent price.
    • Unfortunately, this meant that we drove approximately 90 miles further and traveled much later in the evening than we preferred.
    • In addition, we missed eating at a normal time, as the restaurants around Lubbock were full of football fans and had waits of over an hour.

Of course, we could have avoided all of these problems by traveling on a schedule and booking reservations in advance. We prefer to be more footloose but our encounter with the Texas Tech game has taught us to plan our Friday night travel and lodging during football and graduation season. Due to being played in smaller sized stadiums, basketball and baseball games are  less of a problem, unless the town is an NCAA Tourney host or you are in the Mid-west.

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