Tips to Tailgate with Your Car and Family

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Man in sunglasses and pink shirt grilling outside with title text reading Tips to Tailgate With Family & Friends

Tailgating with family and friends add an additional layer of fun to attending your favorite football game or sports event. As with most of life, a bit of planning and organizing makes the party even more fun and successful. These six tips to tailgate with your car and family will make your next tailgate party a breeze.

The reasons people show up at ballgames early are not just so that they can enjoy arriving at the venue in time for prime seating and parking. Tailgating gives you the opportunity to socialize, eat, and get revved up to cheer your team before heading into the stadium to watch the big game. If you are new to tailgating, these five tips to tailgate at your car and with family and friends will give you everything you need for your first party.

Tips to Tailgate with Your Car and Family

Pick A Prime Tailgating Location

For your party to be enjoyable, you need to pick a family-friendly spot. Whether it’s at the field, at the stadium, or the parking lot, the area has to be friendly and comfortable. Be sure to check any tailgating restrictions as you select your location. 

The trick is to get there early so you can snag your family’s tailgating spot. The area should have low traffic and be located away from the student section. Also consider your exit strategy in case you want to depart early and so that you don’t get stuck in departure traffic for any longer than necessary.

Identify Your Location

A tent or canopy would be a great landmark for other family members and friends to easily locate you in the sea of other tailgaters. You could also choose to fly a flag if you don’t want to mess with setting up a tent.

Dress for the Party

Set the tone of your tailgate party with your wardrobe.

  • Dress comfortably for the temperature, the sun, the wind and for standing and walking.
  • You may want to encourage (require) that everyone attending the party is dressed to support your team. Sporting your team colors adds to the festivity of the tailgate party and the game.
    • Supporting the team can be as simple as wearing a shirt or hat with the team colors.
    • Or as all-out as face painting and costumes.
  • Dress in layers. It will be either much warmer or much colder than you expect. Since you’re driving a car, throw those extra layers in the trunk and be prepared for anything.

Be In The Know

It is vital to have some basic knowledge before setting out for your tailgating party.

Check the weather 

  • To ensure you are dressed appropriately for the day.
  • To make alternative plans, if needed. For example, i f there is a downpour, you probably won’t be grilling. You also need to find out when the gates open. Of course, you don’t want to get there early and idle around.

Familiarize yourself with the parking lot.

  • Where are the entrances and exits located.
  • How much is the fee? Be sure to carry extra cash in case it is a cash only parking lot.
  • If you’re trying to save money, you could even consider buying your tickets online and using a coupon. Pair this strategy with a Christmas budget, and tickets to the game could go from a luxury to an affordable Secret Santa gift!
Hot dogs and hamburgers on grill

Be familiar with tailgating party rules. It could be simple things such as not leaving any grill unattended. Be aware that some locations do not allow charcoal grills.

Photo by Pam Menegakis on Unsplash

Consider that you may have guests that have dietary restrictions. Plan for dishes that will will work for everyone attending. Create a tailgating menu plan and coordinate dietary restrictions with other people bringing food. 

Be sure to bring all necessary party essentials.

  • Plates, cups, and spoons.
  • Lots of napkins and paper towels
  • Trash bags
  • Coolers
  • Items for your grill
  • Chairs 
    • Matches
    • Tongs and spatulas
  • Containers to pack up leftovers

Make Tailgating Fun

You’re going to all the effort to tailgate to have a good time, so plan for ways to keep all your guests entertained.

  • Provide activities for young children.
  • Consider activities for tweens and teens
  • Plan for tailgating games, such as washers,  ring toss and trivia games.
  • Bring music.
  • Meet other tailgating fans. Engage in good-natured rivalry with the other team’s fans, but make a conscious effort not to allow rivalries to get out-of-hand. 

Packing Up

When tearing down your site at the end of the tailgate party, you need to have a plan for everything you brought with you.

There may be trash cans available, but you need to have something to dispose of all your litter, just in case.

If the stadium allows charcoal coal and you use it for your grill, you need to have a plan to dispose of it at the end of the event. Charcoal has the potential of staying hot for hours. Aluminum pans  and other items may also remain hot for an extended period of time. Plan for the safest way to dispose of still hot coals and other materials. 

It’s a fun tradition to tailgate with your car and family and friends. What are your favorite tailgating tips?

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