CW’s Road Trip Survival Guide

Planning a trip back to your college campus or considering a bucket-list road trip? With all that nostalgia and excitement, it can be easy to just hop in the car and drive. But before you take off, check out’s ultimate and easy checklist to make sure your weekend exceeds expectations and is as worry-free as possible!

1. Create an itinerary

The best way to make sure you’ve maximized your weekend fun is to sit down with your travel-mates and create an itinerary. First, get together for a night of drinks and snacks and brainstorm your plans (or a Zoom call!) — ranking your ideas from “must-do” to “could probably go without.” After you’ve nailed your list of must-do’s … make a checklist for reservations, game-tickets, parking, and other activities that may involve pre-ordering or calling ahead.

It’s also important to go with the flow, as things don’t always work out as planned. With that being said, however, it’s never a bad idea to have some back-up ideas just in case a reservation falls through or an event gets canceled.

If you are planning to tailgate, also research ahead of time where to go (e.g. alumni groups) or where you can do it yourself and utilize CW’s Guide to Hosting a Great Tailgate.

2. Consider planning your trip for a less popular weekend

Although it may be tempting to plan your trip back to your old stomping grounds on the busiest weekend of the year – e.g. Homecoming Weekend. But as you probably recall, the best weekends of college were often those Saturday night football games that weren’t necessarily against your biggest rival. Being able to wander about your college town like the good-ole-days can make skipping the big-weekend festivities worthwhile!

3. Switch it up!

Sure, the most memorable bars and events will be on the top of everyone’s list, but don’t forget to do your research about what is new in town! Ask current students or recent graduates what things are currently like around town. Also, try to fit into the plans any events hosted by your alumni association. Networking is a great way to see what’s new around campus and give back to your school!

4. Make a throwback playlist for the ride (or the weekend!)

When you think of your time in college, it’s likely that the first few memories are accompanied by the songs of the era. From parties, to bars, to stadium stands, these songs bring on the nostalgia. Delegate the jobs to someone or create a community playlist on a platform like Spotify where everyone can add their favorite throwbacks for the drive or while hanging out over the weekend!

5. Make a few fun stops along the way

A road-trip doesn’t have to mean fast-food stops and boring car games. After creating your itinerary, check out your route options, and what states and cities you may be encountering. You would be surprised by the number of museums, restaurant’s, and beautiful greenery and parks lie just beyond the highway. Regardless of how far you are traveling, it’s never a bad idea to stretch your legs, and check off something on your bucket-list along the way!

In addition, and if you are heading through the Southeast, check out CollegeWeekend’s guide to Top College Town Breweries in the South for a few bucket-list ideas.

6. Don’t forget to check the weather!

Even though you spent four years of your life in your destination, the weather is still unpredictable! You likely can recall those absurdly cold nights in Carolina, or the strange heat wave that made its way through up-state Pennsylvania in early November. Check the weather and bring layers because being under-prepared is a sure-fire way to ruin a potentially amazing weekend vacation.

A few road trip ideas from

Interested in taking a road trip to somewhere new with your crew? is here to help and has plenty of resources available that highlight fun ideas and things to do when visiting different college towns.  Come explore …

By Kate Wildonger

Kate is a 2019 graduate of the University of South Carolina, and is currently attending law school at the New York Law School.