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CheapTickets just released its first ever Tailgate Travel Index to help football fans experience the best of college football season on a budget. We analyzed airfare, hotel and car rentals prices for August through December to pinpoint the cheapest games to travel to by conference. During regular season play, fans can save big when they book travel to the following games, and have a great time pre- and post-game with the dining and entertainment tips included here.

Plus, win the ultimate fan dream experience as our official Tailgate Tourist! We’ll send you and a friend to five NCAA Division I hyped games to experience the festivities first-hand! More on that here.

RELATED: Your college football tailgating playbook (infographic)

"The Old Well at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, NC."

The Old Well at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, NC.

Duke vs. North Carolina: Chapel Hill, NC (Oct 26; avg. travel cost: $250)

At this price, who can resist a Tar Heel trip to watch two of the fiercest rivalries in sports history, “duke” it out in Chapel Hill?
DRINK If you haven’t watched a UNC game at Top of the Hill Restaurant & Brewery, you’re not a true Carolina fan. Located on Franklin Street, Chapel Hill’s main drag, this game day destination draws an energized crowd. Fun fact: It’s also the eighth oldest brewery in the state.
EAT Carolina ‘cue is a real thing, folks. The Pig specializes in hormone free, whole hog BBQ including classics like pork ribs with a side of mac ‘n’ cheese to more adventurous fare like a Vietnamese pork cheek sandwich.
PLAY When you’re done with Franklin Street’s shops and bars, wander the North Carolina Botanical Garden‘s 1000+ acres of wooded areas and manicured gardens and cheer for its lush beauty.
STAY Get mo’ for your dough at the Aloft Chapel Hill, located less than two miles from Kenan Memorial Stadium, and offering cool perks like an indoor pool, outdoor terrace and DIY snack bar.

Baton Rouge

Baton Rouge State Capitol

Auburn vs. LSU: Baton Rouge, LA (Oct 26; avg. travel cost: $500)

We’re whistling Dixie over these prices, especially since they afford the chance to witness an epic wildcat rivarly (Tigers vs. Tigers)—one dating back more than 100 years.
DRINK Even the ceilings at Station Sports Bar and Grill are covered in LSU memorabilia and we’re not gonna complain about a beer selection that’s 100+ varieties strong. We love its quirky location inside an old train car and caboose—but a campus bar it’s not.
EAT Come to Cajun country hungry. At stylish and modern Roux 61, bite into shrimp and alligator sausage cheesecake and crawfish étoufeé; for quick campus bites, try the brisket or spicy shrim po’ boy at VooDoo BBQ & Grill.
PLAY Here’s a capitol idea: Check out both the Old State Capitol and the current State Capitol, both are elegant as heck and the former is now a museum while the latter (at 34 stories) is the tallest capitol in the country and boasts an observation deck at top!
STAY The Cook Hotel offers University Lake on one side and the entire campus on the other. It also boasts stylish digs, a LSU gift shop, free hot breakfast and great rates—but expect them to skyrocket on game weekends.

"Dyche Hall Museum of Natural History, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas."

Dyche Hall Museum of Natural History, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas.

Kansas State vs. Kansas: Lawrence, KS (Nov 2; avg. travel cost: $350)

This Sunflower Showdown hits close to home for Kansas natives, who can affordably cheer on either the Jayhawks or the Wildcats in a rivalry that’s been going strong since 1902.
DRINK Johnny’s Tavern North
in Lawrence has been taking care of Jayhawks fans since 1953, with game day food and drink specials, and a menu that includes hearty burgers and late-night pizzas. When the game’s not on, you might be treated to blues, Cajun or other live music. If you’d prefer some local craft brews with your sports, check out 23rd Street Brewery instead.
The retro fabulous Ladybird Diner serves up hearty breakfast and brunch fare like chicken-fried steak and cheesy grits, along with old-timey soda fountain floats and phosphates, plus—the coup de grace—homemade pies.
PLAY Enjoy the great outdoors just 5 miles from campus at Clinton Lake. Expect a beach, sand volleyball courts and about 25 miles of hiking and biking trails.
STAY At the Oread Hotel in downtown Lawrence, you can keep the post-game party going at one of the hotel’s bars or relax on the rooftop terrace. And, if you need to stock up on Jayhawks gear, they’ve got you covered, too, thanks to the on-site gift shop.

Library and campus of the University of Maryland located in College Park, MD.

Library and campus of the University of Maryland located in College Park, MD.

Univ. of Michigan vs. Maryland: College Park, MD (Nov 2; avg. travel cost $350)

Whether you’re a Spartan in town for the first time or a Terrapin who’s no stranger to UMD’s quirky traditions (long live the flag unfurling), you can’t deny this college town just outside of DC has major spirit.
DRINK Party like a Terp at Looney’s Pub, where the drinks are cheap and the school spirit’s strong. Looney’s is a little less debaucherous than some of the other campus sports bars but it offers plenty of great Happy Hour and game day specials that could easily spell trouble—especially if it’s been a while since your last campus bar hop.
Breakfast all day? Sure, why not. Post-party munchies at 2am? This is the place. Steep yourself in a retro vibe at the 24-hour College Park Diner, serving generous portions of waffles, omelets, biscuits with gravy, hash browns and—do not pass on this—excellent milk shakes. For a sweet treat, try Maryland Dairy, which has been serving up delicious ice cream—including some special UMD-themed flavors—for more than 90 years.
PLAY Don’t miss the College Park Aviation Museum, featuring aircraft and artifacts housed on the grounds of the world’s oldest continuously operating airport. The airport dates back to 1909 when Wilbur Wright taught the first military aviators how to fly here.
STAY The highly-rated Cambria Hotel is just a quick walk from campus and features a fitness center, on-site restaurant and great views.

Main entrance to the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.

Main entrance to the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.

UCLA vs. University of Utah: Salt Lake City, UT (Nov 16; avg. travel cost: $325)

Autumn in Utah’s largest city is awesome. Who wouldn’t want to spend a game day weekend in this compact and lively metropolis rooting for the Utes or—gasp!—visiting rivals the Bruins?
DRINK During football season, expect the main bar at Lumpy’s Downtown to be packed and all necks craned upward at the myriad TVs—lots of them.
EAT SLC’s dining scene has become an embarrassment of riches of awesome eats. Keep it affordable at Beer Bar, a slammin’ downtown joint featuring retro cocktails, 140+ beers and cheap German eats or splurge at a stunning downtown resto like Pallet or HSL.
PLAY Ninety minutes west of the city, check out the awesome Bonneville Salt Flats, a large salt pan the size of San Francisco and the stuff of Instagram legend.
STAY Cheerful and hip budget digs in the heart of downtown? Yeah, it’s a thing. Hotel RL offers millennial-infused style plus creature comforts like an outdoor pool, onsite coffee shop and a fleet of bikes.

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