Travel tips for National Championship Game

FILE - In this Nov. 7, 2015, file photo, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney celebrates after their 23-17 win over Florida State in an NCAA college football game in Clemson, S.C. Alabama is No. 1 in The Associated Press preseason Top 25. Clemson is No. 2. (AP Photo/Richard Shiro, File)

CLEMSON, SC (WSPA) – Clemson fans are gearing up to cheer on their team in the National Championship game next week. While some people may be watching the game from the comfort of their couch, others are making the trip down to Tampa.

Travel agents in the Upstate say the cost of the trip isn’t going to be cheap.

Before the Tigers played in the Fiesta Bowl on New Year’s Eve, some fans went ahead and booked their hotels for that weekend. After the Tigers locked in their spot, travel agents started preparing for more calls and appointments as fans plan their trip.

More people are heading to the game this year because the stadium is closer. Tampa is driving distance from the Upstate, but travel agents have also been keeping an eye on the flights to Tampa. Round-trip flights will cost $1,000 or more, so travel agents say an easy way to save money is to hop in the car.

“There will be flights to Tampa. There aren’t, as of right now, any non-stop flights,” says Jessica Patterson, a travel agent with AAA Greenville. “Sometimes airlines create them for situations like this, but you can’t count on that. Flying is going to be five, six hours anyways, not including waiting in line at the airport, so driving might be a better option.”

Hotels are another difficult thing to find, especially with the game less than a week away. Many hotels in Tampa are already booked through the championship game.

Even if rooms open up, you could be paying hundreds or even thousands of dollars for the weekend. While staying in Tampa is more convenient, Patterson suggests expanding your search to areas outside of Tampa.

“You can stay in St. Petersburg, or even go outside of Tampa. Orlando is about two hours away, but there’s other towns between there that you could stay at<' she says. "Commuting would take a little bit longer, but maybe some of those outer hotels might have shuttle transportation because that the game is going on, and you can save your wallet a little bit of money by doing that."

Also make sure you are going through a reputable source hen planning your trip, and avoid social media for buying tickets and looking at hotels. Craiglist and other social media sites aren't always the most reliable for buying and selling tickets, and you don't want to scammed out of your hard-earned money.

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