Be nice to your neighbors. You might as well cozy up to the people who parked next to you because they’re not going anywhere. Plus, you never know when you’ll need a bottle opener or extra garbage bag.
Prep your food ahead of time. The more you can do the day before, the better. Cut your tomatoes and onions, make your ground beef into patties, put your drinks in the cooler (with the exception of the ice), and so on. Every minute saved on food prep is a minute you get to spend making memories with good friends.
Plan for the mess. You don’t want to be the tailgater who doesn’t clean up after themselves. So, here are some tips to keep the mess to a minimum:
- Bring garbage bags you can attach to your car. If you clean as you go, the mess won’t be as bad.
- Throw a large plastic tub in your trunk you can throw dirty dishes into when the tailgate is over.
- If you’re going to have a charcoal grill, bring a metal bucket to toss the coals into afterward. Only you can prevent tailgate fires, so be sure to extinguish your grill properly.
- Bring baby wipes. No, not for what you might be thinking. Baby wipes are awesome for wiping your hands or face, and cleaning ketchup off of the seat of your car (or your shirt). Opt for the scented kind to keep things #fresh.
Stand out from the rest. Go to the dollar store and buy the most ridiculous helium balloon you can find. Pair it with a really long string and tie it to your vehicle after you park. This will make it easier for your friends to find you.
Prepare for the weather. Weather-prep will vary depending on what part of the country you’re in and what month of the season it is. So, whether you need sunscreen, rain ponchos, or hand warmers – make sure it’s packed. Comfort is key.
Keep things cool. Freeze a bunch of water bottles the night before. Then, use them as ice packs in your cooler. When they defrost, you’re left with cool water for your friends to drink. You can also turn your beverage’s cardboard box into throwaway cooler. Just line it with a plastic bag and fill it with ice!
Don’t spill your drink. A couple of days before your tailgate, use a hot glue gun to attach magnets to your koozies. Then, you’ll be able to stick your drink to your car while you make your burger. Disclosure: We are not responsible for any failed attempts at this well-known Pinterest trick.
Pack your selfie stick. You can pretend all day long you’re not THAT person. But who cares, because… memories.
Follow the rules. Hear me out. The last thing you want to do is get a ticket or even worse, arrested. While most stadiums understand tailgating is a huge part of the fan experience, they put guidelines in place to help ensure the safety of their fans. Tailgating guidelines will tell you everything you need to know – from what kind of grill you can use to whether or not tents are allowed.
Dress in team colors. I shouldn’t even have to put this on the list.
These tips are just meant to make your life a little easier. At the end of the day, it’s pretty hard to mess up tailgating. So, whether you’re an experienced veteran or tailgating newbie, don’t overthink it and enjoy the experience.