The Newbie’s Road Guide: Athens Edition

Araya Jackson

As the winter chill slowly creeps up on us this mid-November, the flame of team spirit within all of us here at Georgia Southern is about to explode. Statesboro is going to turn into such a ghost town come Saturday when we all pack our bags and head to a little familiar place known as Sanford Stadium. Ring a bell? In all five games that we have played in Athens, from the first in 1992 to the most recent in 2012, Southern has fallen short each time. I’m sure there are some die-hard UGA fans here, but this weekend I better not see a single GSU student in red and black. This is our night to show UGA just who they’re messing with.

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, however. For most, this trip has probably been made one too many times, considering the many times that Athens came out on top. But for some, this is the first trek they’ll be making as a college student to the historic district. Here’s just a few tips and things for a smooth weekend, keep you occupied and make the three hour drive feel like nothing.

What to Pack:

I want to start off with this because you can’t leave for a road trip without luggage (duh). I habitually check the weather like no other, so I tend to be a very picky-packer, or maybe more of an over-packer. Georgia weather can be a little unpredictable, and I know we all hate dealing with it, but better safe than sorry. Seems like we’ll be facing highs in the low 60’s. Needless to say, your usual game day dress and boots probably isn’t the way to go. But don’t stress too much about what to bring or if you’ve packed too much. I promise by the next morning, no one will even remember what you were wearing anyways.

Fill ‘Er Up

Am I right? But no, seriously. You’ll come across many many exits along this drive where you won’t see a reliable gas station in sight. This may be common sense, but common sense is really just a paradox. Fill up. Grab all your buddies and head to the pump. Get them to pitch in a few bucks since you’re loading their butts around if it helps. Just fill up the tank. Make everyone go inside to do any business they need to do as well, because you don’t want to be pulling off to the side of the road half an hour into the drive.

Best Road Trip Snacks

Easily one of my favorite parts. I get such a thrill as I walk into Parker’s; it’s a high like no other. I mean, a road trip just isn’t a road trip if you don’t have the right stuff-your-face-food along with you. Some of my go-to’s would be a Coke Icey, Tom’s Hot Fries (you gotta try them), Synder’s Hot Buffalo Pretzel pieces, and Chex Mix. Gosh, I’m starting to drool a little just thinking about these. If you and a friend are stuck between what to get, each of you get different things to have even more variety on the trip.


For some reason, every time I get dragged into a road trip, my thoughts just scream ‘throwback music!’ Literally. There’s nothing like jamming out to the Top Hits of the 2000’s or Fergie radio on Pandora. You’re bound to have laughs on end. Beware: this will probably lead to the telling of some pretty embarrassing stories from your middle school days when this crap was actually popular. Can you say bonding time?

How to Stay Optimistic

If you do not stay occupied on a ride like this, it can quickly turn into one of those long distance trips you experience with your grandma or something. AKA long, painful, and never ending. It is a beautiful drive down the highway however. I’m sure a lot of you Marietta or Johns Creek folks (I swear y’all are everywhere) could use a little country-sighting in your life anyways. But if you have the right people, the right food, the right music and the right plans for the night ahead, you’ll be just fine. Your ride will fly by so fast, you’ll wonder why you don’t make this trip more often.

Then you’ll face the drink prices that night and remember why you stick with Tav Tuesdays.