Top 2014 NFL Training Camp Sites

NFLTrainingCampDiehard football fans look forward to August in much the same way that children look forward to Christmas morning.  After a five-month post-Super Bowl hiatus, the National Football League finally starts staging games again every August.  The slate begins, as always, on August 3 with the Hall of Fame Game, which features the New York Giants and the Buffalo Bills this year.  The 2014 NFL regular season kicks off a month later on Thursday, September 4, when the Green Bay Packers travel to Seattle to face the Seahawks.  If four weeks of exhibition games aren’t enough to satisfy your football urges, we recommend checking out the following NFL training camps:

Pittsburgh Steelers, Saint Vincent College, Latrobe, Pennsylvania

With six titles, the Steelers are the most successful team in the Super Bowl era.  Since 1967, they’ve been training in Latrobe, hometown of the first Rolling Rock brewery, golfer Arnold Palmer, and Fred Rogers (a.k.a. “Mr. Rogers”).  If you’re hoping to watch the Steelers train, consider staying in Pittsburgh, which is 40 miles from Latrobe and offers world-class attractions.

NFLTrainingCamp_FootballGreen Bay Packers, St. Norbert College, De Pere, Wisconsin

The Packers, the only publicly-owned team in the NFL, have captured four Super Bowl titles.  2014 marks their 57th straight year of training in De Pere, a suburb of Green Bay.  Visitors can take in all of the charms and amenities of the third-largest city in Wisconsin, including Lambeau Field, the Green Bay Botanical Garden, and more.

Oakland Raiders, Marriott Napa Valley Spa and Resort, Napa, California

The Raiders have three Super Bowl rings, not to mention perhaps the nicest training-camp location in the NFL.  Since their 1995 return to Oakland, the Raiders have been working out in Napa Valley, i.e., Wine Country, which boasts approximately 400 wineries across the county.  A renowned tourist destination, Napa offers plentiful accommodations to suit every taste.

Dallas Cowboys, River Ridge Playing Fields, Oxnard, California

The Cowboys, named “America’s Team” by NFL Films after losing Super Bowl XIII to the Steelers, have five Super Bowl titles, tied with San Francisco for second all-time.  They return to Oxnard in 2014, the ninth time they’ve held camp there.  A coastal city about 40 miles southeast of Santa Barbara, Oxnard visitors can catch the Ventura County Fair, Concerts by the Sea, and other events when they’re not watching the Cowboys train.

(Please note that public training sessions for the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks in Renton, Washington, are already sold out.)

Travel Plus, Everywhere, USA

Whether you’re attending an NFL training camp or just getting away from it all, you can earn 5% cash back on flight, hotel, and rental-car reservations by making them through Travel Plus — plus you can get cash back on all sorts of travel services, including airline needs, hotel perks, rental-car extras, Wi-Fi, and more.  Wherever you go, there you are, but when you get there with Travel Plus, you know you’re saving on all your travel plans.

Money-Saving Travel Tips: How to Save on Travel to Super Bowl XLVIII

superbowl_2014With the NFL regular season ending, only 12 teams will have a shot at Super Bowl XLVIII (that’s “48” to regular folks), and no one knows which one will be crowned league champion.  Nonetheless, diehard supporters of that team will want to witness the achievement in person, and it’s not too early for fans of the playoff teams to start planning to attend the game in MetLife Stadium on February 2, 2014.  We can’t help you score cheap Super Bowl tickets (which are among the most expensive tickets in sports), but we can offer tips on how to save on your Super Bowl travel plans.

superbowl_hotelBook your hotel room now.  Hotel reservations are easier to cancel without penalty than flights are, and New York City hotels aren’t yet at full occupancy.  In fact, some hotels are currently offering Super Bowl discounts that probably won’t be available to last-minute planners.

Consider non-NYC destinations.  Even discounted hotel rooms in New York City can be more expensive than rooms in the greater tri-state area, so shop around.  Beware that the game is in East Rutherford, New Jersey, so rates in that area have recently increased.  Connecticut hotel rates are traditionally lower than those in New York City, although the longer MetLife commute could be more expensive.  Speaking of which ….

superbowl_bus

Plan to use public transportation.  Some people are calling this year’s game “Mass Transit Super Bowl I,” because driving to MetLife Stadium will be a challenge.  (FYI:  Even if you do drive, you can’t tailgate.)  Travel restrictions include:

  • Fewer parking spaces.  MetLife Stadium can accommodate 28,500 cars, but various Super Bowl considerations have reduced that number to fewer than 13,000 (and parking passes cost $150).
  • No foot traffic.  Instead of walking to the stadium, you’ll need to take a car, bus, train, or limousine.
  • No drop-offs.  This rules out taxis, unless you want to keep the meter running for the entire game.  To get into the parking lot, limos will need the $150 parking pass; chartered buses, a $350 parking pass.

On the plus side:

  • A “Fan Express” nonstop coach bus service will offer round-trip game-day transportation from nine New York and New Jersey locations for $51.
  • A $50 “Super Pass” will provide visitors unlimited access on all New Jersey Transit trains, buses, and light rail from January 27 through February 3.
  • Unlike area residents, Super Bowl XLVIII visitors will only face short-term traffic problems.

superbowl_coldclothesPack for blizzard conditions.  It’s impossible to predict the exact weather this far in advance, although the Farmers’ Almanac forecasts a cold, stormy Super Bowl Sunday (which could alter the game date).  Still, it’s more cost-effective to be prepared for the worst than to have to buy clothes at the last minute.

With Travel Plus, you can claim additional savings on a Super Bowl trip, including 5% cash back on flight, hotel, and rental-car reservations, plus rebates on travel perks that help make journeys more relaxing.  Wherever you watch Super Bowl XLVIII, we hope you enjoy the game!