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Hit the road with your team for the ultimate weekend adventure

Team loyalty comes with benefits: There is simply no easier way to plan a little escape than to hit the road for an away game. And while you're at it, you can experience the best of what a new town has to offer. By combining your love of sports with having new experiences in new locales with your family, you join a new segment of travelers Hampton by Hilton has identified as Seekenders.

Samantha Ponder is something of an expert on the Seekender movement. The ESPN reporter is constantly on the road covering collegiate football and basketball games, so she treasures those opportunities when she can grab a quick getaway with her young daughter, Scout, and her husband. For her, it’s not only fun, but “Seekending” is one way to shape and deepen their lives.

“I see life as the ultimate adventure and want to explore as much as I can, not only to challenge and grow myself, but to set that example for my daughter,” Ponder says. “I want her to be exposed to many places and people because I want her to start asking herself the important questions in life as she gets older.”

Ponder offers some sound tips and strategies to help you plan the perfect Seekender adventure that is trouble free and will also create lasting memories.

Escape from your comfort zone.

Go ahead, write down two or three ideas for a getaway that will take you out of your routine. Look for away games in locales offering foods and experiences that are truly unique from your hometown. For example, if your team is playing in Denver, carve a bit of extra time to head up to the Rocky Mountains for a day of snowshoeing, hiking or skiing.

Ask the locals.

Keep a little space in the itinerary to stumble upon something fun. For example, you don’t have to scour the internet to find the very best top-rated destinations to eat, Ponder says. One easy way to do this is ask the locals or when staying at a Hampton by Hilton, ask the staff. They are eager to share some of their favorite local places. This is especially true if you are off on a collegiate game adventure. “There are always hidden gems in college towns,” Ponder says.

Make friends.

When you’re tailgating, be open to meeting others around you. After all, you already have something in common: a love of the game. “Bring extra food with an intention to share,” Ponder says. “You may end up meeting a lifelong friend!”

Take care of yourself.

If you don’t have time to put in a full workout, come up with a quick, “good-enough” routine for the hotel room. Ponder does push-ups and squats in her room. Another great option is to book a hotel that offers a complimentary fitness center like at a Hampton by Hilton. Ponder also dresses casually for comfort when she’s en route. And her two must-haves for the journey are facial wipes and a baseball cap. “They're easy to pack and a good way to feel more pulled together, even when you're not,” she says.

Reach for amenities that matter.

A hotel with all the amenities you want and expect is like a great travel partner: It can maximize the enjoyment of your Seekender trip. Samantha’s top three hotel musts are cleanliness, functionality and a comfortable bed. She finds she doesn’t have to worry about anything when she stays at Hampton by Hilton hotels. She knows the room will be clean, the free, hot breakfast will make it easy to start the day and she can still get her workout in at the complimentary fitness center.

Taking your love for your favorite team on the road is a great way to bond and build lasting memories for your family. For inspiration, follow Ponder’s Seekender adventures on HamptonSeekender.com and join the conversation on social media at #Seekender.

EDITION: California | U.S. & World
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