Irma impacts Vol Nation travel to Florida game

Expect to see a lot of other travelers if you drive down to the UT-Florida game this Saturday in Gainesville. Sept. 12, 2017

The Vols will take on the Florida Gators in Gainesville on Saturday, despite reported damage and power outages in the area left behind by Hurricane Irma. 

Even with the uncertainty of conditions in Florida, plenty of Vol Nation is still planning to make the away game trip to support Team 121. 

10News surveyed more than 50 students on the University of Tennessee campus Tuesday afternoon. Forty-five students said Irma is not affecting their plans to attend the game, while nine students said the remnants of Irma made them cancel their plans to head to Florida. 

"It started flooding. I was too scared to go down there cause I didn't want to get down there and maybe get trapped," freshman Jacob Harrold said. "I just didn't want to deal with all that." 

After Tennessee came back from 21 points down to snap an 11-game losing streak to Florida last year at home, fans said they wanted to be in Gainesville to hopefully see another win. 

"After last year's win, I think we all just want to see it happen again and be a huge deal again in Knoxville, especially going down there and beating them at their place," Jessica Webb, a junior, said. 

For fans making the more than 500-mile trek south, Stephanie Milani, the public affairs director for AAA The Auto Club Group, said Vol Nation will need to be prepared for the worst. 

"Just know that you're going to be in a lot of company," Milani said. "Some of those people are coming down to tailgate, but some of those people are trying to get back home."

AAA recommends checking your route via Florida 511, keeping your gas tank filled once it gets to a quarter of a tank, and double-checking hotel reservations. 

"Call that property and make sure that they haven't sustained any damage," Milani said. "That they don't currently have flooding, and make sure that they still have a place for you." 

Milani said gas prices should hold steady through the end of the week, but they may be more expensive heading into South Georgia and Florida. 

But even with questionable conditions heading into Florida toward the end of the week, Milani said she still expects a good amount of the Big Orange following to make the trip to see the Vols in this rivalry game. 

"UT versus Florida is always a big rivalry so I won't be surprised if a lot of Vol fans do still travel to Florida for the game," Milani said, "so I expect that we'll see a fair amount of orange in the stadium." 

© 2017 WBIR.COM


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