Time Management and Planning Tips for Baseball Road Trips
Friday March 9, 2012
Douglas ‘Chuck’ Booth (Baseball Writer)- You have booked your vacation time off work after scouting out the Major League Baseball Schedule this year(Usually posts Sept.15 for the next following year). You then either have to buy plane tickets or organize Ground Transportation to move around to these cities, in a lot of cases you will need to do both. Most people do not want to feel rushed on vacation, as chances are their real life is already like this and they are looking for a reprieve from a hectic pace. Obviously, the better travelers would already have priced out everything from flights to: parking, food, lodging, gas, car rentals, taxi cabs, tickets, tolls, luggage, add that to electronic considerations like; roaming charges for cellphones and all forms of picture-taking like maybe additional Memory Cards. You are left with a lot of planning and money management to tackle. You have finagled a way to pay for your vacation, however how do you go about the process in stages?
- Book your time off of work first. This may sound like a no-brainer here , but we have heard some war stories on people buying all of their vacation items and assuming they will be granted vacation. There is a lot of unforgiving from travel companies when you try to alter your plans.
- The next step I would always do is to buy your plane fares. These rates will hardly ever go down. The prices might start off low, before they gradually rise in price when the date draws near. In order to not get caught in rapid escalation, try to buy your tickets at least a month in advance of your scheduled target date.
- Book with a known hotel that is in your price comfort. Once you do this you can use www.priceline.com to better your prices for a similar hotel. I will have a blog about the bidding process of Priceline next week. Keep in mind that if you bid for your room, the money is charged to your credit card right away.
- I buy all tickets for the MLB games that may be harder to pick-up first. Parks like: Chicago, Boston, New York and Philly are hard to come by. If you are buying at least a pair of tickets, I would rather be secure in knowing I have the tickets in hand already for the games I want to see. For the rest of the clubs, buying a ticket at the Gate Office at each venue is easier now than ever. The price is cheaper to buy at the park as well.
- You should always add 15% to your intended budget. Any sorts of mysterious things can happen. Lost Luggage, broken camera’s or cellphone’s are just some examples here. Weather can also be unkind towards travelers at inopportune times. If you are flying, you always have to factor in if there are flight delays.
- Use the 24 hour clock method for each day you are on the road. This goes part in parcel with google map directions or transportation time-charts between cities.
- Have an idea of what food you will be eating each day and when. Everyone loves a little spontaneity on vacation, so you can leave some of the places to eat blank, just factor it into the time.
- Start to focus on all facets of each part of the day. What amenities does the hotel have? Do they have laundry or dry-cleaning services? What time is check-in and what time is check-out? Do they serve continental breakfasts? if so, what are the hours? Is there Wi-Fi available?…or at least a communal internet station in the lobby? Is there a shuttle bus to and from the airport? How much of a deposit do they pre-authorize on your credit card for the time you stay there?
10. On a Budget list, write down the daily expenses for each day of the trip. At the end of you doing this add up the entire columns for each category so you will know a rough estimate of what it will cost you. Phone the customer service centers for all car rental companies. They can tell you about their deposit structure for your rental car reservations. Remember that the National/Alamo and Enterprise conglomerate only take the amount of your rental price as a deposit if you join their given rewards membership programs.
11. If you have flights booked, make sure you note the change and cancellation fees for each individual company. To find out what gas will cost you in each state you can go to http://www.gasbuddy.com/ for the latest prices. Most car rental agencies will have their fleet of cars posted for each car classification on their websites. In these posts, you can see the average Miles you can expect to get from your car rental.
12.When you use www.googlemaps.com for directions from city to city, they have listings down for whenever Tolls are charged on the given route. I like to compliment this further with Wikipedia for the exact totals of toll fares for each particular stretch of said highways. Do not disregard this warning. Some days can cost you $30-$50 in tolls if you are traveling through Pennsylvania to either: NY and NJ or through to Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. I spent $350 for tolls in one of my streaks by driving 10000 Miles.
13.Print off the schedule for all of MLB’s games during the days you are on vacation plus the first few days after in case you decide to extend your vacation. This may also come in handy if there is a weather related cancellation. Having first-hand knowledge of the MLB schedule can have you prepared in realizing whether you can re-schedule that city in or not. Most times when a game is cancelled, the ball team offers face value for your ticket that is applicable to a future home date that same year or a flat-out refund only at the box office gate at the park on that very date.
14.Prepare an emergency kit, not just one that will save your life. Bring a 12 volt AC Adapter. This will enable you to charge anything in the cars console while you drive. Perfect for cellphones, IPAD’S and IPOD’S. Buy an Atlas Road Map for all of the cities in the USA. They cost about $10 at Wal-Mart. Do this, because while the google map directions, (or whatever map site you like one the internet) are generally good, road detours and unexplained construction zones can have you off course in no time. Print off all of your reservations for hotels and cars. Should you be stranded, you can call ahead and cancel reservations. Let your credit card companies know you are going to be using your card on vacation and what dates. This will save them from giving you that courtesy call for unusual use of your credit card.
15.After all this work is done, relax and enjoy the games and remind yourself how fortunate we all are to be able to do this kind of travel to ballparks!!
***Thank you to our Baseball Writer- Douglas “Chuck” Booth for preparing today’s feature on MLB reports. To learn more about “The Fastest 30 Ballgames” and Chuck Booth, you can follow Chuck on Twitter (@ChuckBooth3024) and you can also follow Chuck’s website for his Guinness Book of World Record Bid to see all 30 MLB Park in 23 days click here or on the 30 MLB Parks in 23 days GWR tracker at the Reports click here. To Purchase or read about “The Fastest 30 Ballgames Book please click here ***
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Posted on March 9, 2012, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged Alamo, baseball road trip, boston, chicago, Chuck Booth, enterprise, fastest 30 ballgames, gasbuddy.com, googlemaps, National Car Rental, new York, philadelphia, priceline, Wikipeda. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.