Posted Jan 20 2011, 10:42 AM by Cathy Erickson
What started out as an impulse decision to buy tickets to a concert has turned into a 6 day trip to Phoenix, Arizona the first week in February...and I couldn't be more excited! My plans have evolved a few times since buying the concert tickets (I am now going solo), but it's safe to say that I'm going get to wear my brand new Callaway Golf Shoes in a few weeks!
This has been an interesting experience...and being the deal shopper that I am, I have been finding moments of triumph and panic as I started making plans.
Air Fare - I wish there was some magic formula to tell you when to buy plane tickets. I held off buying for a few weeks since I wasn't sure what I was going to do at first. Ticket prices changed $60 in one day and in the end I decided to travel 3 hours to Minneapolis to get straight to Phoenix...it saved me $250, and my ticket was just under $300. I did also add one more day on because it made the flight cheaper...of course that also meant one more hotel day, food, and hopefully golf, so my rationalization was nuts...but the idea of maybe getting one more round of golf in won out!
Hotels - Oh the decisions! First let me say that I hope at some point in my life I could choose to stay at a $150+ per night hotel and not have a panic attack about it. My frugal brain just thinks it's crazy to pay that much for just sleeping there (when you don't have someone to split the cost with you), so it was internet hotel hunting for me. There are plenty of rooms available during my time, but I was reminded that it is "on season" out in Phoenix...it appears that I'm on the beginning swing of the most expensive rates for the whole year. I always read hotel reviews at http://www.tripadvisor.com/ and a few other sites. There are always going to be horror stories so I have to take those in context and base my decision on overall reviews. But it's really true, you usually get what you pay for, so reading up and looking at photos is important.
It's always good to find what options are included (or NOT included) in the price. I learned that at some hotels there are parking fees (up to $20 per night!), resort fees ($10-$20 per night!), and internet fees. So much for that "special rate". I like the hotels that offer free breakfasts or have meal credits, but they are often the same ones with other fees.
Not all hotels/resorts show up on hotel search engines either. Sometimes it's worth going to a hotel chain's web site or search for "resorts". It's going to be harder to find a super deal since it's the week of the Waste Management Open, but so far I've got a couple of decent options. I also found a deal where if you stay at any Holiday Inn family of hotels over a weekend you can get a voucher for up to $100 off your airline baggage fees! Not sure that's going to work yet, but I've got a couple options there, too.
"Play & Stays" - sometimes you can find some good play and stay deals at local resorts or hotels. I haven't found any great ones, but there are some options. I tried a web site with a make your own package option. It's a bit too spendy for me, but they offered up some really nice courses and a nice resort to stay at. If I was just going to golf, it might be worth it.
Golf - holy cats, there is a lot of golf out there!! I'm currently searching discount tee time web sites and I hope to be able book some next week (some only allow up to 7 days in advance). I read some great reviews, but this gal can't afford $150 rounds of golf. Thankfully there are several courses in the $50 range that I hope I can play.
WM Open - still on the hunt for passes to the Waste Management Open...it sounds like a friend of a friend might have one for me, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed! I've registered on a couple of web sites to try to win passes, so hopefully there is a chance. Really hoping to spend 2 or 3 days there since I just found out that Matt Kuchar committed to play! WOO HOO...oh, and there are a few other decent guys like Phil, Dustin, AK, and defending champ Hunter Mahan. If the stars align I hope to snap a few photos on Wednesday afternoon (Matt, please practice in the afternoon that day!)...I'll be sure to post them if I do!
It's been a hectic few weeks trying to piece this all together, but honestly I can't wait. ...and neither can my golf clubs!
Filed under: Matt Kuchar, Golf, Phoenix, vacation, Waste Management Open, hotel, play & stay, air fare
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