So I have a big summer trip planned. It started as a simple trip to the Baseball Hall of Fame for the induction of Ken Griffey Jr. And if anyone knows me, they know how much I love Ken Griffey Jr. That could be a whole another post in itself!
As always, my mind starts turning and working, thinking, what else can I do on this trip? And my first thought is always sports!
So I added in a game to Fenway Park, then I saw that the Mariners play in Pittsburgh on Tuesday? Um, ok add that in. As I was thinking more how much of a bucket list trip this was turning into, I thought what other ballpark could I go to that I have always dreamed of seeing. Wrigley Field it is, check.
Ok, that all sounds great, but how does one make this work without spending a small fortune? Well, I am The Saving Traveler and while I feel like my resume is so small compared to the other big shots and bloggers, I feel that I know how to save some money while traveling and have done so in many countries. Keep in mind for this trip I will also have my cousin going with me plus some of his friends that are great travel partners as well. My cousin has turned into a nice addition to my travel addiction and sports. Las Vegas for March Madness, two out of my three Super Bowls, plus many Seahawks and Mariner Games.
So I started researching which I am also addicted to. Sometimes I will babble on randomly about all my travel plans to my wife. She really don’t know what I am rambling about and she tells me as much sometimes.
Hall of Fame:
The first thing I did was purchase two baseball Hall of Fame memberships. I got one at $100 and the other at $80 (I think. It was on special at Christmas time if you purchased as a gift). This will get us admission into the Hall of Fame for up to 4 people on each membership for both days, special entry line, and various gifts included with the memberships).
I locked up a rental car quickly as well. These don’t charge at the time of booking which means you can keep looking for a lower rate. I always use Costco travel for cars, best rates around usually. $150 for 3 days. We ended up getting two cars for 6 people with luggage. The second car they booked later and got in at $192. We are splitting evenly so $58 per person for the car.
Next I locked up a hotel for the Hall of Fame area. This was a must since this is a special weekend find a hotel sooner than later would save time and money. Nothing was available within an hour of Cooperstown and we were still 10 plus months out, wow! Found a nice little area about an hour away. Locked up a Microtel by Wyndham. It has free breakfast which it great on a trip like this with 6 people, it saves money! Nothing fancy but two rooms with 2 queen beds in each will be fine. I don’t mind crashing on the floor if needed. I have slept on floors to be able to attend Super Bowls so we will figure it out. Plus the hotel has rollaway beds. Being unsure if everyone would really commit and not knowing what days we would exactly travel did cost me a little in savings, but overall I still saved a bunch. I originally booked two days, then later added on another night. I booked everything with a refundable rate which was about $10 more a night but worth it when planning a large trip like this and when I don’t have airfare yet. Overall for the three nights I paid $779 for two rooms, each with 2 queens. With a group of 6, that breaks down to about $130 per person or $43 a night.
Always start with a search engine. In this case I really like Kayak. It gives you all the regular fares, you can set alerts, plus it produces what it calls, “Hacker Fares”. This shows you how to combine multiple airlines to save money. I monitored these rates and spent hours combining different ways to book including booking multiple one way trips, which is how we needed up booking.
Remember I needed to go from Seattle to Boston to Pittsburgh to Chicago and back to Seattle (SEA-BOS-PIT-CHI-SEA). So with plenty of research here is what I ended up booking. In addition, we booked all nonstop flights and flights that were more convenient for us. This makes the price a little more but worth it. That’s why if you ever notice the cheapest flights are usually red eyes or 6 AM flights. The airlines want to fill those first since they are less desirable times for the common person. Plus we are doing 3 different cities in 3 days.
- SEA-BOS on JetBlue for $173 per person, non-stop flight and a red eye.
- BOS-PIT on JetBlue for $102 per person. Could have had this as low as $65, but wanted non-stop and a later flight (instead of 6) so sacrificed.
- PIT-CHI on United for $128. Cheapest option and a non-stop.
- CHI-SEA on Alaska airlines for $254. This was not a cheapest option but we decided not to fly Frontier and I didn’t want a 6 am flight on Alaska so we took the higher amount and an afternoon flight. Honestly I always say if you are happy paying it, then go for it.
Technically I booked all our hotels before airfare just to lock in some refundable rates. This gives me the option to change them later had our group size change to switch to non-refundable rates for cheaper.
I booked a Boston hotel near the airport since we will fly in and get our car and then come back for the game. By the way, Boston hotels are expensive. But a room with 1 king bed plus a sofa bed ran $278 each, $556 total or $92 a person. We may be able to get this one booked on Hilton points later too which would be a nice savings.
Was able to book a hotel for $522 for two rooms. Each room is a suite has two queen beds, plus a sofa bed. $87 per person and it includes free breakfast. In addition the hotel is right by the stadium so that’s a plus.
I booked a Days Inn. Nothing fancy but the price was right and again it’s refundable so I can always change it. Two rooms again each with 2 queen beds plus free breakfast. $444 total or $74 a person.
So for all out hotels we are paying $383 per person if we don’t change anything. That’s for 6 nights and an avg. of $63 per night and every hotel has free breakfast.
Keep in mind when I mention that we can change hotels, I will either book a non-refundable rate which is charged at time of booking or I will hit the computer a week out and use The Hotel Tonight app or Hotwire.com which could easily save me 20%
A 6-night trip, flying into 3 different cities with airfare and hotel plus a car for part of the trip and we are at $1098.00 per person. To compare I saw that there were packages just for the Hall of Fame weekend hotel only, with some meet and greets and a couple meals going for almost the exact same price.
We still need to buy some baseball game tickets and of course there will be spending money. However, for a trip of this magnitude which qualifies as a bucket list trip for us sports fans, I would consider the price a steal.
Let’s not forget the most important part air miles and points. It doesn’t always work out perfectly. I am flying two airlines I don’t have accounts for (JetBlue and United) but I still signed up for miles with them just in case. I’ll get miles on the Alaska segment plus I booked with rewards cards so I earned points that way. I also offered to book for some of the group so it worked out well. I used the Chase Sapphire preferred card to earn double points on all airfare except Alaska where I used the Alaska card to earn double miles with them for the purchase.
I have a friend that is big into the points thing with various credit cards. I have always been an air mile guy but am starting to explore point/mile cards. I am always looking for more points and miles.
Now it’s on to planning a family getaway for the summer!