Friday, March 13, 2009

How I Did Spring Training Super Cheap

Inspired by a comment left for Ian. I am a cheap B-word. I figured I'd make a post about how I got to spring training and back super-cheap.

  • Check out the spring training schedule as soon as it comes out. Assuming you just want to go for four nights, pick out three games that sound do-able. The Jays do three-game spring training flex packs. I highly recommend the best seats, because you'll never get to sit right behind the plate at the Rogers Centre for twenty bucks. I got seats five rows behind the plate, and they would have been better if I didn't want an aisle seat. (Damn girl bladder.) Don't order them until you find a good flight/hotel package for those dates.

  • I'd recommend going for weekdays, since kids are still in school. Weekends are probably more crowded.

  • Go to - not .ca. I laboured away on a crapload of the usual travel websites, and I found yahoo to have the best deals by far. YMMV.

  • Air Canada had $99 seats direct out of Toronto to and from Tampa, and that's what I went for.

  • Use Google Maps with street view to see what's close to your hotel.

  • Be willing to stay somewhere a little farther away from the ballpark. You'll pay out the nose if you insist on staying in Dunedin. I was in the less-attractive part of Clearwater along US 19, but it was clean and safe. I would not hesitate to stay there again. There are a ton of hotels along that strip and I'd bet most of them are a safe bet. Bonus: consider catching the Jays at Bright House Field against the Phillies. That's what I'd like to do next time. Walking distance.

  • My ridiculously-cheap hotel had free breakfast, a fridge and microwave in the room; plus a 24-hour Walmart and Wendy's very close by. So I saved quite a few bucks on meals.

  • I don't drive, so I had no choice, but consider getting a city bus pass and the SuperShuttle to and from the airport instead of renting a car. The PSTA ain't exactly the TTC, but it was adequate. You can get $4 day passes or $20 for a whole week. Supershuttle fare is about $50 round trip.

  • Travel light and take the TTC to the airport. There's an express bus to and from Pearson out of the Kipling station about every 20 minutes.

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