well, let's face it, if you're going to ride a lot of coasters, you're going to put in a lot of travel...and since most of us actually work for a living, (or have parents that do), we have a limited supply of cash with which to pursue "the next great whale"....a lot of you (ok, most) live in the Midwest where a nice variety of park experiences is readily available....the rest of us fly, rent cars, stay in hotels, etc. We usually do pretty well booking flights via the web (Hotwire, Priceline, etc.)...and once got a car for $15/day for an SRM trip....almost as exciting as Legend with PTCs, lol....
Thought it would be a good idea if others have suggestions to post them....IIRC, my cousin used to have some sort of courier gig where he could drop rental cars off in certain cities...good if you can get time off readily or have a variety of potential destinations...I've heard e-savers mentioned here before...please post any info you think MIGHT be useful to others, leave URLs where possible, etc....thanks!
"Enjoy your voyage to the sun on the wings of Apollo's Chariot"
Traveling with about 3 or 4 other people and splitting costs evenly for gas works wonders. Also, www.priceline.com your hotels! You can score some amazing deals.
If you plan on doing a lot of parks, buy season passes! They save so much money in the long run.
Oh, and make sure the car can get some decent gas mileage too. :)
It tastes like burning.
Camping is a great option as long as their are suitable places to camp near the parks.
Good deals on motels can be had when you make phone reservations by pestering the person for discounts. Ask for anything. Mention clubs, businesses, trade groups, special rates, special discount rooms, etc. It seems like a lot of places have unadvertised specials or else they make up prices as they go along.
I started out with nothing and still have most of it left.
Rental Cars = Hotwire (good prices, and all fees are included when you buy, so the rental co. doesn't jack you at the counter for another $100).
Hotels = Priceline (amazing deals, like say a $400 Wyndham Suite for $30; I never pay more than $30/night nowadays, and I'm staying at Hiltons and Marriots instead of Red Roofs and Motel 6's).
Airfare = Expedia, Orbitz, or Hotwire if it doesn't matter when you arrive or depart.Compare 'em, contrast 'em, play with arrival and departure times and days, and search all the airports in your area and the area you're going. It helps to have a job that will let you waste hours doing this, and a fast internet connection!
Mike Miller - on the gravy train to coaster nirvana.
1 Day, 4 Planes, A whole New World. 9/11/01
Flying: If you're travelling from and to Southwest Airlines cities, watch for their $99 (+ taxes) one-way fares that become available several times a year. Other major airlines always match Southwest's fares on the same routes. Southwest flies to cities such as Cleveland, Indianapolis, Columbus, Baltimore, Orlando, and many many others from all over the country.
Also, if you so happen to have an American Express card, you should use it (if you are fiscally responsible) for many of your in-park purchases in Six Flags parks as they offer a 10% discount.
But I may not be the best person to ask as I treat my excursions as "vacations" and budget accordingly. I dont pay "top dollar" for comparable items (like a rental car), but I dont accept sub-standard things in lieu of the higher quality items (e.g. I'd rather eat at a "Ruth Chris" than a "Steak n Shake" :))
--who dreads looking back at how much he has spent in parks this year...
One great way to reduce expenses is to make one day trips. If you can stand to drive 16 hours in one day, or if you can take turns driving, then you save on a hotel and a meal or two. I did a trip to SFGAm this summer from Columbus, and we went there and back in one day. Not too bad.
The gas mileage thing is important, too. As much as I love to drive my Santa Fe, the thing eats gasoline. My wife's Elantra is smaller and not as comfortable on long trips, but it saves up to $40 a trip to take it instead (yes, we're a Hyundai family, about to add a Tiburon V6 to the clan). If only I could ride my R6! Now that would save gas ;)
It all depends on the situation.
Day trips are an option if the park is close enough. (3 to 4 hrs away is my max).
If it is a local park and they offer an evening discount, try to arrive there when that is in effect. You MAY not get everything you want however because of time.
As for travel, with days off at a premium, I agree with Jeremy... I treat park trips as vacations. Granted, when my wife and I travel, we don't need to stay at the top of the line hotels, but we also do not like to do the budget thing either. IF we are going to be there only one night, we are not quite as picky. There are several chains out there that charge around $64 a night. However, if we are going to be in a location for longer than 1 night, we at least like some place nice to go back to. Again, doesn't have to be fancy, but nice. Our best find was on our June trip. We arrived in Pittsburgh area on Thursday night, did Kennywood on Friday, and then headed to Johnstown for a wedding on Sat. Stayed at a Hampton in in Monroeville (I think that was the name of the town) 8 miles from Kennywood. Good location, nice room, indoor pool, and an Outback Steak House right next door (as a matter of fact, the hotel used Outback as their room service... Kennywood AND Outback's Prime Rib... I was happy). All for around $100 a night. Granted, not budget, but not bad considering this was going to basically be our vacation for this summer.
On cost: One thing that I find amazingly funny.... People who complain about parking prices of $9, but then will buy an on ride photo or two for $10 each.
Kind of hard to take a post as objective if a park or coaster name is part of the "user name"
*** This post was edited by SLFAKE on 9/3/2002. ***
The one thing that has yet to be mentioned that I think is essential is to become a AAA member. If you are going to be driving a lot anyway, you should already be a member just for the car benefits.
And I got a lot of use out that AAA membership this weekend as it not only saved me oney on the motel but it got me out of a jam when the car ran out of gas on I-70!
I started out with nothing and still have most of it left.
Yes, AAA is your friend.
I've used Priceline before (saved me a BUNDLE on my trip to Florida in January), but if I can find a "good enough" deal directly, I feel much happier.
For flying, I used to just book directly with USAirways, since I'm Silver Preferred, but some of the recently-announced policy changes, and incredibly stupid comments by execs, have pretty much assured that I'll happily be pricing other airlines in the future (but that rant is for a completely different forum...)
"Now all I want is to find a way home, to warn Earth -- look upward, and share the wonders I see..."
I know it's off-season, so this might not be of great use now, but there are some, judging by recent topics, that are making plans now for the summer. I hear rooms around HW fill up early for SRM, so this might help a few folks. I've used many of these suggestions so far for my trip planned around SRM this year, and it has been very helpful!
Take advantage of all the long distance phone calls you make! Find a provider that offers a mileage points award program. MCI does and I believe Sprint does, too. You can set your account to automatically dump the points you earn into a mileage program at the airline of your choice.
The nice thing is that once you get involved in such a program competing long distance providers will compete for your business by offering thousands of miles to switch to their services. I once took an offer to switch to Sprint for 6,000 miles and then a month later MCI offered to give me 5,000 miles if I switched to them. Guess what I got a month or so after that? Yep...another offer from Sprint!
Most airlines only require 25,000 miles for a free round-trip ticket for domestic flights and with the right deal its easy to gather enough points for a free flight.
Moosh - flying to Puerto Vallarta this May for free!
Welcome to the New & Improved Coasterbuzz...tomfoolery allowed!
Another thing I look into is, Do I have Family near a park(s), and when is good to go visit them. I'm gonna try to visit Family in Fl. this year and go 2 BGT, Disney, IOA, and hang for a day or two in Miami, Orlando, and Tampa w/my cousin who is my age. I've never been to Fl. and they are begging me 2 come.
I have family near Carowinds, and before I moved, my maternal grandmother and other family lived 3 hrs or so from PKD and SFA, but now I live here, and can go on a day trip. thankfully i'm not far from Hearshey, Kennywood, or Dorney, and may visit them this summer too. Besides that, I try to talk my friends into road trips, hopefully hitting CP and PKI this summer, and maybe Vegas and Cali for some parks later in the year...
I Am not the Real CPnut/SeederPoint/Chris Sawyer. Or Am I? No.;)
Excellent Topic Florida Gator. I am going to save the entire section for future reference. Here's a few more suggestions.
Stay at the park's campgrounds. Camping is cheaper and the shuttle saves parking costs.
Get in on special events. Park special events include multiple days and some meals and ERT for a good price.
Scam your way into events you don't necessarily belong at. i.e. Get tickets from a Longinbarger(sic) basket dealer free or cheap for their private day at CP. Be a chaperone for kids on home school day at SFGA. Hook up with someone in the media for a media day. Hook up with the group that buys out a park for a day. These all can be cheaper and provide opportunity for ERT.
Be tough and sleep in the car once in a while
season passes and memberships in the right coaster clubs for discounts.
GO TO SMALL FAMILY PARKS- They usually have no parking cost and cheaper costs all the way around.
I can't be bargained with, I can't be reasoned with, I don't feel pity or remorse or fear and I will not stop EVER until I have ridden them all.
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