Reducing travel expenses....a primer....

Monday, September 2, 2002 6:21 PM

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!

Monday, September 2, 2002 6:30 PM
I signed up for the Holiday Inn Priority Club (it 's free) and it makes the rates a bit cheaper for those hotels.
In June we paid $39.00 at the Holiday Inn Express by SFWOA. The door said the room rate was something like $240.00?!?
I'm soon going to a Nascar race and used the club for hotel rooms for it too. The room is like $88 and $69, most rooms at other places (and probably there too, if you aren't a Priority Club member) are like $150 or more because of the race.
I would recommend signing up to save some money.
Monday, September 2, 2002 6:35 PM
Holiday Inn's double points. My dad works away alot of the time and he is booked in Holiday Inn's most of the time. With double points he earns alot of free nights in Holiday Inn's around the country. This helped us take a 2 week road trip of BGW, PKD, SFGAdv, and SFNE. Of course this only works for people who's job makes them travel alot.

"Enjoy your voyage to the sun on the wings of Apollo's Chariot"

Monday, September 2, 2002 7:17 PM
Does anyone else camp? I almost can't stand to pay for hotel rooms. All I do is sleep there, its hardly worth it. In fact, I will often put my canoe on top of my car, park at a publice access site, canoe downstream a little ways, set up my tent along side the river and sleep very well. The next morning I'll paddle upstream to my car. I've done many overnights on rivers just for the fun of it too. I've slept in the back on my car also on solo trips. I guess you have to be tough; not everyone can do it.
Monday, September 2, 2002 7:22 PM

Traveling with about 3 or 4 other people and splitting costs evenly for gas works wonders. Also, 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.

Monday, September 2, 2002 7:28 PM

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.

Monday, September 2, 2002 10:32 PM

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.

Monday, September 2, 2002 11:33 PM
I've recently discovered the TravelLand Campgrounds in Sandusky. They have tent sites w/or w/o electiricity, they have little primitive cabins w/electricity, and modern bathrooms are just short walk away. And the rates are really really reasonable. When I stayed up there this past week, it was 39 bux a night v/s 79 at Super 8 on Milan Rd. I couldn't see forking over more dough than necessary. (that and I really like the outdoors better than being cooped up in a motel room anyhow!)

1 Day, 4 Planes, A whole New World. 9/11/01

Tuesday, September 3, 2002 3:37 AM
Traveling during the offseason (if possible) saves lots o' money. I also compare most of the travel sites (Expedia, Travelocity, etc) for the cheapest airfare and hotel rooms/rental cars but that is a no brainer :)
Tuesday, September 3, 2002 4:09 AM

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.

Tuesday, September 3, 2002 6:30 AM
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. But also AAA gives cheaper rates on hotels, rental cars and even the tickets to the them parks themselves. Some parks also offer discounts on in-park food and merchandise.

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...

Tuesday, September 3, 2002 6:37 AM

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 ;)


Tuesday, September 3, 2002 6:47 AM

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. ***

Tuesday, September 3, 2002 7:49 AM

2Hostyl said:
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.

Tuesday, September 3, 2002 8:05 AM

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..."
My page

Wednesday, January 22, 2003 11:40 AM

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!

Wednesday, January 22, 2003 11:47 AM

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!

Wednesday, January 22, 2003 1:49 PM

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.;)

Wednesday, January 22, 2003 5:14 PM

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.

Wednesday, January 22, 2003 6:04 PM
I used to travel alot for work and all of the suggestions here are good so I'll add a few more. After you findthat awesome hotel price on the internet, don't book it just yet. Most internet site as well as 800/888 numbers are for a clearing house and might not give you the BEST deal. Get the number for the hotel direct and call, ask for the rate, ask for discounts, then say you can beat their price on the internet. Most of the time they will either give you a bigger discount(no middleman fee) or throw in free breakfast at some of the full service hotels. Also look for weekend specials including free breakfast. Most mid level hotels offer some kind of free breakfast (juice,coffee,milk,cereal,danish etc) Although I don't travel as much now I still belong to all the clubs as some of the perks are quite nice. Most of them give you a free night after 10 paid nights(some more, some less) . When traveling on southwest join their rapid rewards club and book online for double credits. Also spend time researching fares on southwest as you almost always have at least 1 stop or plane change. Once in a while you can book each leg of the flight as a seperate round trip and double or triple your flight credits for the same price. Example St.louis to San Antonio. Book St. louis to houston r/t then book Houston to San antonio r/t. all flights from St. louis stop in houston to go to San Antonio. Not always the same price, but some times it is! Also fly/drive. It's usually cheaper to fly to vegas and rent a car and drive to L.A. than to fly to L.A. from St. louis. Pick up those vegas coasters and you are only 4 hours from lala land. If you are able to make last miunte decisions wait till Tuesdays of the week you want to go and check each airline websites for last minute week end specials. Last year we found a deal from St. Louis to Maui for 249.00 r/t, can't beat that for a weekend in the sun.



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