Save Money on Travel When Visiting MLB Ballparks

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I was searching Pinterest for budget travel advice and came across the post How to Save Money on Travel- 52 Ideas by Ytravel Blog and thought I would share it.

Some of the travel advice is more geared toward international travel, which might come in handy if you’re pursuing ballparks outside the US (something I hinted I’d like to start doing a few weeks ago!). I went through the list and picked out what I thought was the most relevant advice for domestic baseball travel and added my comments on some things in parentheses. If you’d like to see the full list, click the link above.

1. Use the Free Days

Visit museums or tourist sites on free days or when they are discounted. Before you go anywhere, make sure you look on their website to find out if they offer free visiting hours or discounts.

(This is excellent advice and something I mentioned in my Exploring the Cities on a Budget series. Great way to enjoy more than just the ballpark!)

2. Talk to the Locals

It can go a long way to good advice, a friendship and even a discount. A good ice-breaker is to ask for directions or advice (“Where’s a good restaurant?”).

(This is also a great way to make new friends!)

3. Be Flexible with Your Flight Dates

If possible, give yourself the best chance to capture any of the cheap flights when the prices fluctuate by searching a couple of days, or even weeks, either side of your preferred departure date. A few great booking engines include:

  • Kayak – Compares hundreds of sites at once.
  • Skyscanner – Provides instant comparison on flight prices for over 670,000 routes.
  • Airfarewatchdog – Keeps track of deals and alerts you of price drops.

4. Adjust Your Times for Flying

Flying at unpopular hours, such as the red-eye or early in the AM increases your chance of getting discounted flights.

(Red-eye flights are great for cross country treks and they eliminate a night in the hotel (see tip #19). I did this coming home from Seattle and it saved me time and money.)

5. Fly on a Midweek Day

Tuesdays and Wednesdays are usually the cheapest times and try and avoid holiday periods.

(Catching a weekday baseball series might require a few days off from work, but you’ll save on travel, lodging, and even game tickets!)

6. Go Directly to the Airline Website

Once you have looked at all the flight search websites and found the cheapest price, as a LAST resort go directly to that airline’s own website. Many of the airlines have lower fares that you can only get when you book online on their site or buy an e-ticket.

7. Join a Frequent Flyer Program

Earn points towards cheaper fares, upgrades, and free companion tickets. It may take a while to accumulate points, but they CAN pay off big time.

8. Stay More Than 1 Night

Many hotels, hostels and certainly apartments provide their best deals when you stay over more than one night. A few sites we like to search on include:

  • Hotwire – For last minute deals. e.g. We got a 4-star hotel in the heart of the French Quarter in New Orleans for $50.
  • Hotels.com – has over 20,000 last minute deals each week.
  • Stayz (apartments).
  • Priceline – Bid low on last-minute hotels. Check their price breaker deals.
  • and Last Minute.
  • Travel Republic for cheap holidays in 2014

(I can attest to Priceline’s awesomeness. We got an amazing deal Memorial Day weekend in St. Louis.)

9. Call the Hotel Directly

A last minute phone call directly to a hotel, or hostel, asking about cheap rooms can prove fruitful. They don’t like having empty rooms so will discount.

10. Sign Up for e-Mail Notifications

The best airfare and hotel sales can go largely unannounced. Sign up for your favorite travel brands e-Newsletters. Special promotion codes can save you money and you can also be notified of last minute deals in this way.

11. Follow on Social Media

Go and “like” your favorite travel sites on facebook and “follow” them on twitter. It’s getting more common for travel companies to release hot deals directly through their social media channels.

12. Rent an Apartment

Apartments are the BOMB for families or those looking for extra living space and a kitchen so you can save on food. Check out Airbnb as a way to get low-cost vacation rentals and sublets from locals in 180 countries.

(We did this in Vieques and it saved us a ton in hotel costs! Also, it’s a great option for big events like the All-Star Game and the playoffs when hotels will be crowded and raising their rates.)

13. Use Hotel Reward Programs

Many brands have them and you can get perks like free nights or room upgrades. The Hotels.com welcome rewards program gives you one free night for every 10 booked through them.

14. Check for Family Deals

Always ask about discounted rates, free meals for children, and an upgrade at check in – they can only say no.

15. Use Coupons

Do your research to find travel discounts and coupons for the areas you are visiting. Check out the brochure shelf in the lobby of your hotel.Visit the local tourist information offices for free maps and ideas.

Use the following:

  • Tourist booklets and brochures.
  • Back of supermarket receipts.
  • Websites (local tourist boards and businesses and coupon sites).

16. Use Credit Card Reward Points

Check the program and benefits for your particular credit card, you might be able to use your points for accommodation costs and frequent flyer points.

To become a pro and get a deep understanding of how to accumulate and use points for flights, go and learn from these guys:

17. Stay in Hostels and Guesthouses

A great option for budget accommodation but they are not for everyone, and we have written a post about our tips for staying in hostels. Hostels are usually well located allowing you to walk and save on transport.

(This is especially helpful for those traveling alone and looking to keep lodging costs down. I did this in Chicago and had zero issues!)

18. Couch Surf

A great way to meet locals for a drink, a tour, and accommodation is by Couchsurfing. It connects travelers with local people in various cities that offer members a place to sleep.

(This isn’t for me, but I did blog about it as a great option to stay for free in all the MLB cities and it’s probably a great way to make friends too.)

19. Sleep While Traveling

When traveling by plane, train, or bus, try and time it so you are traveling at night. That way, you don’t have to pay for a night’s accommodation.

20. Walk as Much as You Can Walk.

Get active and see things at a slower pace – walking is FREE. You can experience more just by wandering around a city and getting lost, talking with locals, and people watching. Explore local markets, wander and take photos, or even hike to the top of a hill for an awesome view.

(Yes. Yes. YES! This is the best form of tourism and you can get that extra soft pretzel at the game because you earned it!!)

21. Travel Like the Locals

Use public transport where possible. You get great knowledge and insight by hanging with the locals, it costs you less and is a more authentic traveling experience.

(Take the BART to Oakland, the subways in NY, and the L in Chicago, heck we take the bus in Cleveland! It saves on parking costs and the hassle of driving yourself!)

22. Eat Away from the Tourist Streets

Just go one street or one block over and it will usually be much cheaper and more authentic!

(DO NOT EAT IN TIMES SQUARE IN NYC. I know it’s Friday’s and Olive Garden, but you will pay 3x what you’d normally pay and there are so many other options. You’re welcome.)

23. Have Breakfast Included

When booking a hotel or hostel look for one with breakfast included.

(Something we always look for in a hotel, no matter how crappy!)

24. Drink in Before Going Out

Just like eating, purchase your alcohol from a store. Then, take advantage of any happy hours and don’t drink expensive import stuff – give the local stuff a go.

25. Internet Access

When booking accommodation one of the first things we look for is free WiFi. In cities and towns seek out free wifi spots at cafes, libraries and hot spots.

26. Improve the Efficiency of Your Car

When taking road trips make sure your car is operating efficiently and is fully serviced. Some tips:

  • Check the pressure of your car tires.
  • Drive slower.
  • Use the right oil to increase mile usage.
  • Watch your luggage – the heavier the car the more fuel you’ll use.
  • Pack inside your car not on top.

For the ultimate road trip planning, guide click here.

27. Do the FREE Stuff

Many things to see and do are absolutely free:

  • See a street fair, concert, or cultural event.
  • Catch a magnificent sunset or sunrise
  • Take a walk or bike ride.
  • Play in the park.
  • Free movie screenings in local cafes and hostels
  • Swim at the beach or lake.
  • Climb a mountain.
  • Visit a market.

Hit the street with your feet and get lost in a city or town. It’s amazing what you’ll discover around every corner.

Hope some of this helps as you plan your trips for next season and even as you make postseason plans! Again for the full list of travel advice visit YTravel Blog!

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3 thoughts on “Save Money on Travel When Visiting MLB Ballparks

  1. Some great tips here! I’ve done #9 multiple times. It really works! And always try to adhere to #22, except maybe in Boston where I haven’t really found many good inexpensive places to eat.
    Amazing job Alicia!!

    Like

  2. Staying at budget hotels like Motel 6 and Super 8, have check in times for 11 AM instead of waiting till 3 PM as in with bidding on Priceline, or using Hotels.com or Hotwire. One the biggest things to be wary of always is luggage when you are going on MLB roadtrips.

    http://www.amtrak.com is a great place to store luggage while at the yard. If you a have an outgoing ticket, you can pay from $3.00 – $4.00 per item per day at a Amtrak station terminal of your choosing. But this beats renting a car for that duration. if you are in Chicago, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Washington, New York or Milwaukee, this serves greatly.

    Each time you pay for a hotel, you should receive 2 days worth of showers for it. Meaning check in day, and check out morning… If you travel at night, you can skip hotel stays in back to back nights.

    Also, if you are flying out in early AM hours, camping at the airport from after the game – until flying has never been an issue in any of the bigger airports.. Plus you have Free – WiFI in most selections.

    http://www.hihostels.com is perfect for a lot of parks. Definitely that hostel in Chicago you speak of, on E Congress Parkway is ideal for Chicago traveling. It is perfectly located halfway between Wrigley Field and Us Cellular, and is a hop/skip and jump away from the Red Line. They even feed you breakfast as part of your fee.

    The hostel in Boston (on Commonwealth) is a block away from Fenway…and the T- Train…

    if you are down to your bottom dollar, and travel has kicked your butt, you can always buy a single day YMCA Gym membership for $6 – $9, in order to use their shower facilities and made sneak in a workout, or soak in a hot tub…

    Like

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