Posted: May 16, 2013
The College Football Quest machine has been hard at work the past few weeks making all the travel arrangements that go into our quest schedule. Once the games are selected, I get right to work trying to secure our travel arrangements. Sometimes this goes smoothly, other times, not so much. But other than Al booking a hotel for the wrong day, nothing has very seriously gone wrong….yet!
Tennessee @ Florida – September 21
There is no harder travel reservation to get than a hotel room in Gainesville. Since this is an annual trip we book a hotel in mid season for the following season. Hotel is booked. Flights to Jacksonville are also secured as is a rental car. Jacksonville is the preferred airport for the trip to Gainesville but cost often overrides and we typically end up in either Orlando or Tampa. But this year, the stars aligned and we got a reasonable JetBlue flight to Jacksonville.
California @ Oregon – September 28
This trip is proving quite difficult. The first thing we always try to book is a hotel and we were able to secure a room in Eugene for this trip. The bad news is that I had to take out a second mortgage to afford it. This will definitely be the most expensive trip to date. Flights have not yet been booked due to a decision whether to fly directly to Eugene or fly to Portland and drive. Cost is much more expensive to go to Eugene, but I am not sure we want to do a 2 hour drive after flying cross country. I am waiting for a fare sale to make the decision for us. Of course, until we know where we are flying, we can’t book a car.
Clemson @ Syracuse – October 5
This trip is as easy as it gets as no plans need to be made right now. We will be driving and staying one night in Syracuse. Until game time is known, no decision is made on whether that will be a Friday or Saturday night. This will be a game week call.
Idaho @ Ole Miss – October 26
We did all the work on an Ole Miss trip last year. Flights to Memphis and car rental easily booked. What is proving more difficult is a place to stay. Last year we decided to rent a condo / house and have the same plans this year. The place we had last year is already rented for this game, so we are currently homeless for this trip. Anyone with a place to rent within walking distance to Vaught–Hemingway and/or the Square, please drop me an email or we may be sleeping in the car.
Rutgers @ Central Florida & Southern Methodist @ South Florida
Flights into Orlando and out of Tampa are booked. I booked the flights without looking at rental cars. The cost of picking up a car in Orlando and dropping off in Tampa is ridiculously absurd. I think the legal word for it is “stick ‘em up”. I found the least objectionable rate and will definitely be using Priceline as we get closer to this trip. Hotels should not be a problem, so those will be reserved closer to the trip.
I will say that managing the sheer volume of these reservations is very cumbersome. In addition, I am continuously checking for better rates on cars and hotels. I want to give a completely unsolicited endorsement to Trip It which helps me manage all this. It’s a great service and I just got a credit card that gives me a pro subscription for free. I am sure that will make it even better.
But if you have a place in Oxford, MS for rent for the Idaho game, please let me know!
Sign up for different car rental programs, I recently used National Car Rental did the whole “pay the midsize price, pick any car” deal and it worked beautifully. I paid around $400 for a 8 day 1 way rental from Milwaukee to Louisville. Join the Emerald Club and also check out their weekly deals, they are always trying to move rentals from larger airport locations. Great way to save and you could probably get some free rentals out of due to volume of travel you two do. Lastly, search everywhere for coupon codes, just by signing up for the Emerald Club and a coupon code I got my 1 way rental down from about $1,300 to $400. Check out my blog I’m just starting out but I’ll be posting more tips like this.