If you’re planning a golf trip in the near future, the Internet could be your best friend. With thousands of Web sites online, it streamlines the planning process, saving time and money and eliminating mistakes and delays. Think of it as your personal digital assistant. But to benefit from the Internet, you must do three things: organize yourself, anticipate problems, and conduct research.
First, remember where you’re going.
Ask yourself what’s unique about the place and what problems could crop up, like extreme heat, torrential rain, and unusual traffic delays. Next, work the trip chronologically in your mind.
Consider where you can streamline the process using the Internet. Consider also where you might be able to save time or money by going online. As the trip nears, create a to do list. Then, cross out each item as you complete it.
Use The Internet Early and Often
First is your air flight. Usually, the earlier you buy your tickets, the lower the price. But many airlines charge about $15 per ticket to book a flight over the phone. Buying your tickets in advance online eliminates this charge.
You can select the seat you want online, print out the reservation, and avoid operator mistakes. In addition, you can check in on online within 24 hours before taking off, forgoing long airport lines.
Start by signing up for price saver e-mails from all the airlines as well as from discounters like travelzoo.com. Monitor them regularly for deals to your destination. Or, try an all-encompassing travel search engine, like kayak.com or airfarewatchdog.com.
They find airline deals, and then sort them into one list. If you know your destination, take advantage of this convenience.
Book Hotel Rooms Cheaper
Next is your hotel room. If you’re staying in the U.S, visit the Web sites of the hotels near your destination. You can not only see what the rooms look like, but also learn if the hotel has stay-and-play deals.
Even if there are none, hotels often charge less for booking a room online than if you do it over the phone. Some golf resorts even let you book your tee times online, especially if you’ve signed up for a stay-and play package with them.
You can also check out the golf courses you’re playing by going to golflink.com. It features links to almost every course in the States. Visit the courses you’re planning to play and check for the best times to play. Schedule less expensive courses in the morning and more expensive ones later to take advantage of twilight rates.
Use mapquest.com to get directions to the courses. Print them out and take them with you. Also, jot down the courses’ addresses and phone numbers. They could come in handy later on.
Consider Using A Tour Operator
If going abroad, consider using a professional tour operator to book your trip, like haversham.com or perrygolf.com. Both are very good. They have contacts and/or employees at many popular golf destinations. They also have the connections and know-how to make your trip more relaxing. Use Google to find an agent.
Keep in mind that some work only with certain courses. And all charge nominal service fees.
In addition, rent a car online (hertz.com or enterprise.com) and check the destinations’ weather (weather.com). Find out the forecasts for the days you’re playing. Also check out what the temperatures will be at night. If going abroad, visit x-rates.com. It tells you the current exchanges rates.
You also see a copy of the country’s currency, so you won’t get ripped-off by local cab drivers. sportsexpress.com or luggageconcierge.com ships your golf bag in advance, if you don’t want to take it on the plane.
These are just a few of the ways you can use the Internet to save time and money wen planning your golf trip. Others exist. So the next time you’re taking a golf trip, go online. Think of it as your personal digital assistant. It streamlines the planning process and saves you time, money, and headaches.