Door-to-door with the Cheap Bastard: Akron to Phoenix-Scottsdale
Take my brothers, the twins Lucky and Smelly (Mom wanted at least one biblical name in the family). The twins live in the famed "City of Invention" of Akron, Ohio. They love it there, but both love to golf, as well, and that just doesn't happen in Akron over the winter, unless you don't mind having random appendages freeze and fall off your body.
So here I am in Phoenix, counting pennies and getting ready to hunker down for winter when temperatures can drop to chattering 80 degrees or so. The twins, who have the same money-spending allergy I have, want to head on down here to play some golf, but they figure it will cost too much.
Luckily, their little bro, Cheap, has the answers on how to get them from Akron to Phoenix door-to-door, for less than $1,000. Yes, for less than a grand, I will have Arizona literally bursting with Bastards in the middle of February.
Keep in mind, I'm not just randomly throwing numbers out there. Sure, you see some travel deals for a pittance, but by the time you get done adding taxes, fees, strippers, etc., the cost becomes prohibitive.
This Bastard doesn't play that game, however. I'll get them here from Feb. 13 to Feb. 17, including transportation, airfare, accommodations, food and three rounds of golf for less than it will cost to get a dent out of a fender.
Airfare and transportation
Getting my brothers cheap airfare turned out to be easier that I thought it would. I booked the Brothers Bastard on a Northwest Airlines flight for $248 a person, round trip. That includes the $50 in taxes and "fees" the airlines tack on to the rate, which I assume is invested in those little bags of peanuts.
So right there, we're off to a killer start. Keep in mind, there will be two stops on the flight, so the twins will leave Akron on Monday at 7 a.m. and not get to Phoenix until about 2 p.m. Throw in a two-hour time change and that makes for a long trip, but for a good deal, we Bastards will always wait, a trait we picked up from our sister, Patience.
Another important thing to remember, is that when a place like Akron starts to get cold, Akronites start bugging out to warmer climes. Remember that when you're making your reservation.
"When the weather gets bad here, everyone wants to get out of Ohio," said Lance Chima, the owner of Chima Travel in Akron. "I'd say to get your first choice, you want to make reservations as far as three months ahead of time."
Now, like I said, this is door-to-door, baby. So we have to get the twins to and from the airport, as well. They live about 40 miles from the Canton-Akron Airport, so they will drive together and leave the car at the airport in the economy lot, where it will run $6 per day, or $30 a week to park.
So, lets figure it will run them about $10 in fuel to go back and forth from the airport, plus they can take the weekly parking rate. So $40 total, split evenly between the two traveling Bastards.
Finally, they'll need a rental car once they get to Phoenix, because I sure ain't letting Smelly in my classic Vega. So, for this I'll send the boys over to Budget Rent a Car, where they can get a neat economy car like a Chevy Shoe or a Ford Breadbasket for just $30 a day. Put $30 in the gas tank and they're Bastards on wheels for about $110 a piece.
Total Airfare and Transportation Costs Per Person: $378
Golf and accommodations
This is where a golf package rules all. First, and most important to your pal Cheap, is that you'll save money. Secondly, one call and your tee times and hotel room are booked. Here's the deal I got for my brothers from Arizona Golf Packages:
• Four nights stay at the Marriott Fairfield Inn in Downtown Scottsdale.
So whammo, the Twins Bastard now have their golf schedule set up, tee times made, a free continental breakfast, and being that the Marriott's a class joint, I'm sure they'll get a delectable chocolate mint thingy on their pillow. And they get all that with one phone call to a golf packager for a price of $495 a person, including all taxes and golf carts.
It's important to note that for the purposes of this trip, the twins will be staying and playing during weekdays, and that travel that includes weekends will assuredly run more.
"There is a premium for weekend golf," said Lilla Tripani of Arizona Golf Packages. "Green fees for golf on a weekend is roughly $5-$30 more than during weekdays, depending on the golf course."
Total Golf and Accommodations Costs Per Person: $495 a person.
Food and Miscellaneous
So lets recap and see where we are with these Bastards. So far, the price tag is at $873 a person and they have transportation, airfare, golf, continental breakfast and a delectable chocolate mint thingy every night.
That leaves them with $127 for meals and miscellaneous expenditures. Breakfast is covered, because we Bastards love pastries and grapefruit in the morning. Plus, they'll get some meals - they need seven meals.
They will be at the golf course for three of those meals, so lets give them an extra $20 a day at the course for a sandwich, water or soda, and random golf stuff. No need to buy balls or anything. These are my brothers, after all, and they'll use range balls before they pony up $20 for a sleeve of fancy-schmancy, designed-by-NASA golf balls.
Now, like 98 percent of men who enjoy golf, the twins love pizza. So lets figure to give them two evenings at the New York Pizza Department where they can share a 14-inch, Brooklyn Family Pizza for just $14.50. Throw in some sodas, maybe an appetizer and a tip, they are out of there spending $20 or less a person.
A plus here is that in the Phoenix-Scottsdale corridor there are literally hundreds of other places to get good food at low prices. Some other suggestions include: Carolina's Mexican Food (tortillas the size of your grandma's quilt) Pei Wei (great Asian cusine), and Jack-in-a-Box (um, hamburgers and stuff).
All told, the brothers will have a little more than $30 per day to spend on food and other items. They will stick to that budget rather than face my wrath for screwing up my plan of making this trip cost less than $1,000 a person.
Total Food and Miscellaneous Costs Per Person: $125.
Admittedly, you'll need some will power to make a trip like this happen for less than a grand. But keep in mind this is a golfing trip. The boys aren't going to hit the malls to buy anyone souvenirs. If you like to have few cocktails, that's fine but it will jack up the costs.
But Lucky and Smelly don't drink, as no one likes a drunk Bastard. And our older brother, Freaky, is the one who likes to hit up the strip joints, not them. So all in all, my Bastardization of their trip should work like a charm.
Total Costs, Akron to Phoenix, door-to-door: $998.
The Cheap Bastard's mother was a huge NASCAR fan, which explains why his middle name is Petty.
November 28, 2005