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Time to book your rooms for the 2013 season

 Time to book your rooms for the 2013 season

It may be the middle of January but it’s not too soon to start planning for the coming racing season – and to book any rooms you are going to need. All the race series calendars have been published by now – time to get started.

If plan to you make an overnight trip to a race there are a number of considerations – get tickets, make travel plans (by car or by air?) and accommodation. The critical one is accommodation. Races attract fans from distant points and there is almost always a shortage of rooms – and rooms that are reasonably close and at decent prices are even harder to come by.

Of course, you don’t always need to book a room. If the race is near home you can sleep at home and drive in each day. Or you can bring your own roof – a camper, a tent, or sleep in your car. I’ve done it all. Remember, if you are going to use a camper or a tent, you may still have to book a campsite.

As for rooms, races near or in large cities may have a very large supply of rooms and not be a problem. However, when I go to Montreal, I’m staggered by the costs of rooms in the city proper and when I look for something out by the airport I find that, even there, the prices seems to be inflated and the rooms in short supply. Best not to count on rooms being available if you wait until a week or two before the race to look for something.

Most every place I go to is problematic. Watkins Glen, Pocono, Michigan International, Martinsville, Bristol (!), Laguna Seca, Goodwood to mention a few.

So, now is the time to make your plans and book your rooms. These days, many of the internet booking sites want you to make a non-refundable payment in full at the time of booking. There’s an obvious problem with that. Better to try to find a place that still offers the old-fashioned courtesy of giving you the chance to cancel at no cost right up to a day or a few days before the actual date of booking.

The internet has made it easy to be your own travel agent and search around, using different websites, to find the hotel deal that best suits your needs. I’ve used the big two – expedia and travelocity – for years. Just keep in mind that they won’t show you all the budget hotels like Motel 6, Super 8, Knights Inn, and so on – but those chains have their own websites. These days I use some of the other booking websites such as booking.com, hotels.com and tripadvisor.com. You may love or hate the customer feedback on trip advisor – it seems like no place escapes criticism from some customers.

Start by looking at the series calendars for the racing series you want to watch. Make a short list of the races you would like to attend this year. Cut it down to the ones you can commit to. And book your rooms – NOW!

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