From all of us at Golf Vacation Insider, Happy Thanksgiving Week.
There are certain fairly universal things everyone is thankful for this time of year. So we went a little outside-the-box to come up with reasons why you, the traveling golfer, should be particularly thankful. Let us know how we did in the comments section below.
So, without further ado, here are four big reasons for golf travelers to be thankful:
Have you ever had a golf trip ruined by heavy rains either just before your arrival or during your stay? To us, there's practically nothing worse than seeing perfect, bouncy fairways and slick greens turning to mush right before our eyes. Is there a more deflating phrase to an excited golfer than "cart path only today"?
That's why you should be thankful for sand, which forms the base for many of the best destination courses - especially those built this century. Bandon Dunes' courses, Streamsong, Chambers Bay, Cabot Links and Cabot Cliffs, as well as Sand Valley and its new companion Mammoth Dunes course - all of them sit on fast-draining, sandy sites, guaranteeing firm, fun turf in all but the most extreme cases. If you've ever been to the British Isles to play links or heathland golf, you know exactly what we're talking about.
Security Line-Shortening Strategies
Safe air travel is obviously of paramount importance, but there's no denying that waiting in seemingly endless airport security lines - especially during the holidays - is a special kind of miserable. That's why TSA Pre-Check, which allows travelers to use a shortcut to practically waltz through security like in the olden days, is such a key component of that rare, blissfully painless travel experience. Costing just $85 for five years, if you fly a couple times or more per year, it's worth every single penny.
Programs like Clear and Global Entry have their fans as well, and there's a new app called Mobile Passport, available in 24 airports and one cruise port, where you can enter your passport details into your smartphone in order to breeze through customs. Sound too good to be true? It's not - the app is officially authorized by U.S. Customs & Border Protection.
Free In-Flight Entertainment
Increasingly, the only innovation in air travel seems to be the creativity the major airlines seem to pour into coming up with new ways to nickel-and-dime travelers. That's why you should join us in applauding JetBlue.
As of late 2016, JetBlue fulfilled a promise that not only will every single one of their aircraft be equipped with wi-fi, the service would be free on all flights. And they've stayed true to their word.
Imagine you're flying JetBlue from, say, New York to Orlando for a golf trip; leaving on Friday, returning on Sunday. Free wi-fi will net you about six house of connectivity - nearly an extra workday's worth of time! Voilà - now you can devote an extra vacation day to emphatically not working.
If you're more intent on catching up on a couple movies or TV shows you've missed, you'll want to fly Delta Air Lines. Their Delta Studio selection of movies and TV and other media, is free and available on the majority of Delta's fleet.
One of my favorite words is the Louisiana Creole term "lagniappe (pronounced LAN-yap)," which is a little something extra given to a customer. In travel terms, that's an upgrade, and it seems car rental companies and hotels are getting more aggressive about offering them. We're seeing all kinds of "free room upgrade" package offers and category upgrades for rental cars. In our experience, the best way to finagle an upgrade when one isn't necessarily expected is to be the nicest person the almost definitely stressed-out car counter worker or hotel check-in clerk has encountered all day, and perhaps all week. Kill 'em with kindness, make a gracious and polite request and you might be surprised at the upgrades you can secure.
What are you most thankful for as a traveling golfer? Let us know in the comments, and have a great holiday week!