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A preview of 2017 Royals road trips

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MLS: Sporting KC at Chicago Fire Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Going on vacation is usually an enjoyable experience and it can be even more so when it is planned around a Royals game. Each year there are different options for weekend Royals road games, around which are ideal for planning a vacation. Below you will find some good options, along with recommendations for flights, places to stay and potential things to do. This is by no means intended to be a comprehensive list and the options presented are not guaranteed to work best for you and your family. If you have experience traveling to any of these places to see the Royals or for anything else, please share any helpful information or advice you may have in the comments below.

Quick Trips

Texas Rangers - April 20-23

A late April weekend in Texas could be a great weekend trip by either plane or car. The four game series starts on a Thursday night, but this itinerary focuses on the games on Friday through Sunday. In addition to seeing your boys in blue, you could also visit one of the areas many attractions such as the Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District, The Sixth Floor Museum and Dealey Plaza (apparently someone famous was shot around this area) or my personal favorite, Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie.

Driving - It is about 550 miles and an 8 hour trip from Kansas City to Dallas/Fort Worth on I-35. As long as you leave Friday morning by about 8:00 am, you shouldn’t have a problem getting down there, checking into your lodging and then heading to the game.

Flying - My preferred option would be to leave Friday, April 21st at 11:11 am on American Airlines flight #1271 that arrives at Dallas/Fort Worth at 12:50 pm. Return Sunday, April 23rd at on American Airlines flight #2378 that leaves at 8:18 pm and arrives in Kansas City at 9:59 pm.

Cost $250 per person to fly

Where to Stay

Hotel - There are a variety of hotels to choose from that are convenient to the stadium, but I would go with the Residence Inn by Marriott Dallas Arlington South where you can get a one bedroom suite for $159 a night.

Cost $373 with taxes and service charges

Family or Group - I would choose this 3br home rental that is close to the stadium, sleeps up to 8 people and has a hot tub. For $255 a night with tax and fees, it can make a lot of sense for a family and becomes a bargain if you get a big group of friends or two families together.

Cost $511 with taxes, cleaning fee and service charges

Solo trip, with a friend or the significant other - This guest house that is on the National Historic Register provides well priced accommodations with pool and patio access with a grill. At $124 a night, it is a great option over a traditional hotel room for a single traveler or a weekend away with your significant other.

Cost $300 with taxes, cleaning fee and service charges

Minnesota Twins - September 1-3

A trip up north near the end of a traditionally brutal summer in the Kansas City area could be a great way to celebrate as the season winds to an end. This three game series will feature games on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and is a good opportunity to check out Target Field if you have yet to do so. Other things to see in the area include the Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minnehaha Park, The Basilica of Saint Mary and the Mall of America.

Driving - It is about a 6.5 hour trip to traverse the 436 miles from Kansas City to Minneapolis on I-35. As long as you leave Friday morning by about 9:30 am, you shouldn’t have a problem getting there, checking into your lodging and then heading to the game.

Flying - One potential option is to leave Friday, September 1st at 12:15 pm on Delta Flight #1273 that arrives at Minneapolis - St. Paul Int’l at 1:46 pm. Return Sunday, September 3rd at 7:50 pm on Delta Flight #1128 that arrives in Kansas City at 9:20 pm.

Cost $285 per person to fly

Where to Stay

Hotel - You can save money by not staying downtown, but I prefer to be in the area of the stadium and enjoy seeing different cities’ downtown areas. The Radisson Blue Minneapolis Downtown is a good option and is one of the cheaper 4-star hotels in the area where you can get a room with a king or 2 double beds for $160 a night.

Cost $362 with taxes and service charges

Family or Group - You don’t have to stray to far from downtown to find this 3br apartment for $235 a night with taxes and fees. Incredibly spacious with easy access to downtown makes this a solid choice.

Solo trip, with a friend or the significant other - At $190 a night with taxes and fees it is a little more pricey than I would go with if I was traveling alone, but this is a nice choice for a 1br apartment near downtown for 2 people.

Chicago White Sox - September 22-24

There really isn’t a bad time to visit Chicago and if you want to dream a little, this final road series of the year could contain the division clinching game for the Royals. At the very least, if you expect the Royals to be relevant in 2017 this could be an incredibly important series in a final push for the playoffs. There are plenty of options for things to do and see in the city, including the Shedd Aquarium, the Navy Pier and Millennium Park.

Driving - It is a little over 500 miles and about 8 hours to drive from Kansas City to Chicago. You can either take I-35 to I-80 and cut across, or take the less busy route via I-35 to US-36 to I-55.

Flying - Southwest tends to have some of the cheaper fares from MCI to Chicago, but you can’t book yet for next September. There are 7 or 8 nonstop choices on Southwest and you should be able to get a ticket between $225 and $275 and even cheaper if you hit a sale. If you want to book your ticket right now, one option is to take United flight #646 leaving Kansas City at 11:27 am on Friday the 22nd and arriving at O’Hare at 12:55 pm and returning on American flight #4358 on Sunday the 24th at 10:00 pm leaving O’Hare and arriving at MCI at 11:36 ($292).

Cost $225 to $300 per person to fly

Where to Stay

Hotels - There are no shortage of incredibly expensive hotels in downtown Chicago if that’s your thing, but I can’t stomach paying $300 plus a night for a hotel. For $177 a night with taxes and fees you could stay at the Hyatt Place Chicago Midway Airport. It gets good ratings and is a reasonable option if you are trying to keep it under $200 a night.

Family or Group - At $430 a night with taxes and fees, this may be a little steep for a family of 4, but this 3br condo in Wicker Park provides nice and spacious accommodations for up to 8 people and would be a better option for a larger group.

Solo trip, with a friend or the significant other - At $218 a night with taxes and fees, this 1br apartment near downtown is a great option over the expensive hotels in the area.

Family Vacation

Tampa Bay Rays - May 8-11

This is a perfect road trip to combine with a trip to any of the Orlando theme parks. The dates are a little tricky if you have kids in school, but let’s be honest, after the state testing for Missouri and Kansas is over in late April, most teachers shut it down anyways. It will be well worth it in order to enjoy one of the rare slow times at the Orlando area parks before traffic really picks up as Memorial Day approaches. Less people means shorter lines and shorter lines mean you can ride more rides and riding more rides means you can see more parks and seeing more parks means...........

Driving - Unless you really enjoy road trips, I would avoid the 19 hour drive from Kansas City to Tampa or to Orlando. However, there is plenty Americana to see if you drive and if you have a large family the cost of flying could be prohibitive. If you also consider that you will need some sort of transport between Tampa and Orlando, this could be a fun option if you drive across the weekend of 5/5 and 5/6, spend the entire week and then come back on 5/12 and 5/13. Splitting the drive across two days makes it much more tolerable; but then again I don’t know who else is in your car, so it could actually make it worse.

Flying - You will have several options for this trip, you could fly in and out of either Orlando or Tampa, or combine the two and fly in to one and out of the other. A round trip flight in and out of Tampa will run between $300 and $350, a round trip to Orlando will be closer to $375 to $400 and flying into one and out of the other will cost about $475 to $500.

My preferred choice would be to fly into Tampa Sunday the 7th on Delta flight #2858 that leaves MCI at 8:15 am and arrives in Tampa at 1:54 pm after a short layover in Atlanta. I would stay in Tampa Sunday through Tuesday nights to take in the games on the 8th and 9th and then drive over to Orlando on Wednesday morning. After spending time at the theme parks in some combination across Wednesday through Saturday, the flight home would be Delta #1868 leaving from Orlando at 7:50 am on Sunday the 14th which arrives back in Kansas City at 11:40 am after a short plane change in Atlanta.

Cost Varies - preferred choice $452

Where to Stay

This recommendation is based on an itinerary that involves going to the baseball games Monday and Tuesday night and spending Wednesday through Saturday night in Orlando and going to one or more of the area theme parks.

Tampa

This 3 br house is not the most convenient to the stadium, but includes plenty of space; a pool and hot tub and is quite convenient to doing other Florida type activities. The price may stretch budgets a bit with the cost about $260 a night with taxes and fees included. A hotel option that will be a little more cost friendly is the Holiday Inn Express; for $170 a night including taxes and fees you can get a suite with a little extra room or spend a little less for a regular room type.

Orlando

The essential question for any visit to Orlando theme parks seems to be whether or not to stay at one of the hotels associated with the park and on the grounds. While you will be paying a premium to stay at a park hotel, there are definite perks and benefits associated with staying there such as early/late extended park hours, additional fast pass options and access to special events. For this trip, my plan is to start at Universal with a 2-day park hopper pass for Wednesday and Thursday and then doing a 2-day park hopper pass at Disney for Friday and Saturday.

There are way too many reasonable house rental choices for me to advocate for staying on-site at the theme parks, but I will still provide some recommendations below. An example is this 5 br house that is only $210 per night including all taxes and fees; it includes a pool, hot tub, game room and more.

Theme Park Hotels - For Universal, I recommend staying at the Cabana Bay Beach Resort in the Courtyard Family Suite on 5/10 and 5/11, which will cost about $460 with taxes and fees. This particular hotel gets you all of the amenities that come with staying at a park hotel, with the exception of the free express passes and priority seating at restaurants. You will not miss either of these because you have made the wise choice of coming down during a very slow time (relatively speaking) where your wait times for rides will be in the 20 minute range instead of the more familiar 60-90 minute waits you will experience during most other popular times to visit.

Disney’s Art of Animation Resort gets good reviews and is one of the more moderately priced options. It will cost approximately $400 per person based on a family of four and will include the basic room along with the 2-day park hopper passes for everyone. There are a lot of great amenities of staying at a Disney resort hotel, most of all the fact that you don’t need transportation. Keep in mind that at some busy times, the lines for the resort transportation can be ridiculous; Uber is your friend and will be well worth the $5-$10 you pay for a ride back to your hotel after a long day of Mickey Mouse.

There are obviously other choices for Royals road trips on which to plan vacations. They have weekend inter-league series in both San Diego (6/9-6/11) and Los Angeles (7/7-7/9) and there are other great locations that would be a lot of fun to explore. Hopefully, the options presented above give you some good information, or at the very least, allow you to day dream about something that may or may not be a reasonable reality.