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TechnoScout
distinguished member (219)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/16/2020 06:47PM
We just booked our flight for Sep. It will be a 11-day trip door to door.
I have always rented a car at MSP and left it at the outfitter while on the water.

Not cheap.

I have looked at some old posts here on the messageboard...no real insight as to a better approach.

So, I will refresh the question.

Any clever ideas to minimize rental car costs?

(To be truthful, when I took my first two trips, leading a scout troop, I used a bus service. That was a long!! time ago.)
 
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Grandma L
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02/16/2020 07:35PM
Several folks who do the Border Challenge in the fall have used Harriet Transport. Nice gal and reliable. Harriet's Transport
I have no idea what she charges. You might think of flying into Duluth.
Northwoodsman
distinguished member(1350)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/16/2020 07:47PM
Shop around you will be able to find some deals. If you rent off-airport (have one person take an Uber or train to get the car) you can save a lot of airport associated fees. Depending on where you fly from, chances are MSP will be worth the drive to save on airfare. For rental cars I just put in some random days in, 11 days apart in September, and off airport locations were roughly half the cost from the same companies, for the same dates, for the same cars. Plan carefully because many off-airport locations are closed on Sunday, have limited hours on Saturdays, and are only open from 8 - 6 or so M-F. Do you have a Costco membership? I often use Costco Travel when I go to MN for leisure trips.
Bushpilot
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02/16/2020 07:54PM
Check with Arrowhead Transit 218-741-0724. They can pick you up in Virginia. There is greyhound service to Virginia from Minneapolis or Duluth. Depending on where you are flying from Duluth might be the same price for a flight.
pswith5
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02/16/2020 08:01PM
?? haha
thegildedgopher
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02/17/2020 08:47AM
Northwoodsman: "If you rent off-airport (have one person take an Uber or train to get the car) you can save a lot of airport associated fees."

I'd warn against this. The airport rental agencies get the bulk of the vehicle inventory. We ran into issues on our way to Grand Canyon last summer. Flew into phoenix late at night, took an uber to a hotel to crash, and had an Enterprise within walking distance of the hotel so figured we'd save a few bucks. We got there and they didn't have anything close to what we had reserved. The only vehicle they had was a Dodge Ram or a BMW. They offered us the Ram at no extra charge or the beemer for twice the rate. The people said a lot of people return their cars late, or decide to pay extra for the convenience of dropping them off at the airport instead. We ended up waiting 3 hours for a Nissan to be returned, then they had to wash it and give it an oil change, etc. Not a great way to start the trip. If you are a member of their "elite" club or whatever they will sometimes actually reserve a car for you and guarantee it'll be there.
HowardSprague
distinguished member(3016)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/17/2020 12:47PM
I've thought about flying into DLH before as an option, maybe renting a car and driving to Ely for a short trip. But, at least when I've checked, the Duluth airport car rentals seem more expensive than from most other airports.
Northwoodsman
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02/17/2020 01:07PM
thegildedgopher - I also had this happen at the airport several times (in Austin, TX and Houston, TX). This is an inherent risk when you have no financial responsibility at the time the reservation is made. Some rental car agencies allow you to prepay, not only does this get you a better rate but it also increases your chances of getting a vehicle, and possibly an upgrade for free if your class of vehicle isn't available.

Airlines over-sell many flights even though you paid for a seat at the point the reservation is made because they have history that shows the probability of x number of cancellations that are likely to occur. It's not a perfect world.
bwcadan
distinguished member(1400)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/17/2020 04:41PM
If you fly into Duluth, there are outfitters which will do one way or round trip to their location. While not cheap, it may be cheaper and more convenient for you. In 1989, our group of 9 got the service for $15.00. Van and trailer for our scout trip. One way I think. Good for our group. Prices likely have multiplied since then.
nooneuno
distinguished member (472)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/17/2020 05:42PM
TechnoScout: "We just booked our flight for Sep. It will be a 11-day trip door to door.
I have always rented a car at MSP and left it at the outfitter while on the water.

Not cheap.

I have looked at some old posts here on the messageboard...no real insight as to a better approach.

So, I will refresh the question.

Any clever ideas to minimize rental car costs?

(To be truthful, when I took my first two trips, leading a scout troop, I used a bus service. That was a long!! time ago.)
"


How many is we and kick in the actual dates, may help...
02/17/2020 07:26PM
Spirit of the wilderness has a MSP to Ely transportation service, i know Scout Groups that have used it.

link
tobiedog
distinguished member(617)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/17/2020 08:55PM
Techno, are you going to Ely? What are the dates?
TechnoScout
distinguished member (219)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/18/2020 01:17PM
tobiedog: "Techno, are you going to Ely? What are the dates?"
Arriving MSP on 8 Sep
On water 9 Sep
Off water 18 Sep
Fly home 19 Sep
bombinbrian
distinguished member (175)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/19/2020 08:41AM
TechnoScout: "tobiedog: "Techno, are you going to Ely? What are the dates?"
Arriving MSP on 8 Sep
On water 9 Sep
Off water 18 Sep
Fly home 19 Sep"


When are you getting in on the 8th? What time do you need to leave Ely on the 18 or 19th?

How many people?

Just kicking around in my head picking you up and driving you. I live in the Cities.
TechnoScout
distinguished member (219)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/19/2020 09:41AM
bombinbrian: "TechnoScout: "tobiedog: "Techno, are you going to Ely? What are the dates?"
Arriving MSP on 8 Sep
On water 9 Sep
Off water 18 Sep
Fly home 19 Sep"



When are you getting in on the 8th? What time do you need to leave Ely on the 18 or 19th?


How many people?


Just kicking around in my head picking you up and driving you. I live in the Cities."


We land MSP at 8:43 AM on the 8th
Our plane takes off 7:55PM on the 19th.
We essentially have all day of the 19th to make it back to MSP...leisurely return.
Aldy1
distinguished member (106)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/19/2020 10:29AM
You could look into the Turo app (airbnb for cars). Sometimes it's cheaper than rental car pricing. I've used it on a couple of vacations and it worked out great.
bombinbrian
distinguished member (175)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/19/2020 11:50AM
TechnoScout: "bombinbrian: "TechnoScout: "tobiedog: "Techno, are you going to Ely? What are the dates?"
Arriving MSP on 8 Sep
On water 9 Sep
Off water 18 Sep
Fly home 19 Sep"




When are you getting in on the 8th? What time do you need to leave Ely on the 18 or 19th?



How many people?



Just kicking around in my head picking you up and driving you. I live in the Cities."



We land MSP at 8:43 AM on the 8th
Our plane takes off 7:55PM on the 19th.
We essentially have all day of the 19th to make it back to MSP...leisurely return."


Why don't you email me and we'll talk.
CCBBSpeckled
member (32)member
 
02/19/2020 04:13PM
Do a one way rental car rental from MSP to DLH, then arrange with your outfitter for transportation from DLH to your destination.
marsonite
distinguished member(2244)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/19/2020 06:01PM
Getting to Duluth is easy. Groome Transportation (formerly Skyline Shuttle) runs a shuttle from MSP to Duluth.
TechnoScout
distinguished member (219)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/19/2020 09:00PM
Lots of good input here. Thanks!
One thing I did not share was our methodology for doing BWCA. I will explain in bullet form for crispness.
--There are just two of us
--We only rent a canoe from the outfitter
--We ship our gear UPS to the outfitter ahead of time
--We buy our food either in Ely or somewhere along the way from MSP
--When we roll into Ely, the first thing we do is pick up our boxes at the outfitter
--Then we check in to a motel and organize our gear for the trip
--On the next morning, we drive to the outfitter
--Either we pick up the canoe and take it to the entry point or get a shuttle from the outfitter
--Everything that does not go into the BWCA is stored in the car.
--On return, we pack our gear into our shipping boxes
--On the drive back to MSP, we drop off our boxes at a UPS Store.

As you can see, this algorithm requires a vehicle. In fact it requires more than just a Mini Cooper. On the last trip, I rented a full-size car from Enterprise. When we got there to pick it up, Enterprise gave us a minivan for the same price. It was great. For an 8-day rental, that was $400. This year they are quoting closer to $800 (but for 11 days).

Back in the days when I was a scoutmaster, we flew to Duluth and had a shuttle service take us to Canoe Base. I have also flown into Duluth for non-scout trips, but if you are renting a car, there is no benefit to getting closer to Ely before car pickup...you end up paying more for the additional air travel leg from MSP.

I think we are stuck with renting a car at the going rate. I plan on trying the full-size to minivan tradeup again at the rental counter. Who knows??
billconner
distinguished member(7150)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
02/19/2020 09:46PM
"you end up paying more for the additional air travel leg from MSP"
My recent experience is different on this point. I can fly from my small market airport (2 flights a day to Philadelphia) to another small market with two changes at big city airports for less or much less than to either of big airports.

So just checked for a week in July - $725 to MSP, $550 to DUL.
jillpine
distinguished member (408)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/20/2020 05:33AM
TechnoScout: "Lots of good input here. Thanks!
One thing I did not share was our methodology for doing BWCA. I will explain in bullet form for crispness.
--There are just two of us
--We only rent a canoe from the outfitter
--We ship our gear UPS to the outfitter ahead of time
--We buy our food either in Ely or somewhere along the way from MSP
--When we roll into Ely, the first thing we do is pick up our boxes at the outfitter
--Then we check in to a motel and organize our gear for the trip
--On the next morning, we drive to the outfitter
--Either we pick up the canoe and take it to the entry point or get a shuttle from the outfitter
--Everything that does not go into the BWCA is stored in the car.
--On return, we pack our gear into our shipping boxes
--On the drive back to MSP, we drop off our boxes at a UPS Store.


As you can see, this algorithm requires a vehicle. In fact it requires more than just a Mini Cooper. On the last trip, I rented a full-size car from Enterprise. When we got there to pick it up, Enterprise gave us a minivan for the same price. It was great. For an 8-day rental, that was $400. This year they are quoting closer to $800 (but for 11 days).


Back in the days when I was a scoutmaster, we flew to Duluth and had a shuttle service take us to Canoe Base. I have also flown into Duluth for non-scout trips, but if you are renting a car, there is no benefit to getting closer to Ely before car pickup...you end up paying more for the additional air travel leg from MSP.


I think we are stuck with renting a car at the going rate. I plan on trying the full-size to minivan tradeup again at the rental counter. Who knows??
"


TS, maybe consider an option through off-site airport Enterprise location at Inver Grove Heights (they could get you at airport, or you uber or taxi there - about 10-15 minutes from airport). I use this location to rent 12 and 15 passenger vans for student-based field trips through my work with the state - so I need an exact van, at an exact time, at a price acceptable by the state, and I can't deal with any hinkiness (wrong size, not ready yet, etc) because of the tight schedule with a lot of students depending on the rental. They are 100%: getting the vehicle needed, for the time needed, always ready to go. You can call them directly (651) 457-7000, talk to Chris.
Northwoodsman
distinguished member(1350)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/20/2020 07:29AM
To my point earlier about renting at the airport vs. offsite - A full-size car for this exact time period is $680.00 at Budget MSP ($241 are taxes). The exact same car at the Budget in Inver Grove Heights (15 minute Uber ride) is $389 ($74 in taxes) and that is returning it to the airport at the end of your trip. You could even get an Intermediate SUV for $418 (or $853 picking up at MSP) or a Standard SUV for $548 (or $874 picking up at MSP). You need to return the car to MSP because the off-site locations all close between noon and 2:00 p.m. on Saturday. I'm in no way affiliated with Budget. Picking up at MSP adds $300-$400 to your rental but dropping it off at the airport on your return doesn't add anything.

Even if you rent a car once a year, still sign up for their rewards programs and create a profile. Add your airline frequent flier numbers to the profile, this can get you 20-25% of your rental car rates sometimes. The above rates that I listed are by using my Costco rate.
TechnoScout
distinguished member (219)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/20/2020 08:15AM
jillpine:

"TS, maybe consider an option through off-site airport Enterprise location at Inver Grove Heights (they could get you at airport, or you uber or taxi there - about 10-15 minutes from airport). I use this location to rent 12 and 15 passenger vans for student-based field trips through my work with the state - so I need an exact van, at an exact time, at a price acceptable by the state, and I can't deal with any hinkiness (wrong size, not ready yet, etc) because of the tight schedule with a lot of students depending on the rental. They are 100%: getting the vehicle needed, for the time needed, always ready to go. You can call them directly (651) 457-7000, talk to Chris. "


Thanks! This is just the kind of "inside" info I was looking for.
TechnoScout
distinguished member (219)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/20/2020 08:16AM
Northwoodsman: "To my point earlier about renting at the airport vs. offsite - A full-size car for this exact time period is $680.00 at Budget MSP ($241 are taxes). The exact same car at the Budget in Inver Grove Heights (15 minute Uber ride) is $389 ($74 in taxes) and that is returning it to the airport at the end of your trip. You could even get an Intermediate SUV for $418 (or $853 picking up at MSP) or a Standard SUV for $548 (or $874 picking up at MSP). You need to return the car to MSP because the off-site locations all close between noon and 2:00 p.m. on Saturday. I'm in no way affiliated with Budget. Picking up at MSP adds $300-$400 to your rental but dropping it off at the airport on your return doesn't add anything.


Even if you rent a car once a year, still sign up for their rewards programs and create a profile. Add your airline frequent flier numbers to the profile, this can get you 20-25% of your rental car rates sometimes. The above rates that I listed are by using my Costco rate."


I will look into this. My buddy has a Costco membership, so we may avail ourselves of this.

Once I figure this out, I will post my results.
HowardSprague
distinguished member(3016)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/20/2020 08:35AM
TechnoScout: " I have also flown into Duluth for non-scout trips, but if you are renting a car, there is no benefit to getting closer to Ely before car pickup...you end up paying more for the additional air travel leg from MSP.

"


The benefit would be the shorter drive. But yeah, you'll generally get cheaper fares to MSP, even comparing, say, DLH nonstops from Chicago.
TechnoScout
distinguished member (219)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/20/2020 08:53AM
HowardSprague: "TechnoScout: " I have also flown into Duluth for non-scout trips, but if you are renting a car, there is no benefit to getting closer to Ely before car pickup...you end up paying more for the additional air travel leg from MSP.


"



The benefit would be the shorter drive. But yeah, you'll generally get cheaper fares to MSP, even comparing, say, DLH nonstops from Chicago."


My analysis (approximate) is that doing DLH shaves at best about an hour off the trip to Ely. Yes, less time behind the wheel.

BUT...BUT...DLH to Ely would naturally bypass Cloquet where I get my annual fix of fried Cheese Curds!!!

BTW...I am an engineer and it shows when I plan these trips. Here is the plan for last year's trip.
A1t2o
distinguished member(918)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/20/2020 09:02AM
Don't outfitters offer some sort of luggage storage? It seems to me that the only reason you need a vehicle is because you store things in it while you are in the boundary waters. I'm sure there are busses that would take you from Duluth to Ely or at least Virginia. As others have said, there are shuttles from Virginia to Ely. Do your shopping on the way into town after getting off the shuttle or bus then call the outfitter to pick you up. Instead of a hotel which would require trips back and forth to the outfitter, just stay with the outfitter. Either a bunkhouse or a cabin would work. You already mentioned having the outfitter shuttle you to the entry point.

I can't imagine this would be more expensive than renting a car to just sit there. You would have to deal with timing to make sure that the flights and busses line up, but at least you wouldn't have to drive yourself and could sleep on the bus. Just take a shower at the outfitter first. I do like the idea of flying to Duluth as well. Those airports are often government subsidized so flights to them tend to be cheaper than to the international airports where you pay the full price of the ticket. It shouldn't be too hard to find transport from Duluth to Ely.
TechnoScout
distinguished member (219)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/20/2020 11:36AM
A1t2o: "Don't outfitters offer some sort of luggage storage? It seems to me that the only reason you need a vehicle is because you store things in it while you are in the boundary waters. I'm sure there are busses that would take you from Duluth to Ely or at least Virginia. As others have said, there are shuttles from Virginia to Ely. Do your shopping on the way into town after getting off the shuttle or bus then call the outfitter to pick you up. Instead of a hotel which would require trips back and forth to the outfitter, just stay with the outfitter. Either a bunkhouse or a cabin would work. You already mentioned having the outfitter shuttle you to the entry point.


I can't imagine this would be more expensive than renting a car to just sit there. You would have to deal with timing to make sure that the flights and busses line up, but at least you wouldn't have to drive yourself and could sleep on the bus. Just take a shower at the outfitter first. I do like the idea of flying to Duluth as well. Those airports are often government subsidized so flights to them tend to be cheaper than to the international airports where you pay the full price of the ticket. It shouldn't be too hard to find transport from Duluth to Ely."


This is a multi-variable optimization routine--thus complicated.
Conceptually I like flying into Duluth. However, there is no direct flight from AUS, so I must go through MSP or ORD or some other anyway...thus additional time.
I posted the timeline from last year. That timeline is self-imposed and designed to get us to Ely in one day and get on the water first thing next morning. So the timeline is a constraint for sure.
Spirit of the Wilderness (as I recall) does offer lockers. Not sure if they offer anything larger but I did not ask.
Some relief (in terms of car size) is achieved if we find a way to ship our gear back home directly from Ely. I have done it before but lost the formula and the Music store that used to be a UPS drop point no longer does that.
Staying at the outfitter is another good idea. I inquired with Spirit of the Wilderness two years ago and they shut down their lodges at the end of the summer season, so it was not available. I did not inquire elsewhere, however. We still have not decided which outfitter to use this year.
I have driven from Austin three times. I love the convenience but it is 3000 miles, round trip and requires an overnight. I have pitched a tent along the way several times, but alas, I am yielding to time (and not money) efficiency!
HowardSprague
distinguished member(3016)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/21/2020 08:39AM
billconner: ""you end up paying more for the additional air travel leg from MSP"
My recent experience is different on this point. I can fly from my small market airport (2 flights a day to Philadelphia) to another small market with two changes at big city airports for less or much less than to either of big airports.


So just checked for a week in July - $725 to MSP, $550 to DUL. "


You'll prob want to check again, looks like American hasn't taken DLH out of its schedule yet but they will: American-Airlines-prepares-to-discontinue-service-to-Duluth

(I assume that's who you're looking at, since PHL is their hub.)

The revenue-subsidized or revenue guaranteed (the city guarantees the airline a minimum level of revenue) markets aren't necessarily cheaper; often, they're priced similar to another comparable route.
TechnoScout
distinguished member (219)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/21/2020 09:01AM
Economy travel (Delta)
AUS-MSP : $157 Arrive 8:43, drive MSP to ELY 4hrs -- arrive 12:43pm
AUS-DLH: $300 Arrive 12:13. drive DLH to ELY 2hrs-- arrive 2:43pm

My screen shows no AA direct flights AUS-DLH

LindenTree
distinguished member(2287)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/21/2020 10:52AM
My wife has taken this bus service between MSP and DLH airports. If I remember correctly it is around 30 dollers.
Bus shuttle between MSP and Duluth airports.

Another shuttle service, wife has also taken this one. It has more times available.
HowardSprague
distinguished member(3016)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/21/2020 10:57AM
yeah, your only AUS-DLH options would be DL through MSP or UA through ORD.

This website is great for checking out (not buying) available airfares matrix ita software

(Love your organized itinerary!)
andym
distinguished member(4583)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
02/21/2020 11:50AM
Fedex ground will pick up from an outfitter but sometimes the agents you talk to on the phone don’t understand that they can pick up and weigh the stuff later. That can leave you in the awkward position of not knowing if your stuff will really be successfully picked up. But it always worked in the end. However, I haven’t done that since 2012 and so things could have changed.
TechnoScout
distinguished member (219)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/21/2020 03:39PM
andym: "Fedex ground will pick up from an outfitter but sometimes the agents you talk to on the phone don’t understand that they can pick up and weigh the stuff later. That can leave you in the awkward position of not knowing if your stuff will really be successfully picked up. But it always worked in the end. However, I haven’t done that since 2012 and so things could have changed."

As I recall, I used FedEx around that same time period. What I did was print the return shipping label at the same time as the forward shipping label, and assumed the weight would not change. I recall worrying a little bit. This was back when Wilderness Outfitters were still in good graces with the federal government! I liked using those guys...alas...
billconner
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02/21/2020 05:33PM
They did drop it so I looked at Syracuse to Duluth and to MSP on Expedia - less to Duluth by $24 - United.

There is no logic to air fares so I would never assume one ismore expensive. I routinely fine small markets through a major are lessor much less than the same flight to just the major. That's why airlines are cracking down on people buying the longer ticket and just getting off before last stop
TechnoScout
distinguished member (219)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/21/2020 06:51PM
billconner: "They did drop it so I looked at Syracuse to Duluth and to MSP on Expedia - less to Duluth by $24 - United.


There is no logic to air fares so I would never assume one ismore expensive. I routinely fine small markets through a major are lessor much less than the same flight to just the major. That's why airlines are cracking down on people buying the longer ticket and just getting off before last stop "

The airlines have become masters at their algorithm. If you travel a lot, you will notice that virtually every flight is full. Not so much in the past IMHO.

Anyway, for my algorithm, the DLH path is longer no matter what. Cheaper? If so, then by a small amount--de minimis.

There has been some great input on this thread...the best so far is to take advantage of the off-site rental location. Not discounting some of the shuttle suggestions...for a group (e.g., boy scouts) they are great. They just dont work for a couple OCD engineers.
HowardSprague
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02/22/2020 06:02PM
billconner: "They did drop it so I looked at Syracuse to Duluth and to MSP on Expedia - less to Duluth by $24 - United.


There is no logic to air fares so I would never assume one ismore expensive. I routinely fine small markets through a major are lessor much less than the same flight to just the major. That's why airlines are cracking down on people buying the longer ticket and just getting off before last stop "


Various factors go into it: mileage/distance of flight, pricing of similar markets, whether there is another airline offering the same nonstop, and what the competitors are pricing. There can be 20-30 different fares in a market. What is available when you try to book, that also depends on various things. How many days in advance you buy - a business traveler who is typically willing to pay more is less likely to be booking 3-5 weeks ahead of time. Also if it's a high-demand period. As a flight fills up, the cheaper fares go away. I suppose an equivalent would be if Lake One EP had 16 permits for July 10th and the permit cost is $x...as it fills up, the 10th permit might be $x + $15 and by the time only two permits are open they cost $100 apiece. So, there is some logic involved. And then there are sale fares - typically Southwest will have a sale every couple weeks, usually on a Tuesday, that are available for a certain range of dates and have to be ticketed by a certain date, By that Tuesday afternoon, typically all the other carriers will have matched those sale fares and they all go away after the "must be purchased by" date.
TechnoScout
distinguished member (219)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/22/2020 09:48PM
HowardSprague: "billconner: "They did drop it so I looked at Syracuse to Duluth and to MSP on Expedia - less to Duluth by $24 - United.



There is no logic to air fares so I would never assume one ismore expensive. I routinely fine small markets through a major are lessor much less than the same flight to just the major. That's why airlines are cracking down on people buying the longer ticket and just getting off before last stop "



Various factors go into it: mileage/distance of flight, pricing of similar markets, whether there is another airline offering the same nonstop, and what the competitors are pricing. There can be 20-30 different fares in a market. What is available when you try to book, that also depends on various things. How many days in advance you buy - a business traveler who is typically willing to pay more is less likely to be booking 3-5 weeks ahead of time. Also if it's a high-demand period. As a flight fills up, the cheaper fares go away. I suppose an equivalent would be if Lake One EP had 16 permits for July 10th and the permit cost is $x...as it fills up, the 10th permit might be $x + $15 and by the time only two permits are open they cost $100 apiece. So, there is some logic involved. And then there are sale fares - typically Southwest will have a sale every couple weeks, usually on a Tuesday, that are available for a certain range of dates and have to be ticketed by a certain date, By that Tuesday afternoon, typically all the other carriers will have matched those sale fares and they all go away after the "must be purchased by" date.
"


On our flight we booked last week, my buddy booked his...sent me an email and I booked mine withing 30 minutes. Mine was $50 more. Same class. He said that when he booked his flight, it said his was the last seat at that price. Sure enough, that turned out to be true.
02/23/2020 06:37PM
TechnoScout: "I booked mine withing 30 minutes. Mine was $50 more. Same class. He said that when he booked his flight, it said his was the last seat at that price. Sure enough, that turned out to be true. "

The airlines and major hotels seem to have this supply and demand thing down to a science!
billconner
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02/23/2020 08:25PM
sns: "TechnoScout: "I booked mine withing 30 minutes. Mine was $50 more. Same class. He said that when he booked his flight, it said his was the last seat at that price. Sure enough, that turned out to be true. "


The airlines and major hotels seem to have this supply and demand thing down to a science!
"


Feels more like witch-doctor than science.
MikeinMpls
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02/24/2020 11:38AM
HowardSprague: "billconner: "They did drop it so I looked at Syracuse to Duluth and to MSP on Expedia - less to Duluth by $24 - United.



There is no logic to air fares so I would never assume one ismore expensive. I routinely fine small markets through a major are lessor much less than the same flight to just the major. That's why airlines are cracking down on people buying the longer ticket and just getting off before last stop "



Various factors go into it: mileage/distance of flight, pricing of similar markets, whether there is another airline offering the same nonstop, and what the competitors are pricing. There can be 20-30 different fares in a market. What is available when you try to book, that also depends on various things. How many days in advance you buy - a business traveler who is typically willing to pay more is less likely to be booking 3-5 weeks ahead of time. Also if it's a high-demand period. As a flight fills up, the cheaper fares go away. I suppose an equivalent would be if Lake One EP had 16 permits for July 10th and the permit cost is $x...as it fills up, the 10th permit might be $x + $15 and by the time only two permits are open they cost $100 apiece. So, there is some logic involved. And then there are sale fares - typically Southwest will have a sale every couple weeks, usually on a Tuesday, that are available for a certain range of dates and have to be ticketed by a certain date, By that Tuesday afternoon, typically all the other carriers will have matched those sale fares and they all go away after the "must be purchased by" date.
"


I have also heard (and experienced) that the airlines will bump up fares if an individual checks back on a site numerous times looking for a better fare. I know this can happen if one has an account to an airline, requiring a sign-in. They may also do it with cookies installed on your computer. I fly a lot and it's as Greek to me as it ever has been.

Mike
MikeinMpls
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02/24/2020 11:38AM
HowardSprague: "billconner: "They did drop it so I looked at Syracuse to Duluth and to MSP on Expedia - less to Duluth by $24 - United.



There is no logic to air fares so I would never assume one ismore expensive. I routinely fine small markets through a major are lessor much less than the same flight to just the major. That's why airlines are cracking down on people buying the longer ticket and just getting off before last stop "



Various factors go into it: mileage/distance of flight, pricing of similar markets, whether there is another airline offering the same nonstop, and what the competitors are pricing. There can be 20-30 different fares in a market. What is available when you try to book, that also depends on various things. How many days in advance you buy - a business traveler who is typically willing to pay more is less likely to be booking 3-5 weeks ahead of time. Also if it's a high-demand period. As a flight fills up, the cheaper fares go away. I suppose an equivalent would be if Lake One EP had 16 permits for July 10th and the permit cost is $x...as it fills up, the 10th permit might be $x + $15 and by the time only two permits are open they cost $100 apiece. So, there is some logic involved. And then there are sale fares - typically Southwest will have a sale every couple weeks, usually on a Tuesday, that are available for a certain range of dates and have to be ticketed by a certain date, By that Tuesday afternoon, typically all the other carriers will have matched those sale fares and they all go away after the "must be purchased by" date.
"


I have also heard (and experienced) that the airlines will bump up fares if an individual checks back on a site numerous times looking for a better fare. I know this can happen if one has an account to an airline, requiring a sign-in. They may also do it with cookies installed on your computer. I fly a lot and it's as Greek to me as it ever has been.

Mike
HowardSprague
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02/24/2020 12:31PM
I have never heard of that one. I would guess it's more a function of fare changes throughout the day; there is a central site (Airline Tariff Publishing Company) where all airlines file their fares, match others' fares, etc.. Everyone sees almost all of everyone else's fares. Transmissions/updates are done four times daily. So, if you log in at 8am cst and see a fare and an airline changes a fare for the 9am cst transmission and you log in again at 11am, you'll encounter the updated fare. Or, someone purchased the last of that original fare and the next thing on the shelf is higher. So I think it's more a function of the fare changes throughout the day, rather than a particular person being jacked around with.
CampSR
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02/24/2020 12:50PM
Here is a completely different suggestion: Maybe just make the drive? Roughly 21 hours from Austin to Ely, and your current flight day and drive to Ely is likely around 12-14 hours. I imagine it would be a lot less expensive to make that drive with maybe one additional night in a hotel (if you want to split it between 2 days), than the cost of airfare, rental car, shipping gear, etc. Also a lot less headache of figuring all of that out and more flexibility in your trip overall (ex. if you are unable to make it out and back in time to catch your flight for whatever reason). Plus all the sites to see on that type of a road trip can add to the experience of the trip.

Just my two cents.
TechnoScout
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02/24/2020 01:11PM
CampSR: "Here is a completely different suggestion: Maybe just make the drive? Roughly 21 hours from Austin to Ely, and your current flight day and drive to Ely is likely around 12-14 hours. I imagine it would be a lot less expensive to make that drive with maybe one additional night in a hotel (if you want to split it between 2 days), than the cost of airfare, rental car, shipping gear, etc. Also a lot less headache of figuring all of that out and more flexibility in your trip overall (ex. if you are unable to make it out and back in time to catch your flight for whatever reason). Plus all the sites to see on that type of a road trip can add to the experience of the trip.


Just my two cents."

There is one appealing thing about driving--just throw all your crap into the SUV and hit the road!
I have made the trip before in two days. It is grueling. It is about 12+ hours per day. The overnight stay is a cost. I have pitched a tent and I have stayed in a hotel.

At the end of the day, I have to focus on the goal and not the process. The goal is to get on the water in the most efficient way possible where efficiency is measured mostly in time (vs. money). Driving costs one day in travel at best.

This rental-car exercise is more about optimizing at the margins.

Lots of good ideas have come out of this thread--a little surprised it has had such a large response!
thegildedgopher
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02/24/2020 01:22PM
billconner: "There is no logic to air fares so I would never assume one ismore expensive. I routinely fine small markets through a major are lessor much less than the same flight to just the major. That's why airlines are cracking down on people buying the longer ticket and just getting off before last stop "

Which, by the way, I find to be a massive crock of poo. If airlines were more transparent and fair with their pricing, customers wouldn't have to resort to booking extra legs just to get a reasonable rate. Skiplagger for life!

I should clarify that I do think airlines should have recourse for the frequent flyers who use this method to rack up additional miles. That's shady.
HowardSprague
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02/24/2020 01:34PM
You prob know this, but: if you try this and have more flights on the same ticket, they'll all get canceled if you don't show up for a leg.
Possible snags: Or "sorry, sir, we will have to gate check that bag". Or weather happens and your flight cancels and you get rerouted through another hub,...gotta take that stuff into consideration.

Sometimes you'll get a cheaper fare via a connection to a second city because an airline is just matching a sale fare in an origin & destination they don't do nonstop.

Sorry, I'll stop with the airline tangents.
A lot to be said for driving - especially being able to take along all your stuff!
Chilliard
 
02/25/2020 12:16AM
I live near Two Harbors. My daughter lives near MSP. My wife and I make the trip down several times a year. I’m a retired teacher and find myself with plenty of time to fill. My point is maybe my wife and I could schedule a couple of visits to our daughter coinciding with your trip dates and put the drive to Ely on the route.

We used to go to the lakes often. Many memories.

Email me if you would like to discuss it.
billconner
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02/25/2020 07:06AM
My conclusion is short of friend or family shuttling, rental cars - MSP or DUL or other - are probably the least expensive for 3 or more, maybe for 2. For one or maybe 2 there may be a more adventuresome option.

The driving thing is pretty dependent on what you value your time and mileage at. Using IRS rates for business, flying and renting a car is often less expensive. Quite literally, YMMV. As I coast into retirement, and since I love driving, I am flying less and driving more. Even some "business camping" . Always a good conversation topic at the business meeting to talk about camping last night.
TechnoScout
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02/25/2020 07:44AM
billconner: "My conclusion is short of friend or family shuttling, rental cars - MSP or DUL or other - are probably the least expensive for 3 or more, maybe for 2. For one or maybe 2 there may be a more adventuresome option.


The driving thing is pretty dependent on what you value your time and mileage at. Using IRS rates for business, flying and renting a car is often less expensive. Quite literally, YMMV. As I coast into retirement, and since I love driving, I am flying less and driving more. Even some "business camping" . Always a good conversation topic at the business meeting to talk about camping last night."


LOL...I can imagine myself moseying into court to testify (expert witness) with a bed head from sleeping in my mummy bag! Yup...interesting conversation.

Certainly a good point about being adventurous with solo traveling...something for me to keep in mind.
billconner
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02/25/2020 07:29PM
I do fine with state and provincial park bath houses. And I carry a nice thick foam pad and long rectangular bag. It's CAR camping.
Northwoodsman
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02/26/2020 09:42AM
Hey Technoscout we are almost neighbors, I'm up in the Dallas area. I face the same decision every year, drive or fly. I can get to the twin cities in 15 hours from the northern suburbs of Dallas, it's 18 hours to Duluth for me. I drive about every 4th trip. Most of my family lives in MN so I ship my gear up and they ship it back for me. I drove last year because I brought a canoe back to TX with me. I'm flying this year. I can get direct flights from DAL into MSP for under $225 round trip almost anytime that I want. My schedule is flexible and I trip during May or September so permits are never a problem. I book my flights then plan my trip around that.
TechnoScout
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02/26/2020 10:31AM
Northwoodsman: "Hey Technoscout we are almost neighbors, I'm up in the Dallas area. I face the same decision every year, drive or fly. I can get to the twin cities in 15 hours from the northern suburbs of Dallas, it's 18 hours to Duluth for me. I drive about every 4th trip. Most of my family lives in MN so I ship my gear up and they ship it back for me. I drove last year because I brought a canoe back to TX with me. I'm flying this year. I can get direct flights from DAL into MSP for under $225 round trip almost anytime that I want. My schedule is flexible and I trip during May or September so permits are never a problem. I book my flights then plan my trip around that."

Hey Neighbor!!!
Next time I drive, I plan to bring back a canoe as well...would love to have a Kevlar to fish in Canyon Lake.
Like you, I am flying this year...Sep 8. I have not done a May trip but would like to sometime. Earliest I have done is June 6...my first trip taking Scouts.

Same here...schedule wise...I am a consultant/retired so generally I have control of time. We were gonna try and game the weather this year and get tickets at the last minute, but decided against it and booked our flights. Lol...probably gonna freeze.

Back to driving...the least efficient part of my driving is getting through Dallas (or Ft Worth...depending on my E/W choice)!!
Northwoodsman
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03/01/2020 07:30PM
TechnoScout - I'm only going to be a day behind you. I'm flying into MSP on the 9th. We are going in on the 10th or 11th at East Bearskin on the Gunflint side. We are coming out on the 14th, 15th or 16th. I'm tripping this year with my cousin who lives 10 minutes from the MSP airport so I don't have a rental car expense this time. We were going in on Thursday but he inadvertently booked a permit for the 11th which is Friday. We'll either switch it or push it back one day. This is normally my week of choice, no bugs, the air is cool (not too cold), and the crowds are gone.
TechnoScout
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03/01/2020 08:26PM
Northwoodsman: "TechnoScout - I'm only going to be a day behind you. I'm flying into MSP on the 9th. We are going in on the 10th or 11th at East Bearskin on the Gunflint side. We are coming out on the 14th, 15th or 16th. I'm tripping this year with my cousin who lives 10 minutes from the MSP airport so I don't have a rental car expense this time. We were going in on Thursday but he inadvertently booked a permit for the 11th which is Friday. We'll either switch it or push it back one day. This is normally my week of choice, no bugs, the air is cool (not too cold), and the crowds are gone."
Bummer...it would have been fun to meet up. We met MinnMike two years ago and Tomcat last year.
This my 11th trip...coming with my friend who used to work for me--his third trip. Both of us in the Austin metro area. Have not gotten our permit yet, but will be getting a tow to prairie portage and then paddle into SAK and who knows after that. We will be out for 10 days. I have done June, July, August, and many Septembers. Septembers are the best!
 
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