How to Plan the Ultimate Buddy Trip
Posted by May 23, 2016in Travelon
So you’ve decided to embrace one of the most time-honored traditions in golf—the buddy trip. Whether your trip is an annual event or a once-in-a-lifetime experience, the time you’ll spend with friends is invaluable, and the memories you’ll make will last a lifetime.
But where should you go, and who should you invite? Planning a buddy trip presents a series of unique challenges that set it apart from a solo excursion or family vacation. After all, you and your friends have different obligations, separate finances, and conflicting schedules.
To aid in the planning process, we’ve laid out the most important aspects of buddy-trip planning: the group, dates, and destination.
1. The Group
Perhaps the most important consideration when planning your vacation is who you should invite. Is your ideal group small or large? Are you looking for serious play and fierce competition or a casual weekend open to inexperienced players?
Consider whether your trip is a one-time venture, as a yearly excursion may result in a more exclusive guest list. The group can make or break your trip, so evaluate your choices carefully.
2. The Dates
Coordinating everyone’s schedules can be a challenge. Dave Wolfe of MyGolfSpy suggests gathering the availability of your players before proposing a tentative date, which can be adjusted if a majority is unable to attend.
Also consider whether you want to travel in peak-season or off-season and how your choice will affect cost, course and lodging availability, and weather. To save costs, compare how airline rates fluctuate when you change travel dates.
And for projected weather and playing conditions, check out Atlas Travelcast, our trip-planning weather tool!
3. The Destination
Choosing a solid destination is essential. After all, you’re spending a lot of time and money on this trip and you want it to exceed expectations.
To aid your selection process, we’ve outlined the main things to consider when choosing a destination: course, cost, transportation, lodging, and non-golf activities.
Check out the following tips for each destination consideration:
Course - TravelMuse recommends that you evaluate your expectations when it comes to climate, scenery, playing conditions, and number and difficulty of courses. Is it imperative that you have access to a golf cart? How important are clubhouses and practice facilities? Make sure you discuss priorities with your buddies and choose a location that accommodates everyone’s needs.
Cost - Don’t forget to acquire a budget from each of your buddies—you don’t want to plan a trip your friends can’t afford! Plan to pay for golf, transportation, lodging, food, and any additional activities you’d like to enjoy during your stay. Check golf club and resort websites early and often for off-season rates, stay-and-play packages, and discounts.
Transportation - Book your flights well in advance, as airfare may be cheaper and planes fill up quickly—especially in peak-seasons. According to Alexandra Baackes of Alex in Wanderland, research shows that fares are lowest on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Be sure to take packing and carry-on restrictions into account, as well as possible delays or cancellations, and consider how you’ll get around once you arrive at your destination.
Lodging - Many hotels and resorts offer stay-and-play packages; you pay for a room and get unlimited or discounted play! Larger groups can save money by forgoing individual hotel rooms in favor of several villas or a single lodge, according to Golf.com. And, for non-traditional travelers, sites like HomeAway and Airbnb can connect you to entire houses and apartments available for rent. Book in advance for lower costs and open availability.
Non-Golf Activities - The best buddy trips often consist of more than just golf. Discuss non-golf priorities with your group and save time in your schedule—and money in your budget!—for accomplishing all the activities your dream vacation requires. Be sure to coordinate these activities with your trip’s date, season, and expected weather.
For popular golf destinations and the best time of year to visit, check out this "Teeing off Around the World" infographic!
Know Your Optimal Playing Conditions—Free Planning Tool
Tokio Marine HCC - MIS Group offers Atlas Travelcast, a free trip-planning tool, to assist you in designing the golf vacation of your dreams.
Simply input your desired course or destination with possible trip dates and Atlas Travelcast will assess historical and current weather data to predict your playing conditions. Our “Golf Misery Index” will present you with a clear rating of 1 through 10 (1 being miserable – 10 being optimal).
Atlas Travelcast will also advise you on your optimal golf dates—and suggest alternatives!—and use your trip dates to project your course or region’s temperature, wind, and precipitation.
Consider Atlas Golf Insurance to Protect Your Investment
International buddy trips aren’t cheap—that’s why it’s so important you protect your investment from the possibility of medical mishaps, bad weather, and lost or damaged equipment.
Tokio Marine HCC - MIS Group will soon offer Atlas Golf insurance, a product which can provide international golfers with weather and equipment coverage in addition to travel medical coverage.
This specialty insurance protects your golf trip by offering:
Rainfall Accumulcation Benefit - The optional Rainfall Accumulation benefit is applied when rainfall accumulation exceeds the threshold (determined by historic weather data) shown on the member’s declaration. It applies only to days spent playing golf during your trip and is added only for members participating in the sport.
Golf Equipment Coverage - Should your golf clubs, golf bag, shoes, or non-motorized cart sustain damage or become lost as you travel, Atlas Golf offers Golf Equipment Coverage of up to $3,000 per certificate period. It also provides a $500 equipment rental benefit (up to $50/day) in the case of lost or damaged items.
Travel Medical Insurance - Since the benefits of many standard medical insurance policies do not apply beyond the borders of your home country, Atlas Golf offers 3 levels of travel medical coverage — Novice, Amateur, and Pro — from which you can choose to protect you as you cross international borders.
Some additional Atlas Golf benefits include:
- Up to $2M in coverage
- $1M Medical Evacuation
- Accidental Death & Dismemberment
- Personal Liability
- Repatriation of Remains
- Emergency Assistance
- Golf Equipment Coverage
Don’t risk your health or finances as you prepare for your international golf vacation—get an insurance plan that can cover you in cases of medical emergency, bad weather, and lost or damaged equipment. With various options for coverage, Atlas Golf is a plan well-suited to all international golf travelers.