Will you be one of the more than 1.7 million visitors to Phoenix next spring? Do you have reservations yet?

With the weather and the pennant chase heating up in August, spring training is far from the thoughts of most baseball fans.

But if attending spring training is on your bucket list, you need to end the procrastination and start planning NOW. If you “wait ‘til next year,” you’re going to wish you had started planning this year.

It is only natural for most northerners to wait until the first cold spell before thoughts turn to Arizona (or even Florida) and spring training, t-shirts and shorts.

Smart travelers take advantage of the maximum number of housing and air travel choices available before the last out of the World Series.

“March is one of the busiest times of year for Scottsdale-area hotels and resorts, with occupancy typically nearing 90 percent,” said Christina LaPorte, Communications Manager for Experience Scottsdale. “According to STR, in March 2019, occupancy was 88.4 percent. (STR provides data and analytics for the hospitality industry.)

“It’s also a busy month for short-term rentals in Scottsdale,” LaPorte said. “According to AllTheRooms, Scottsdale-area Airbnbs experienced 72 percent occupancy in March 2019.”

How to start your planning? Arizona tourism websites.

Visit Phoenix, the non-profit promoting Phoenix as a convention destination, has a terrific website packed with travel info and a calendar of concerts and other events.

Whether you base your trip in Phoenix or one of the suburbs, chances are you will find yourself in Scottsdale during your stay. Many of the most popular upscale resorts, restaurants, shopping centers and entertainment venues are in Scottsdale. Experience Scottsdale offers pretty much everything you want to know about Scottsdale.

The Arizona Office of Tourism’s website also is worth a visit, especially if your stay will include time to take a road trip or two beyond the Phoenix metro region. While on the website, order a free “official” printed travel guide with a state map.

“Cactus League spring training is the classic visitor getaway and experience for the entire family. Great weather, tasty culinary, plenty of golf, and outdoor adventures make the spring baseball season a can’t miss trip,” explained Doug MacKenzie, Director of Media Relations for Visit Phoenix.

Where to stay?

We covered lodging in an earlier post. And finding just the right place to stay may be the most important for early planning.

With 1.7 million visitors expected to spend all or part of spring in Phoenix, our best advice: It’s a mistake to delay. By the time pitchers and catchers start reporting for warm-ups, your options will be severely limited. If you want the perfect place at the perfect price, reserve early.

Ballpark advice?

The Phoenix metro area is large – more than 14,500 square miles and a population of more than 4.7 million.

Some Cactus League ballparks are a few miles apart, but all are not clustered together. But if you avoid rush hours, it’s an easy drive to any of the 10 ballparks used by the 15 teams playing in Arizona. Fun fact: None of the ballparks are within the city limits of Phoenix.

The Arizona Cactus League Association has a handy map showing every spring training ballpark in the region. Each park is represented by a baseball on the region map. Click on the baseball to see a more detailed street map of that portion of the region and click again for Google Map directions.

Spring Training Connection has detailed information about each ballpark in Arizona and Florida. The website is a good one-stop place to find where to park your car, where to sit (in the sun or shade), tips on collecting autographs and much more. You can even find out what beer is on tap.

Spring Training Online is another good resource, and it carries frequent news updates. They also sell a printed and e-book – The Complete Guide to Spring Training 2020 / Arizona.

Do you have a tip to share? We’re always interested in advice to maximize the fun in Arizona.

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