A trip to the Daytona 500 is a whirlwind week of activities and fun. The planning usually begins about 10 months earlier. I will walk you thru my planning for the Daytona 500. This is prior to getting to Daytona Beach….for the race.
Now the Daytona 500 is one of the businest weeks for touists in Daytona Beach. There is a very, VERY high demand for rooms and cars and flights in an out of Daytona Beach for the race.
STEP #1 – Ticket Renewal I am a ticket holder for the Daytona 500. My family has had tickets for years and years, however, I had a mis-spent youth and it was many years into my adulthood before I was in a position where my income exceeded my basic living expenses… and I could afford to go. So, as a ticket holder my trip planning for the 2008 Daytona 500 began in April of 2007, when I needed to pay for my tickets in order to renew my order. The track does have a plan where you can charge 1/2 payment in April and the other 1/2 in July.
STEP #2 – Seat Upgrade Process When you initially get your tickets for the Daytona 500, they may not be the best of seats. Frankly depending upon what you like to see and how much walking you are willing to do, there is a strong possibility that it could be years of trying to get the perfect location. You will be in a section and then in a row and seat. So, after I pay for my tickets – the speedway offers me the opportunity to upgrade into a reservation that has not been renewed by the previous ticketholder. The speedway is split into 7 areas that are assigned by the sections that your seats reside in. These are rotated yearly for 7 days of upgrades. So it will take you 7 long, looong years to be Day 1 again…If you were day 1 last year and got the best choice of unrenewed seats, you will be day 7 (or dead last) next year and will need to work your way back to Day 1.
Day 1 people :: They get the first choice of reservations that were not renewed, so they have the greatest choice of seats and this is the best time to upgrade sections. From time to time they combine things or change things that knocks the rotation out of order, but it is usually a 7 year wait to move out of your section. Day 1 is section moving day. So all folks in Section 1 & 2 are able to upgrade on Day 1…guess what they ae vacating section 1 & 2 seats….so anytime during the course of the day there may be a few good Section 1 or 2 seats waiting to get picked up, but in most cases the best opportunity to switch sections is your year to be Day 1, you can upgrade within your section if you remember to call during your upgrade day. You may need to call several times during your upgrade day to catch the best seats for you. We all have our own idea of what is best. My parents did not upgrade for 19 years…why?? They were on the aisle ad that was important to them. I personally get irked when people climb on me and step on my feet for the race, but my dad likes to be the end guy.
IF YOU ARE PURCHASING DAYTONA 500 TICKETS FOR THE 1st TIME:: All available seats go on sale after ticket holders have a chance to upgrade. They will name the dates that your tickets will go on sale. See the Daytonba International Speedway website in advance to get an idea of the parts of the track and where you would most like to be for the race. www.DaytonaInternationalSpeedway.com
——-> Seating Charts & Maps—->3D Seating Chart
to get an idea of the views from various heights and sections.
STEP #3 – Car Rental It is quite possible to get a car in January. They are available and you can reserve them, the difference in an April rental vs a January rental?? About $400.00. Book your cars early. I book mine at the same time I pay for my tickets.
STEP #4 – Room Rental Finding rooms –start early to get best selection and best prices. If you are interested in renting a condo by owner, please try my site:: www.Vacation-Daytona.com for quality vacation rentals by owner. We have studios and also 2 or 3 bedroom condos so you can feel like you are at home when you travel. Most hotels and resorts have a 5 night minimum for this time of year and you can expect higher than normal prices.
STEP #5 – Airline Bookings I usually fly into Orlando (MCO) on Southwest. I am from Chicago and I do not mind the 1.5 hour drive to Daytona. The drive from Jacksonville (JAX) is about 1 hour 45 minutes. Daytona Beach airport (DAB) is (of course) the most convenient. SWA opens their February schedule around Mid September. AirTran opens their schedule at 6 months out. I have found this the best airline to use when flying into Daytona Beach. Wednesday – Thursday – Friday – Saturday – Sunday – Monday (around the Daytona 500 dates) flights need to be booked early. Most other dates seem easy to reserve up to 1 month before, but keep in mind that the earlier you book, the better the chance of getting a good internet rate.