Obviously, you are going to get the best deal if you travel mid-week. The most expensive round-trip fares will be the Friday-Sunday type of deals. If you want an AWESOME airfare comparison website, head on over to Kayak.com. It includes the Jet Blue, Spirit Air, and Southwest's of the world that aren't included on Orbitz.com or Expedia.com searches. Sample Airfare that I have found is for Wednesday March 12 - Wednesday March 15. You leave from JFK at 7:05 PM on the 12th and arrive in Tampa around 10 PM. Going back, is an evening flight on Saturday night. The Yankees play a Spring Training game against the Pirates on Thursday that you can catch. $179 round trip from NYC.
Free re-bidding with Priceline.com is the way to go. Usually people are put off by Priceline, because you don't know where you are locking yourself into staying. Lucky for you, there is a way to take advantage of the Priceline system:
A great, straightforward and simple introduction to successful Priceline bidding is this 2003 article from the Washington Post by Michael Shapiro.SOURCE
About.com has a good, clear explanation of how free re-bids work. That's probably the single most important 'trick' to learn.
The best uber resource for informed Priceline bidding is Bidding For Travel.com. Some users are unhappy with the level of moderation there, but it is indispensable successful and unsuccessful bids that have been posted. Their Hotel FAQ is also for the lists of hotels by zone and quality level and the tremendous amount of important reading to understand how to get the hotel(s) you want in the right location and at the best price. Furthermore, their discussion boards contain really interesting tips such as advanced rebidding techniques that increase your free re-bids beyond those conventionally recognized.
An alternative to Biddingfortravel.com is BetterBidding.com which is newer and not quite as extensive. It does cover Hotwire as well as Priceline, so adds some unique value
There are a LOT of discount codes out there that you can use, especially in a state like Florida.
There are discount codes with all of the different rental companies. Check out this thread from the best money-saving website out there - FatWallet.com
Yankee Spring Training Tickets
Tickets are still available for select Spring Training games on Yankees.com. When these games sell out (and they will sell out) you will need to secure tickets without getting ROBBED on Stub Hub. The BEST thing to do is to head on over to Craigs List Tampa and try to get some tickets from locals in the area for face value or below.
Like I said, it ALL depends on the dates you choose, but if you follow the steps I have outlined above, I GUARANTEE you can afford to head down to Spring Training. Feel free to post on the message boards about any luck you have had in booking a trip down to Tampa for Spring Traning so others can possibly do the same!
Less than two weeks until pitchers and catchers!!!