Arranging for travel without confirmed eligibility

While preparing for the MAR District Championship, my team is also looking at what we will do if we qualify for championships. We haven’t traveled to a non-local competition or qualified for championships since 2005, so we have no experience with this.

Question 1: For teams that travel 12+ hours, do you fly or take a bus?

Question 2: If you fly, how do you handle timing of ticket purchases? Especially for teams that qualify late in the season (we wouldn’t know until just over a week before CMP starts), do you buy tickets early and hope to be able to use the tickets? Or do you wait until after you qualify and hope to be able to get tickets?

Thanks for any help you can provide.

Don’t do either. Get tickets now that you can cancel without/with a minimal penalty or sell to another team in the event you don’t qualify.

Flying vs Busing is typically a numbers game. Anecdotally, teams smaller than 20 fly, larger teams are cheaper to bus. Over 14 hours of busing? You’ll probably fly regardless of cost.

Not sure if you qualified and want to price it out? You might want to call Southwest and get a quote for a refundable vs non-refundable ticket.

Also call your school recommended Charter Bus and get a quote.

Planning for this in advance does make it easier to fundraise…

Actually, it is 10+ hours since that is the time limit for a single bus driver.

From Scotch Plains, NY to St. Louis, NJ, you are looking at 13 hours by bus.

For a Team, a bus is definitely the way to go. Especially if you can fit your pit into the bus cargo area.

Your bus choices are:

  1. Stop overnight along the way. That adds room cost. Maybe east of Indianapolis both ways. For the return, see if you can get a hotel with late checkout. Then you can go to the Sat Evening Finale, leave after the Finale, and get to Indianapolis around 2am. Leave around 1pm the next day (driver needs 8 hours off).

  2. Arrange for a 2nd driver to drive the remaining distance. Maybe Driver 1 gets you to/from Pittsburgh, and Driver 2 gets you between Pittsburgh and St. Louis.

Maybe a mix of the two. 2nd driver on the way out, and single driver after that.

Generally speaking getting a bus for that distance on short notice is iffy. So you end up paying a deposit that you will lose if you don’t go. You generally have to fully pay for airline tickets shortly after booking. I don’t know of any good options for that.

At this point, airline seats may be hard to come by, particularly from Philly or Newark - a lot of teams in that area are going to Champs. Hotels are even more difficult. You will most likely end up at a hotel not within walking distance, so a bus (or other transportation) will come in very handy.

when we go to champs from Connecticut our team flies we are a small team roughly 10 people every year, and two of our mentors drive down with the pit stuff and the third mentor flies with us. you would diffinetly need to get tickets in advance cause once the district championships start happening ticket are gonna start disappearing

Thanks for the help so far. Our initial plan was actually to take a charter bus (for which we had already gotten a quotes that made the trip very affordable), but right before I made that post I’d been informed that we will be required to fly.

Do not forget to make plans on how to transport your tools and equipment down to Championship. I would reach out to Dave Morris and Team 2016 to inquire if they are once again helping MAR teams transport their pit set-ups to St. Louis.

If bussing is still an option, some other MAR teams share busses and split the cost among the teams. It might be worth looking into seeing if any teams in NJ are interested.