How do teams normally make travel arrangements?

How do teams normally make traveling arrangements that fit into an affordable price range? We are having this specific problem trying to make arrangements for the Buckeye Regional in Ohio. Anybody have any suggestions or am I missing something? We are hoping to take something like 40 kids to this regional.

GO TEAM 1403!!!

Are you talking about flying? Getting a bus? finding hotels? Food?

Some of those details would help us to give you much better answers.

Any of these… whatever is cheaper. We are under A REALLY TIGHT budget this year and we need to save money wherever possible. I think probably a bus would probably be cheaper, but then again I don’t really know. We are open to flying, taking a bus whatever. Yea we also need a hotel to stay at. I was just wondering how other teams normally did it. Food and other stuff we can figure out when we get there.

Well, I have no idea whether flying or busing would be cheaper, but to get an idea of how much it would cost to fly, you can search travelocity, expedia, etc, plus Southwest and other “discount” airlines that the main travel sites dont search. After that, you can call the airlines with the cheapest prices and see if you would get a group discount.

FIRST usually has a few hotels listed for each regional. They usually aren’t the cheapest. You can also use websites like expedia and travelocity to find hotels. I know that this year we found the hotel we stayed at in Sacramento through the AAA book for California. You should be able to find these books for any state.

From New Jersey to Ohio, taking a bus will almost assuredly be cheaper. Flying from New York to Cleveland is very expensive.Use online travel services to find hotels that are convenient to the regional site and compare their prices. Call each of them and ask if they have any discounts available for groups, as well, as you’ll likely need 12 or 13 rooms. Also, remember to call the hotels directly – not any toll-free reservation lines. You’ll usually be much better off for talking a hotel’s manager directly than to some agent three thousand miles away.

If one hotel gives a better price than the other, call back and forth and see if they’ll give you a better offer.

I just learned something from KathieK the other day.
If you (actually this goes for any team or group) try getting airfare as a “school sports travel team” instead of a regular group discount you might get better rates and options.

You need to call everyone to get prices. What someone else got is not a good way to plan a budget for this. A non technical parent makes a great person to do this. CALL AND TALK TO PEOPLE. Let me repeat that.

Call and talk to a person.

Tavelocity is not the cheapest you can get tickets, just the easiest. If you need to squeeze out every last penny, call and talk to an agent. Even better would be going to a real ticket office. The real people know whats up, and you play your cards right you get awesome deals. I was able to fly down to Atlanta last year for ~$160 round trip Dulles-Atlanta, getting my ticket only 5 days in advance. She said if I had been there two weeks in advance she could have gotten it down further. There was some weird voucher that I got that I would never had gotten otherwise.

Call different bus companies and ask them what it would cost. Assumptions rarely save money. Figure food out in advance, for it will be a lot more then you expected. If you can find somewhere to get food in volume for less then everyone going to McDonald’s, you can get them to contribute more to paying for the trip while keeping out of pocket expenses the same. Believe me, food costs a lot more then you realize, then you goto college. :rolleyes:

Asking for help here was a good start, but now you need to go and call companies that can give you real prices for this year.


Time to make someone in charge. If you can get a NEMO (non-engineering mentor) to do it, that would be great. You need someone who has the ability to write checks or has a team credit card for deposits. You need to have the money in the bank before you can do this, obviously, because once you make a reservation, you need to make a deposit.
If you are a school group, there is usually an “acceptable” list of bus companies your school can use.
Who is the team closest to you who is willing to mentor (this is listed on FIRST site)? Call them for advice.
Remember, what is affordable to some students, is out of reach for others, if you need to pay-as-you-go. Time to have a business discussion with the team and survey the team. But this is sensitive, so followup needs to be done by the team leader.

Do you have a NEMO on your team? If so, encourage them to join Chief Delphi and sign up with us as a NEMO. They can learn lots of travel and other non-technical hints from other NEMOs.

I’ve helped with our travel plans, with a group around your size. Busses are typically less expensive, but the cost will still surprise you.