Travel events, when done properly, are some of the most exciting and fun events an organization can implement. They offer an opportunity for students to get away from the bubble of their school and experience something new. Events that require significant time in transport are especially good for team bonding as there is little else for people to do except talk to each other. However, a poorly planned travel event can be as disastrous as a well planned one is inspiring. Before, you go on a travel event, double check that your logistics are confirmed and iron clad. Plan for the following:
Pre-event Registration – Many events require you to register your group or your members in advance. Be aware of deadlines and fees for dropping out. Participants should be responsible for any fees caused by dropping out at the last minute.
Transportation Logistics – Consider the avenues you can take to get to your event. Public transportation is often cheapest but tends to be available only during specific times. Also, your members may wish for privacy during the trip to prepare for the upcoming event which will not be possible on public transportation (in my experience, seeing a man publicly relieve himself on a subway is not conducive to speech memorization). Renting a car is the best option for trips that take between two to six hours. Consider both the quality of your drivers as well as the need for breaks. Plane rides tend to be expensive but might be a good option if your trip would require more than six hours of travel by car. For all travel, try to arrive the night before your event especially if trip will take more than two hours. It’s very difficult for members to perform at their best if they’re weary from travel.
Lodging Logistics – You should book sufficient lodging for the size of your team. Most hotels will allow for a maximum of four individuals per room. Balance between expense and safety. A little extra cash is worth it if it will assist with the peace of mind of your team members. Most hotels have a 24 hour cancellation policy which means that no penalties will be charged for cancellations outside of 24 hours. New apps like Airbnb will also allow you to house your members at cheaper rates. However, I generally prefer to have all my members under one roof. It’s easier to coordinate logistics and to hold practices. If you have the budget, don’t skimp on lodging. A good night’s rest and simpler coordination details can make all the difference.
CS1: One of my favorite travel events was to a Speech & Debate tournament to Seton Hall University. After a successful competition, our car decided it had done enough work for the day and refused to start up. This left us stranded in middle of nowhere New Jersey in the dead of winter. So, we decided to sit on the ground and tell jokes. We were laughing so hard at our situation and at the terrible jokes that the time just flew by. A mechanic arrived, and we were on our way. During travel events, things will inevitably go wrong. Take it in stride and adapt. If nothing else, use the time as an opportunity to bond with your teammates; you never know what stories you’ll come up with.