Cheapest Way to get to HSNCT from Really Far Away?

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Cheapest Way to get to HSNCT from Really Far Away?

Post by wexs883198215 » Wed Apr 28, 2010 5:48 pm

So WJ (near DC) is kind of dealing with some financial issues, so we are exploring non-airplane options for getting to Chicago for HSNCT. What would be the best way to do so? I know the Greyhound adds up to about $100 cheaper per person compared to flying. Are there better options?
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Re: Cheapest Way to get to HSNCT from Really Far Away?

Post by Susan » Wed Apr 28, 2010 6:02 pm

A quick look suggests that Amtrak may be a better bet than Greyhound; I'm getting minimum fares of $83 for Amtrak vs. $99 for Greyhound (I haven't been trying to search for any sort of student discount on either of these if such a thing exists, but you might want to look into that). If any of your teammates are 15 or under they'll get cheaper Amtrak tickets. Also, I can't see what part of town the Greyhound is going to drop you off in--there are three Greyhound dropoff points in the city, one of which is the same place the Amtrak will leave you, one is in the south loop, and one is very far south; the latter two are places where you might not want to spend loads of time after dark.

Also, I'm guessing "totally sweet road trip in someone's car" is not a possibility.
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Re: Cheapest Way to get to HSNCT from Really Far Away?

Post by quizbowllee » Wed Apr 28, 2010 10:04 pm

Big yellow school bus. Gets us to Chicago from Alabama every time. And it's free.
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Re: Cheapest Way to get to HSNCT from Really Far Away?

Post by Matthew D » Wed Apr 28, 2010 10:06 pm

lol must be nice.. I have to pay for mine but at $0.90 a mile it isn't that bad
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Re: Cheapest Way to get to HSNCT from Really Far Away?

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo » Wed Apr 28, 2010 10:26 pm

quizbowllee wrote:And it's free.
How? Jesus i can't even get to Wilmington for under $300 for a stupid bus full of kids.
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Re: Cheapest Way to get to HSNCT from Really Far Away?

Post by Rococo A Go Go » Wed Apr 28, 2010 10:56 pm

According to Google Maps it takes about 9 days 7 hours on foot. I'd give it a few extra days to account for rest, leave somewhere around the May 14th. If that doesn't work, it's looking like roundtrip Amtrak (and the trips are about 24 hours long apparently) is going to run you roughly 200 bucks per adult.
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Re: Cheapest Way to get to HSNCT from Really Far Away?

Post by Frater Taciturnus » Wed Apr 28, 2010 11:07 pm

So I hear Galactus is looking for a new herald. That will totally get you to Chicago no problem. You might half to sentence a few civilizations to death, but hey HSNCT!
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Re: Cheapest Way to get to HSNCT from Really Far Away?

Post by Camelopardalis » Thu Apr 29, 2010 12:04 am

I took the train to last year's HSNCT from Toronto, and it's actually pretty reasonable. The cost was definitely affordable (for a broke university student), and the timing was convenient too. I got on at night, slept the night through, and woke up in Chicago. It's obviously not as good as air travel, but if your team is in a financial bind, I would vouch for it.
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Re: Cheapest Way to get to HSNCT from Really Far Away?

Post by centralhs » Thu Apr 29, 2010 7:59 am

I'm amazed that a school would be able to take a bus all the way from Alabama to Chicago without having to pay anything. If my team got a bus, we would have to pay for everything out of pocket -- including the bus itself, gas and the driver's meals and hotel room. When I wanted to take our team by school bus to the Georgia Varsity State tournament in March, the price that we would have had to pay just to go to South Georgia for one night was nearly $900.

If every school could get a bus for free, there would certainly be more teams from the Southeast and other far-flung parts of the country at Nationals every year.
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Re: Cheapest Way to get to HSNCT from Really Far Away?

Post by quizbowllee » Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:27 am

I should clarify what I meant by "free." I meant "free for the kids." We do have to pay for some things from our activity fund. But, compared to air travel or charter bus (both of which we have done in the past), taking the school bus is cheap enough that we don't have to have the students contribute huge amounts of money. When we flew, for example, we had each student contribute $150.

We do pay for the bus driver's hotel room. I'm pretty sure that, in years past, the county picked up the bill for the fuel, though. Also, our bus driver volunteered, so we didn't have to pay her. However, the county said this year that she couldn't do that anymore. I'm also thinking that we'll be paying for fuel this year, too, due to proration.

However, we certainly don't pay anywhere near $900 to travel anywhere in-state. I figure that somewhere around $1,000 or so will cover our trip to Chicago via bus.
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Re: Cheapest Way to get to HSNCT from Really Far Away?

Post by centralhs » Thu Apr 29, 2010 11:45 am

Well, to travel from Lawrenceville, GA to Hinesville, GA is about 550 miles round trip. So using the price that Matt Dennis from DAR quoted of .90 per mile (our cost was something similar), that would have come to a total of like $490. And that's not even counting the gas, bus driver hotel room and meals that we would have had to pay for. I would love to find a driver willing to do all that for free, but haven't been lucky enough to find that person yet!
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Re: Cheapest Way to get to HSNCT from Really Far Away?

Post by New York Undercover » Thu Apr 29, 2010 11:52 am

How feasible is it to learn to drive a bus? I know that the coach at a nearby middle school of mine would always drive kids to math contests, and I'm sure that would significantly reduce costs.

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Re: Cheapest Way to get to HSNCT from Really Far Away?

Post by Matt Weiner » Thu Apr 29, 2010 11:58 am

myamphigory wrote:Also, I'm guessing "totally sweet road trip in someone's car" is not a possibility.
But in case it is, I'll note that I've driven from Richmond to Chicago and back three times, with 2.5 of those trips taking the route through Washington. The DC-to-Chicago portion of the trip takes about 14 hours in realistic time (that's accounting for traffic, meal breaks, etc) and at a roundtrip gas cost of $125 for a Civic or $360 for the most inefficient SUV out there, the price can't be beat when divided among all the participants.

If you can leave right after school on Thursday and make it to Pittsburgh or Cleveland, then complete the drive on Friday, you'll be less stressed and more rested on Friday night than if you do it all at once, and likewise for splitting it up the return onto Sunday evening and Memorial Day.

If you have a coach or parent willing to drive this, it's by far the most cost-effective option for the intercity travel itself, and having a car will also prevent you from paying inflated prices for food in airports or in the HSNCT hotel.
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Re: Cheapest Way to get to HSNCT from Really Far Away?

Post by quizbowllee » Thu Apr 29, 2010 11:59 am

New York Undercover wrote:How feasible is it to learn to drive a bus? I know that the coach at a nearby middle school of mine would always drive kids to math contests, and I'm sure that would significantly reduce costs.
We're actually SUPPOSED to be required to be certified to drive a bus. But, I know myself enough to know that I don't need to be behind the wheel of a bus. I can barely park my pickup truck correctly. I told them I really didn't feel comfortable driving something that big, and they didn't make me.

When Debby Head (our driver, surrogate "momma" and one of the coolest people on Earth) retires some day, I will probably have to bite the bullet and get my bus certification. Hopefully that will be many, many years from now.

For the record, Debby says that it's ridiculous that I don't get paid a stipend for all the hard work I do coaching the team and therefore, she wouldn't take any money for driving them. She's really freaking awesome.
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Re: Cheapest Way to get to HSNCT from Really Far Away?

Post by Matthew D » Thu Apr 29, 2010 2:57 pm

Getting your bus certification isn't really that bad.. I am working on getting mine done now.
You have to take the CDL test with the bus endorsement then you have a week long class, and finally the road test. I had mine way back when but let the dang thing lapse and now I am at it again.
Cathy you are correct about the cost, I have got my driver to volunteer (he is our local youth pastor and his son will be on the HS team soon) but I am paying for his hotel room and his son is going with us also.. but we sat down and looked at that verse flying and decided it was a better route because we can bring coolers, drinks, cots, and other comfort items that we can't do if we fly.. so her we come 11 hour road trip :smile:
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Re: Cheapest Way to get to HSNCT from Really Far Away?

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Thu Apr 29, 2010 3:04 pm

If anyone would find themselves overnighting in Pittsburgh, I can certainly recommend hotels or something; if your team's in bad financial help I could try to get my parents to let you crash in their house. I don't imagine they'd particularly mind as there's rarely much going on (though you'll have to stomach Pens fans in the middle of the playoffs).
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Re: Cheapest Way to get to HSNCT from Really Far Away?

Post by mastaloo » Thu Apr 29, 2010 4:25 pm

Crazy Andy Watkins wrote: (though you'll have to stomach Pens fans in the middle of the playoffs).
That would be an awfully rough night if the Flyers and Pens meet in the next round.
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Re: Cheapest Way to get to HSNCT from Really Far Away?

Post by Dresden_The_BIG_JERK » Fri Apr 30, 2010 1:32 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:
myamphigory wrote:Also, I'm guessing "totally sweet road trip in someone's car" is not a possibility.
But in case it is, I'll note that I've driven from Richmond to Chicago and back three times, with 2.5 of those trips taking the route through Washington. The DC-to-Chicago portion of the trip takes about 14 hours in realistic time (that's accounting for traffic, meal breaks, etc) and at a roundtrip gas cost of $125 for a Civic or $360 for the most inefficient SUV out there, the price can't be beat when divided among all the participants.

If you can leave right after school on Thursday and make it to Pittsburgh or Cleveland, then complete the drive on Friday, you'll be less stressed and more rested on Friday night than if you do it all at once, and likewise for splitting it up the return onto Sunday evening and Memorial Day.

If you have a coach or parent willing to drive this, it's by far the most cost-effective option for the intercity travel itself, and having a car will also prevent you from paying inflated prices for food in airports or in the HSNCT hotel.
Yeah, got to go with this as far as options go. Nothing beats a good road trip for cost, and the camaraderie and practice time is usually great too.
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Re: Cheapest Way to get to HSNCT from Really Far Away?

Post by Quantum Mushroom Billiard Hat » Fri Apr 30, 2010 3:11 pm

Based on our trip to College Park for ACF Nats, the drive from Maryland to Ann Arbor isn't bad at all. The route you would take to get to Chicago is mostly the same, and I think it would be hard to get lost before Chicago even for a tired driver. There are a rather large number of tolls on the route though (probably at over $30 in each direction between turnpikes in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana plus the booths in Chicago), which you should prepare for if your budget is really tight.
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Re: Cheapest Way to get to HSNCT from Really Far Away?

Post by wexs883198215 » Mon May 03, 2010 1:05 pm

Heh as much as I love my teammates, I don't think the awesome car trip is an option. My coach would resign first or something. I don't think we'd get a bus either. I guess it's $250 each for 2-way plane tickets, which is doable I suppose. Savings of less than $100 are not worth doubling the travel time or something.
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Re: Cheapest Way to get to HSNCT from Really Far Away?

Post by Dan-Don » Tue May 04, 2010 11:04 pm

Last year we had to get from Chicagoland to DC for NSC and the most economical thing turned out to be just renting a minivan. The drive is surprisingly bearable, especially when you get along with your teammates and the coach that brings you.
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