Case competitions are designed to showcase students’ analytical and problem-solving skills, with cash prizes (and bragging rights, of course) on the line. Students receive months of training before hitting the competition circuit; failure to plan ahead would indeed be a disaster.
Well, we think planning trips for your team to these events is a complex case study in and of itself, and you shouldn’t be going into it blind, either. This post will help you bone up on the ins and outs of group travel planning, so you can get 1st place for raddest case competition trip ever! (Cash prize not included.)
Booking Group Bus Transportation
The type of bus you choose will depend on a few factors; namely the size of your group, the distance of the trip, and which amenities are required to get your team to their destination relaxed, prepared, and ready to win!
If you have a larger group, and your destination is not too far away (we recommend no more than 3 hours), why not kick it old school with everyone’s favourite big yellow bus. Students can hunker down with their knees on the back of the seat in front of them to review their notes, or drop the windows down for some fresh air and sightseeing. Keep in mind that school buses don’t often have storage bays, so you might have to set aside some seats for luggage.
For smaller groups (fewer than 15 or so) who are not headed too far, you might be tempted to rely on ride shares or let group members organize their own travel arrangements. But why not book a minibus instead? Similar in build to the school bus, it is a great budget-friendly way to get a smaller group to the competition safely, on time, and full of team spirit!
For larger groups travelling to destinations more than 3-5 hours away, we recommend booking a coach bus. The coach has come a long way from the tacky-upholstery, no-leg-room days of yore. With reclining leather seats, WiFi, power outlets, air conditioning, an entertainment system, plenty of undercarriage storage space, as well as an on-board restroom, coach buses are the pinnacle of comfort. And with their super-sleek look, you’ll deboard looking like the business bosses you are!
The mini coach bus is just as sleek and comfortable as the full-size coach, seats up to 32 passengers, and is perfect for medium-size groups. It offers the same amenities as the coach, with the exception of a restroom, so be sure to plan ahead for rest stops along the way!
Here’s a pro-tip: while the school bus and minibus are the most budget-friendly options, it actually doesn’t cost that much more to rent a coach or a mini coach, as the bulk of the price goes toward paying for the driver’s time. So you can travel in the lap of luxury without breaking the bank! And with Bus.com’s Book Now, Pay Later option, you don’t have to pay a penny until 21 days before departure.
Financing Your Bus Rentals
Whether you choose to raise funds in advance to pay for your rental, or simply sell individual seat tickets, depends entirely on your group’s wants and needs. Fundraising goes hand-in-hand with extracurricular activities, and so the options are limitless, but they do require additional planning on your part, and it may cost group members a few precious Saturdays (or else valuable competition training time). The upside is that it can be fun, and it’s a great way to build team spirit in the lead-up to your big win!
Hosting events like a pizza night, walk-a-thon (or dance-a-thon, or bowl-a-thon, etc.) or bake sale can not only bring in cash, it can also drum up interest in case competitions as a side effect!
Also, businesses are often willing to donate to student groups in exchange for exposure, so hit up some off-campus hot spots and either host an auction, or sell raffle tickets!
If you’re looking for a more turnkey approach to fundraising, consider selling fundraising products like cookies or chocolate.. To give you an idea of how easy it is, for a group of 15 traveling three hours, each person would have to sell only five boxes of cookie doughs to pay for a minibus.
AirBnB rentals have sprung up by the thousands in every city in recent years, offering travellers competitive prices and a wide range of amenities. Whether your group is looking for a boutique-hotel-like experience, or would rather live like the locals and stay in someone’s home, there are plenty of options out there for you. However, this option is best for smaller close-knit groups who are into sharing space — and are okay with sharing a bathroom.
If privacy is a sought-after commodity amongst your students, a hotel may be a more suitable option. Many hotels offer group rates, and will allow you to reserve a block of rooms, so your group can still be together — without being too together. Keep in mind, however, that once your team takes home the trophy, some, uh, light revelry may ensue, so you might want to stick to hotels with a relatively lenient rowdiness policy. Some hotel chains regularly accommodate larger groups (such as student groups and sports teams), and are more permissive of its guests showing off some good ol’ fashioned school spirit.
See the Sights with Your Bus Rental
You’ve planned and prepped for months, and your team is ready to kill it: now let’s have some fun! Case competitions present a wonderful opportunity to explore your host city and create lasting memories. Whether you’re headed to the sunny South or the great white North, there’s no shortage of things to do and see!
Los Angeles: Sun, sand, surf – and celebrities! L.A.’s got something for everybody. Charter a bus to Beverly Hills where you can window shop designer duds alongside the rich and famous. If celebs aren’t your thing, head on over to Venice Beach and rent bikes, scooters, or, if you’re brave, a surf board! Commune with nature with a hike up to the Hollywood Sign, then end the day with a sunset turn on the solar-powered ferris wheel at the Santa Monica Pier.
Montreal: The Old Port is packed with things to do and see: you can indulge your inner nerd at the Science Center, or your inner swashbuckler with a pirate ship obstacle course! Speaking of adventure, La Ronde, Montreal’s world-class theme park, is just a hop and a skip away, and is open from May through to Halloween. The Botanical Gardens are a sight to behold, and include a view of the legendary Olympic Stadium. In the winter, you can take advantage of the city’s abundant snowfall and icy temperatures to toboggan down iconic Mount Royal or ice skate on Beaver Lake. It’s an all-season island experience!
New York City: The Big Apple is a city for all budgets. With a little money to spend, you could take in a game of one of the city’s more than two dozen professional sports teams, score tickets to a Broadway play, or enjoy cocktails with ingredients you’ve never heard of at some of the world’s trendiest bars. But there’s also plenty to do for the more budget-conscious groups, such as walking the Brooklyn Bridge or the magnificent High Line in Manhattan. While away an afternoon at the MoMA, or go thrifting in Brooklyn. Central Park is full of colours in the fall and perfect for a picnic, and a winter trip to New York wouldn’t be complete without a turn on the famous skating rink at Rockefeller Center.
San Fransisco: A mix of vibrant culture and laid-back NoCal vibes, we’d say the real San Francisco treat is, well, the city itself! See Alcatraz from the Golden Gate Bridge, then hop on a ferry and see the Golden Gate Bridge from Alcatraz! Fisherman’s Wharf is the place to go if you’re looking for wildlife: there’s not only an aquarium, but you can also catch sea lions basking on the docks in the afternoon sun. Immerse yourself in Chinese culture in the oldest Chinatown in America (don’t forget to snap a picture at the Dragon’s Gate!), or enjoy coffee, cocktails, and vintage shopping in the trendy Mission District.
Toronto: Test the limits of your fearlessness with the Edge Walk, an outdoor tour of the CN Tower 147 floors above ground, or peer down at the city below while standing on the famous glass floor. Sports fans can pay tribute to their heroes at the Hockey Hall of Fame, or root, root, root for the home team at a Blue Jays game. Those with a penchant for arts and culture will undoubtedly love the distillery district, former derelict industrial buildings turned trendy artist haven, teeming with galleries, theaters, shops, cafes, and restaurants. Finally, let your inner bohemian out to play amongst the street performers, murals, craft breweries, and quirky eateries and shops at the legendary Kensington Market.