Getting to Savannah might seem like a no brainer until you realize that Savannah is in Georgia and you live in Califorinia or Iowa or New York. So what is the best option to getting to Savannah. Well that depends on where you live.
While we were in Savannah, we met a group from Maryland. They drove 10 hours to visit Savannah. I think that would probably be my limit on how long I can ride with a troop in a car (I know that’s my limit riding with my family!). I also heard about a troop that traveled from Texas to Savannah (talk about dedicated!). They turned it into a week long trip with stops in Florida/Alabama on the way. I believe they spent 4 days in Savannah.
When you drive, you need to consider how many people will be going, so how many vehicles will be on the road. More than 2 cars/vans is tough to control/follow. Also you will need to budget the cost for each car to park while you are in Savannah. Our hotel charged us $10 per car per day. Others may charge more. Parking is limited in Savannah. You will also need to budget gas prices for every vehicle – that is tough to do with the rising gas prices.
Another option is to secure a tour bus. This is a great option if you have a lot of people (over 20). You can rent a smaller bus for less cost. The tour bus company will be responsible for all the permits & parking costs while in Savannah. You just get to get on the bus & ride! The cost on this can seem a little high, but the stress of not having to drive can be well worth the extra cost.
Taking the train can be a fun option also. If you are staying in the city of Savannah everything is within walking distance. If you are on the east coast, there may be a straight shot for you to get to Savannah – it wasn’t an easy shot for us this year, so we didn’t pursue it! Taking the train is a great experience for the girls. It is much easier than riding in a car – you can get up and move around, go to the bathroom whenever you need to & there is food always available!
Flying is another option. Savannah does has a small airport. All the major airlines fly into it. Many of the hotels offer courtesy transportation to and from the hotel. You can get some cheap airfares with the right airlines. Atlanta is not too far away (about 4 hours), you could rent vans to take you the last way to Savannah.
One of the things girls/adults struggle with is budgeting. As our troop travels, we have learned several things about budgeting. I’ll list some of the highlights here and then other things in upcoming posts.
- Gratuity – On our first trip, we failed to include tips/gratuity when we calculated our budget. Tips/gratuity are usually required for groups over 8. They can range from 15 – 20% of your total bill. They also are not limited to restaurants. Our dolphin tour & carriage tour also added gratuity onto our total bill.
- Patches – We bought 11 patches on our trip to Savannah. We had budgeted for 10 patches. The cost difference from the girls trip & the adults trip was $25 – the cost of the patches. Girls love to show off the places they have been with patches on their vests. We did so many things in Savannah – we knew they would want a patch for every place we visited & everything that we did.
- Food – If the menu was a la carte, we calculated the higher price item for everyone. That way we were covered with the adult who wanted to order the $25 Fisherman’s platter and the girls who ordered the $8 pizza. Plus then we had “bonus” money in the budget for the unexpected patch purchases!
I still haven’t had a chance to review the budget from our trip to see how close we came. On our original budget – we did not budget any money to pay for gas for the cars (a small error, but we were trying to keep the trip cost low). However, we had budgeted for a trolley tour that we did not take (more on that in the fundraising post!). After deleting the trolley tour, there was enough money in the budget for gas for everyone’s car (we had 2 cars). We had also over budgeted for “snacks” for every day for everybody. We estimated snacks at $7.50 per person per day. We knew one day we would get ice cream for everyone. There was also candy shops on Riverfront! We decided to give everyone $5 at the candy shops and let them buy what they wanted! That made them very happy!
I’ll cover fundraising about the trip in another post!
More on our Savannah trip later!