Now that you have won the lottery and have your travel options laid out in front of you - what will you choose?? There are many difficulties about setting this trip up on your own…from cost to safety to reliability. Let’s break down each option and look into their pros and cons.
Option #1: You can rent vehicles and camp on your way to Philmont. This sounds cheap and easy, but it isn’t. Remember a trip to Philmont is far more complicated than your normal Troop outing! It is hard to find rental vans and you can’t fit 12 people plus gear into one van. For a single crew, you have to get two vans and they are expensive! Then most advisors are surprised to find out that you have to get added insurance; your standard rental car insurance method will not work with a rental van. When it comes to camping en route, you will spend a lot of time setting up and breaking down your campsites and that will leave little time for sightseeing. You will be unnecessarily tired and also have to deal with unpredictable weather. This will make it very tough for you to safely enjoy any pre-Philmont activities. And don’t forget that fatigued driving is the number one cause of fatalities in Scouting. Don’t risk it!
Option #2: You can rent vehicles and stay at motels. Again, renting vans is a formidable issue. Most people who go this route will steer toward the cheaper motels to save money. Trust us, this can land you in an unsafe neighborhood and a motel that is not Scout appropriate. Even if you find a good place to stay, it is unlikely your rooms will be together and the rooms may have an exterior door which poses safety and supervision issues. Plus scouts need a hearty breakfast and most hotel breakfasts aren’t sufficient for famished teenagers.
Option #3: You can rent vehicles and go straight to Philmont. Again, renting vehicles is really tough. You must also get permission from Philmont to arrive a night early and you must pay them for tent space and meals. Increasingly, they do not have space in base camp. In fact, some crews end up camping in a muddy field near the parking lot. That is no way to start your adventure!
Option #4: You can hire a transportation company and go straight to Philmont from the airport. This is the least expensive option, but not much fun and it leaves very little time for getting acclimated and finishing all the administrative things you need to do in Base Camp. The problem with hiring a random transportation company is that it’s hard to determine which companies are reputable and this often changes from one year to the next. Additionally, you will have to consider the added cost for tent space and meals at Philmont.
The above is a lot to consider, but safety and reliability are the key things to focus on when planning your trip. Come back next week where we will show you why it is in your best interest to pick a reputable tour company, like us! Remember, we have an option for every budget!
Yours in Scouting,
The Blue Sky Adventures Team