Tip #3: Eat well.
Iâ€™m not saying be extravagant on this, but make sure you provide at least one good meal a day. It doesnâ€™t matter if you cook it yourself or have it catered, but having one really good meal, like dinner, all together can make all the difference in the world. On our Utah trip we had dinner together each night and it was catered by the hotel. After a long day on the slopes people were able to come back to a nice room, sit down with eight or so other people, and have a sit-down catered meal. For college-age people this is a great thing and it doesnâ€™t cost much moreâ€”especially if youâ€™re already staying in the hotel. Believe me, itâ€™s worth the extra $2-3 a meal. On this trip we provided a sort of continental breakfast for everyone (Iâ€™ll include some details on that in another post) and they were on their own for lunch. Logistically this worked better since everyone was scattered around the ski lodge over the course of the day. Providing the two meals a day, verses three, also helped keep the overall cost down (see tip #2, above).
Tip #4: Stay at a decent place.
Donâ€™t go for the cheapest hotel in the area. Again, Iâ€™m not suggesting a five star hotel, but it should be a nice place. You can always negotiate with the hotel sales people on prices and, of course, the more people you bring the more you can talk them down. Plus, when you put four people into a room, the price per person isnâ€™t that muchâ€”especially with a group discount. A tip: if youâ€™re staying at a hotel make sure you put a place on the registration forms for students to put a roommate request. They will likely be sharing a bed with someone so make sure they can have at least one person they know well in their room. For those who may feel uncomfortable about sharing a room with others (especially for guys), a staying in a nicer hotel helps them see past that. Some things you want to look for in a hotel are:
â€¢ A room to meet inâ€”and possibly other rooms to utilize for night options. Â These are usually offered at reduced prices if you are staying in the hotel. Â Make sure you talk with the marketing/sales department people! Â They will be able to give you the best deals.
â€¢ A nice lobby, conducive for hanging out.
â€¢ A hotel staff that doesnâ€™t mind if people are playing board games until midnight, or later.
â€¢Â A place with a pool or hot tub. For winter retreats having an indoor hot tub is great. Of course encouraging modesty is beneficial, but this is a very big attraction. Plus, we even used the hot tub for a baptismal at times.
â€¢ A good location. The closer you stay to things like a mall, movie theater, or restaurants the better. It at least should have a bus stop nearby so people can get around on their own. For trips like our winter retreat where some people donâ€™t purchase lift tickets (see Tip# 2 above) there should be things for them to do. So, location is key.
Lastly, if you have the opportunity to stay in a nice house or cabin this can be a great option as well. Having everyone in one location for everything is great, and this of course can help keep costs down. But with everyone altogether, itâ€™s even more important to make sure it is nice, comfortable, and has what everyone needs.