Lessons Learned
Home Log of Events Gallery Related Info Eagle's Nest


We had teams of adults researching all aspects of this trip a full year before we went.  We made lists, crossed things off, made new lists, compared notes.  We checked and re-checked everything we could think of.

Here are some notes of our own...

bullet

Consider getting a better bus. We used a local school bus company for our trip to/fro NYC, which was a 4-5 hour drive.  With all the stuff we had, it made a cramped and sweaty drive.  Maybe we got spoiled while in Europe, but coming home to finish the trip this way was a little uncomfortable.  It's easy to say this in retrospect though.  At the time we made the decision, we were very cost conscious.

bullet

Break into small groups of five or six whenever possible. It's much easier to get around that way.  We found it almost impossible to coordinate a group of 20+ people.  You can never go faster than the slowest person, and having a large group prevents random explorations. Realize that not everyone may want to do the same thing and be willing to subdivide.

bullet

An youth / adult ratio of 2:1 works great. If the kids are on the mature side of things, you can even get away with 3:1 or 4:1, depending on the comfort level of the adult in charge.

bullet

Have a common uniform for travel. It can be as simple as everybody wearing the exact same t-shirt, but it will make a huge difference in being able to work through airports and the like.  Don't allow exceptions, and don't have kids hide their shirt under sweats or jackets.  The point is to look alike, on purpose, and be visible from a distance.

bullet

Be flexible and willing to change your plans to accommodate.  This is critical.  Do your homework, have a plan, but don't feel obliged to stick to it.  Allow for some serendipity.

bullet

Do accounting every day. It is too easy to forget things. Have a single person be responsible for gathering receipts, annotating them, and writing down in a ledger every day.

bullet

Ask before you taste. Or don't, if you're comfortable with culinary surprises.
You get the idea.

bullet

Create a comprehensive list of stuff to pack, and have public bag-check night. For us, two weeks prior to the trip we had a full evening dedicated to physically opening each bit of luggage to check for everything from socks to deoderant.

bullet

At least one person should be reachable by phone and everyone should have that number.

bullet

Put an obvious marker on every piece of luggage.  We chose to use bright red yarn wrapped several times around every handle.  When picking up the luggage in Germany, the boys just pulled off every thing that went by with that marker.  Easy peasy.

bullet

Agree when and where to meet before breaking up. It sounds simple, but in the excitement, it's easy for this little detail to get overlooked.

bulletMake conversion charts and keep them available.  The questions that constantly come up involve trying to convert metric into English units that we're more familiar with, or to convert money, or even to figure out what time it is back home.  At the bottom of this page are ones we used, based on the conversion rate of approximately 1.40 / $1.00.
bulletLearn the units.  This goes with the one above, and is what we should have done in addition to making the boys learn some German.  They should be able to do rough conversions between kilometers and miles, etc.
bulletBe prepared for air and car sickness.  This one was a surprise for us.  We learned the hard way that one of our guys was extremely susceptible to motion sickness.  The kid puked for 6-7 hours on the flight over.  We medicated him for the return leg.  :-)  Carry sickness bags and Dramamine.
bulletGet the Euros before you go.  AAA has a great program for bulk conversion of money with no exchange fees.  This is a lot more efficient than trying to convert the cash at airports.  It just takes a little coordination, and plan to do this at least a month before you travel.
bulletKnow each other before you travel.  We made it a requirement that anybody going on the trip had to have gone on a minimum of 3 overnight trips with the troop.  All the kids knew the adults and their management style.  All the adults knew all the kids by name, and what the general culture of the troop was.  No surprises.
bulletGet every adult registered and trained.  We required that each adult going on the trip become a registered scout leader, and that they take the required youth protection training.
bulletConsider Iceland Air.  They ended up being the cheapest way to get to Europe... by a long shot!
bulletLearn to "count off".  For boy scouts, you probably already know the drill, but for others, it's an easy skill to master. Make sure the boys can do it quickly and without joking around.
bulletNo cell phones - no electronic toys.  We allowed the boys to have these only during the long bus ride to/fro NYC and the plane rides over, and even then only if they passed a proficiency test in German.  Once we landed in Munich, we confiscated them all and put them in a lock box.  Any you know what?  They survived! Not only that, but they talked with one another, played games, and looked out the window.  We can not over-stress the importance of this decision.

Our thoughts and experiences with fundraising are covered on a separate page.

 

Time   Money   Distance   Temperature
NY Ireland   Dollars Euros   Euros Dollars   Miles Km   Km Miles   Deg F Deg C
7:00 PM Midnight   $1.00 0.71   1.00 $1.40   1 1.6   1 0.6   30 -1.1
8:00 PM 1:00 AM   $2.00 1.43   2.00 $2.80   2 3.2   2 1.2   35 1.7
9:00 PM 2:00 AM   $5.00 3.57   5.00 $7.00   5 8.0   5 3.1   40 4.4
10:00 PM 3:00 AM   $10.00 7.14   10.00 $14.00   10 16.1   10 6.2   45 7.2
11:00 PM 4:00 AM   $15.00 10.71   15.00 $21.00   15 24.1   15 9.3   50 10.0
Midnight 5:00 AM   $20.00 14.29   20.00 $28.00   20 32.2   20 12.4   55 12.8
1:00 AM 6:00 AM   $25.00 17.86   25.00 $35.00   25 40.2   25 15.5   60 15.6
2:00 AM 7:00 AM   $30.00 21.43   30.00 $42.00   30 48.3   30 18.6   65 18.3
3:00 AM 8:00 AM   $40.00 28.57   40.00 $56.00   40 64.4   40 24.9   70 21.1
4:00 AM 9:00 AM   $50.00 35.71   50.00 $70.00   50 80.5   50 31.1   75 23.9
5:00 AM 10:00 AM   $60.00 42.86   60.00 $84.00   60 96.6   60 37.3   80 26.7
6:00 AM 11:00 AM   $70.00 50.00   70.00 $98.00   70 112.7   70 43.5   85 29.4
7:00 AM 12:00 PM   $80.00 57.14   80.00 $112.00   80 128.7   80 49.7   90 32.2
8:00 AM 1:00 PM   $90.00 64.29   90.00 $126.00   90 144.8   90 55.9      
9:00 AM 2:00 PM   $100.00 71.43   100.00 $140.00   100 160.9   100 62.1      
10:00 AM 3:00 PM                              
11:00 AM 4:00 PM   Weight   Liquid      
12:00 PM 5:00 PM   Pounds Kg   Kg Pounds   Ounces mL   mL Ounces      
1:00 PM 6:00 PM   1 0.5   1 2.2   1 29.6   10 0.3      
2:00 PM 7:00 PM   2 0.9   2 4.4   4 118.3   50 1.7      
3:00 PM 8:00 PM   5 2.3   5 11.0   8 236.6   100 3.4      
4:00 PM 9:00 PM   10 4.5   10 22.0   16 473.2   200 6.8      
5:00 PM 10:00 PM   15 6.8   15 33.1   32 946.4   500 16.9      
6:00 PM 11:00 PM   20 9.1   20 44.1                  
      25 11.3   25 55.1   Gallons Liters   Liters Gallons      
      30 13.6   30 66.1   1 3.8   1 0.3      
      40 18.1   40 88.2   2 7.6   2 0.5      
      50 22.7   50 110.2   3 11.4   3 0.8      
      60 27.2   60 132.3   4 15.1   4 1.1      
      70 31.8   70 154.3   5 18.9   5 1.3      
      80 36.3   80 176.4                  
      90 40.8   90 198.4                  
      100 45.4   100 220.5                  

 

Main Page * Maps * Movie & MWP * Learning German * Fundraising * Souvenirs * Webmaster Notes
Lessons Learned * Thanks! * Munich * Zurich * Salzburg * Innsbruck * Mittenwald * Italy * Iceland
Liechtenstein * Dachau * Castles * Hofbrauhaus * Eagle's Nest * Oktoberfest * Kean's Lodge
Campfire * Cooking * Ping Pong * Tenting * Zugspitze Glacier * Zugspitze Summit
BMW Museum * Churches * Cars * Smiles * Frowns * Food * Folks * Travelling * Personal Logs