“This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.” 1 John 4:9 (NIV)

Maybe some of you are like me and haven’t figured out yet how you are getting to the National Youth Gathering! We are signed up, but we are still trying to decide if we are going to fly or if we are going to drive. Many of you are within driving distance, so it’s not a big decision. But, for us who live many miles away, the decision becomes very unclear. Should we fly or should we drive? As you decide what is the best option for your group, here are a couple of my pros and cons for each, and with that information, I hope you can begin to make that decision for yourselves!
Traditionally, driving to the Gathering has been the cheapest way to get there. When I was in high school and college, we drove from the Midwest down south. If you are able to fill a large bus, it isn’t usually too bad (anywhere from $125-$200 depending on the current gas prices). The problem comes if you don’t have enough people to fill a bus. If that’s the case for you, I recommend you investigate ways you can team up with other churches in your area or even your District. (Find out who your District Coordinator is at www.lcmsgathering.com/district.)
A problem with the drive option though is the time factor. It takes a lot more time to get to your destination. It’s a definite possibility that by the time you get to San Antonio your people could be tired (especially your adults!) And, speaking of the adults, many of the adults we are taking with us need to take vacation days from work. The more time you have to take for travel, is more time you need to have people take vacation.
Obviously, a major plus in flying is the time advantage. For us, it would take about 1/3 of the time to get to San Antonio and 1/3 of the time back. That is a huge difference in time and definitely plays into the decision!
The cost of flying just totally depends on the closest city that you have around you and what kind of airlines go into San Antonio. For those of you who have to drive to the airport for a significant distance, you need to keep that in mind as well. There are deals to be had if you get in early enough. Make sure you do your research on the Internet and make sure you call the airlines to get their group rate quotes. At my last church we had some business people who wanted to donate their flights to our youth. So that year, it was an easy decision for us as every person we took flew for free! Depending upon flight times, travel to the airport and connections, you can save a great deal of time flying, but it has to be what’s right for your group.
Blessings to you as you travel the road to the Gathering!