How-To Guide to Renting a Minibus

Coordinating transportation for 20 people can quickly become tricky. Figuring out gas money, driver availability, and schedule are already enough to give anyone a headache. A more practical way to sort out your group travel plans is to rent a minibus.

Minibus rentals have emerged as increasingly popular alternatives for group transportation by offering travellers a cost-effective and compact travel option. Though not quite as big as a school bus or a coach bus, these vehicles are ideal for moving up to 21 passengers at a time. With their smaller build, minibuses keep your trip streamlined and organized. Rather than involving five or six cars (which may have a hard time following one another on the road), a minibus rental can transport your entire group in just one vehicle. That way, you can be sure that everyone gets to destination safely and at the same time.

Plus, minibuses come equipped with an experienced driver, so you don’t have to worry about navigating crowded areas and unknown roads, or even filling up your gas tank along the way. But what exactly is included in a minibus rental and what type of trips can they be used for? Let’s take a deeper look into this vehicle’s amenities and how groups use minibus rentals for all their transportation needs.

Amenities 

Not only do they help reduce the hassle of trip planning (and all the trouble associated with carpool organization!), minibus rentals are also designed to keep costs low. The vehicle’s minimal amenities is what mainly separates it from other types of buses, while making it a more budget-friendly option.

Though more ideal for travelling shorter distances, minibuses still remain a comfortable option for group transportation with all the possible amenities that can be offered. On top of coming with a vetted driver to ensure that your trip goes smoothly, standard minibus rentals also have vehicle-wide air conditioning. In addition, WiFi, power outlets, and DVD configuration are all optional amenities that can be added depending on the model of the vehicle. Despite the limited storage available on minibuses, with a little creativity some seating can be repurposed to store all your personal belongings and baggage. Just keep in mind that that means that there’ll be less seating space for travellers!

However, if more dedicated storage space is what your group requires, then renting a mini coach bus would be a preferable option. The latter has standard overhead and undercarriage storage, while also being equipped with AC, DVD/TV equipment, power outlets, and WiFi connectivity. As for any group larger than 21 people, we typically recommend a full-sized coach bus as it offers the same amenities (plus onboard restrooms for those longer trips!), but at a larger capacity.

Types of Minibuses

Ford E450

minibus charter rental ford e450

As one of the most common popular of minibuses, the Ford E450 offers many of the same comforts as other charter bus rentals, but in a more compact format. This vehicle can transport up to 24 riders, and boasts modern amenities such as air conditioning and heating, sufficient luggage space, and high reclining seats — making it a comfortable option for short trips under three hours. If your group is looking for additional amenities or will be travelling longer distances, consult our quick guide on choosing a bus type to find the right vehicle for your trip.

In addition, every minibus rental is chauffeured by its own vetted driver as special licensing is required to get behind the wheels of a minibus. So, not only can you save everyone from having to drive, you can also save yourself some stress knowing that you’re in safe and able hands! However, if you wish to drive your group to destination yourself, passenger van rentals can be rented without a driver depending on your jurisdiction.

Use Cases: When to Rent a Minibus

Minibuses are versatile and can be used for many different trip types, be it field trips, weddings, or shuttle services. Today, minibus rentals have evolved into a popular alternative to ridesharing or carpooling, getting people where they need to be safely. Here are some of their most common uses:

Field Trips

Field trips require constant supervision from chaperones as they have to keep a watchful eye on multiple people at once. By maintaining their entire group together while en route to destination with a minibus rental, chaperones and teachers alike will have an easier time monitoring children. Plus, when driving and parking are taken care of for you, you’ll have more time to focus on keeping the kids entertained. That’s why, compared to other traveling methods such as public transportation and cars, minibuses provide a much more accommodating solution. Note that when travelling with minors, it is extremely important to get permission slips and an accurate headcount since it is illegal to transport more than the group’s capacity.

Children on a minibus rental during a field trip

Weddings 

Planning transportation for a wedding can be challenging, especially if there are extra pit stops along the way — whether it’s for a quick photoshoot with your wedding party or to pick up guests before your ceremony. Pro tip: Account for these stops by factoring them into your overall drive time. That way, you’ll be sure to have a bit of leeway and flexibility, while still getting to your venue on schedule!

Minibus rentals for weddings have grown increasingly popular over the years. Part of the reason is that they can add a bit of flair to your ceremony by being customized to fit your chosen theme. Plus, group transportation should be the least of your worries on your Special Day! The biggest advantage is that you and your guests will be able to soundly enjoy the night away. By setting up a minibus rental for your wedding, none of your guests will need to assume the role of designated driver. Instead, an experienced and dedicated bus driver will be there to pick your group up from the ceremony to the reception and back again, making sure everyone has a secure way of getting around. This makes for a much safer option, especially if there happens to be an open bar available.

wedding guests cheering after getting to wedding venue onboard a minibus rental

Corporate Events 

Corporate event planning is a full-time job in its own right. Whether you are planning a team building getaway or a holiday party, minibus rentals make for an excellent transit option when it comes to group travel. Small teams of employees will be able to enjoy their time together away from the office without worrying about how to get to destination in the first place — transportation will be taken care of for them! Simply set up a convenient pickup location and a vetted driver will be there to greet your team. Pro tip: Wrap your minibus with your corporation’s logo for a more personalized rental.

colleagues gathered by minibus rental at a corporate event

Student Groups 

College tours, job fairs, inter-school tournaments, mixers, and case competitions; these are all reasons why student groups turn to minibus rentals for group transportation. Student event planning can be just as difficult and intricate as organizing tours and corporate events, with transportation playing an important part. Minibus rentals are great travel solutions for smaller groups of students that need to stay within a strict budget.

Minibuses are best suited for small trips and help keep the group together. Despite the shorter travel time, being all together on a minibus is an excellent occasion for students to socialize, get to know each other, and boost school spirit while they head to their destination. Plus, minibus rentals can be accommodated for special requirements, including wheelchair accessibility and extra storage, which makes for a more convenient means of transportation for students.

students exploring after getting off a a minibus

Summer Camps 

Summer camps are among the best ways for children to socialize and make lifelong bonds. When growing up, there is nothing quite like the ride to a summer camp activity surrounded by all your friends in a packed bus: unforgettable moments, echoing laughter, budding friendships, and an overall great time. As a safe travel solution that can transport up to 21 children, minibus rentals are a great way to keep a group of energetic kids together on camp outings and create fun memories for years to come.

children playing at summer camp after getting off a minibus

Tour Groups 

Professional tour operators have a ton of their plates when it comes to organizing trips for their groups. Between planning multi-stop itineraries and making sure the tour goes smoothly, securing group transportation is of the utmost importance. Minibuses are a great option for those shorter, intra-city tours that allows people to discover new places. Keeping convenience and efficiency in mind, tour guides can build their own personalized route based on the group’s interests to shuttle visitors between landmarks and tour sites.

tourists exploring a new city after getting off their minibus rental

Government Groups

Government groups need a reliable, yet understated method of transportation when travelling to events and political functions. They often require very specific accommodations with set itineraries. Minibus rentals represent a great cost-efficient option to transport government officials, ensuring they get from point A to B and back again in a functional travel solution.

With more modest features and amenities, a minibus is a convenient option that offers safe transportation for politicians looking to remain low key. Plus, this type of vehicle can be customized to accommodate special requests that government representatives may have.

government representatives discussing after traveling on a minibus

Frequently Asked Questions

We hope we answered all of your questions, but in case we didn't, here are some frequently asked questions that will streamline your minibus rental experience and ensure you don’t encounter any surprises along the way.

Is there a lot of storage on a minibus?

The minibus was designed to keep costs low and with efficiency in mind. As a result, storage is limited on a minibus, but as mentioned earlier, seating at the front or back of the vehicle can always be used to store your baggage. If your group will be travelling with lots of luggages and personal equipment, you might want to consider upgrading to a bus with more storage, including the mini-coach bus. The latter vehicle comes equipped with overhead and underhead carriage compartments and can accommodate anything your group might want to bring along.

Are minibuses comfortable?

Minibuses have established themselves as one of the most compact, yet comfortable methods of transportation for travelling shorter distances. These vehicles were purposefully built with convenience in mind and come equipped with large, cushioned bench seats to ensure your group gets to where it needs to be comfortably and reliably. Minibus rentals are spacious and come with ample legroom and are a great way to keep your group together. Deciding on amenities is one of the most important steps when renting a bus. If your group is looking for more comforts, the mini-coach charter bus designed with top-of-the-line seating, or even the full-sized deluxe coach with onboard restrooms, could be the right choice.

When should I rent a minibus?

As is the case with every bus rental, Bus.com recommends the earlier you can book your minibus the better. This will ensure availability on your dates and help you find the best rate possible. We recommend that you rent your minibus between six and nine months in advance, especially if you are planning on travelling during peak season. Our award-winning customer service team can even help with last-minute bookings, however, the closer you get to your departure date, the harder it will likely be to secure your vehicle. Getting an accurate headcount and agreeing on desired amenities is typically a good place to start when planning a trip before securing the financing from your group. You can always use our Book Now, Pay Later option to reserve your quoted price but defer the final payment up to 21 days before your trip.

What are the benefits of renting a minibus?

The minibus comes equipped with the bare essentials of bus rentals and is completely streamlined, forgoing unnecessary features and offering travellers a cost-effective and convenient bus rental. Minibus rentals are ideal for transporting groups of 20 people over shorter distances, ensuring the entire group stays together. These vehicles are extremely compact and are easier to maneuver and park in crowded spaces compared to larger buses.

Can you rent a minibus without a driver?

Bus.com only offers minibus rentals with drivers as a special driver’s license is required to drive this vehicle. Our team of fully-vetted and experienced drivers will ensure your group makes it to their destination safely and on time. If you would like to rent a vehicle and drive it yourself, we offer Sprinter Vans without a driver.

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