Guide to Sports Bus Rentals

Few experiences are as memorable as traveling with your sports team to a big game. The trips there are occasions for players to bond, psyching one another up for the important match. By making sure your entire group stays together, bus rentals allow your team to spend quality time with each other ahead of game time. 

From organizing transportation to away games, or inspiration trips to professional sports teams, there’s a bus type that’s fit for your team’s travel needs. Whether sports teams are looking for a safe way to get to their one-off match or for transportation during the entire season, buses are the most cost-efficient and reliable option for group transportation. Plus, with a bus rental, you get full flexibility on your itinerary. You can craft your own routes rather than relying on ever-changing public transit schedules or parents to carpool in. 

Here is a complete guide on sports bus rentals to give you the full rundown on how to secure the right bus rental for your team. It will cover the different bus types available, what kind of trips buses can be used for, how to book your bus and a few additional tips on making the most out of your rental.

Bus Types 

There are different bus types that you can rent to fulfill various transportation needs: a school bus, a coach bus, a mini coach bus, a minibus, and a passenger van. Each vehicle comes equipped with its own amenities and features, depending on your team’s priorities. Let’s now take a look at the five most commonly rented bus types for sports teams.  

School Bus

School buses are an extremely popular rental option for sports teams, which can transport up to 47 passengers at a time. These vehicles are ideal for traveling shorter distances, making them a convenient option for nearby away games and practices. 

As one of the most affordable options, school buses come equipped with a standard set of amenities, which helps keep your team within its budget. Though storage may be limited on school bus rentals, the seats at the back or front of the vehicle can easily be set aside to store your equipment. Just keep in mind that doing so will mean fewer seats available for your players. Sports teams that require smaller equipment, such as soccer and basketball, are perfect for school bus rentals.

Pro tip: Keep in mind that it is illegal to store equipment and baggage in the aisle. 

Best for: Local trips

Coach Bus

The coach bus is the most luxurious option out of all the various bus types, as it offers a variety of amenities and comforts other vehicles may not. Coach buses are designed to transport larger groups of people over longer distances, and can comfortably accommodate up to 55 people at a time depending on the model. 

Coach buses feature vehicle-wide air conditioning, hi-speed WiFi, power outlets, and onboard bathrooms, making them a great choice for group transportation to away tournaments and inspiration trips to professional teams. Coach buses have the most storage space of all rental options, boasting large compartments in its undercarriage section. This is especially beneficial for football teams and skiers, who typically carry lots of equipment.  

Bus.com currently offers a coach bus for every trip type, including the Prevost H3-45, Van Hool, MCI, and the Prevost H3-41.

Best for: Long trips with players, coaches, and parents

Charter bus rentals for sports teams.

Mini Coach Bus

The mini coach bus comes equipped with many of the same amenities as a full-sized coach bus but in a more compact format. Due to their smaller size, this bus type is ideal for navigating crowded downtown areas — perfect for both away and at home games. Designed with fuel efficiency in mind, mini coach buses represent cost-friendly and comfortable rental options that are great for traveling both shorter and longer distances. 

This vehicle is ideal for transporting up to 31 people, offering sports teams a convenient option that falls between coach buses and school buses. Sports teams have regularly turned to mini coach bus rentals for all their transportation needs due to their significant storage space. These vehicles have both undercarriage and overhead storage, providing sports teams ample room for all their equipment.

Sports teams have the option of choosing between two different mini coach buses, including the TEMSA and the Freightliner, seating 40 and 32 passengers respectively.

Best for: Players only

Minibus

The minibus is a versatile bus rental option, which offers sports teams safe and reliable transportation for shorter trips. Minibuses can typically seat up to 21 players at a time and are built with efficiency and convenience in mind. These vehicles feature spacious, cushioned bench seats, making them a favorite for sports teams. 

Whether you are planning on attending a tailgate, or simply need transportation for your next game, minibuses are a great rental choice. The minibus comes equipped with many of the same amenities as a mini coach bus, including air conditioning, ample storage space, and a fully-vetted and experienced driver.

Pro tip: To make sure you get to your games on schedule, factor in some buffer time for stragglers and potential traffic into your schedule. 

Best for: Small teams with minimal gear

Sprinter Van

Sprinter vans are another convenient bus rental option for competitive sports teams, transporting between eight and 15 players at a time. Though very compact vehicles, they can still comfortably fit up to 14 regular-sized bags. 

Renting a passenger van ensures that your team travels together within a single vehicle, giving them the opportunity to bond en route to the game; which otherwise wouldn’t be possible with carpooling or public transportation.

The main advantage with sprinter vans is that a driver is not typically required depending on your jurisdiction. Since passenger vans can come without a driver, sports teams can assign someone from their own group as the driver, which helps streamline costs. Teams can then redirect those savings towards new equipment and teamwear.

Best for: Smaller teams with minimal gear 

Charter bus rentals for sports tournaments.

Sports Bus Rentals: Use Cases

Sports teams rent buses for various occasions, ranging from away tournaments to one-off games. Let’s take a look at some of the most common uses for sports bus rentals: 

Tournament Travel

One of the main perks of being an athlete is getting to discover new cities with your team during tournaments. Whether it is the long ride to the venue or sightseeing trips in between or after games, there’s nothing quite like tournament travel. Plus, the latter is a great way to bond with teammates and create long-lasting memories well beyond they reach the field. 

Bus rentals offer sports teams the ability to customize their own itinerary while keeping the entire group together. Indeed, they are a cost-efficient and reliable way to get your team and their equipment to their destination, without needing to coordinate five or six carpools.  

Since sports teams tend to know tournament dates well in advance, there is a larger window to confirm bookings at a good rate, way before prices surge or availability is diminished. 

Away Games

Student athletes have away games penciled in their calendars as soon as they receive their schedules for the season. With all the excitement leading up to the big game, the long bus rides there can be just as thrilling as the match itself as teammates get to hype each other up as they head into gamemode. With a bus rental, you can also have the flexibility of booking one-off trips for away games or organizing season-long transportation from the start.

Tailgating

Is it really gameday without a tailgate party? As the name suggests, these events typically occur in the parking lot of stadiums right behind the tailgate of vehicles. By helping to ensure a massive turnout with only one vehicle, bus rentals are ideal for tailgating and showing support for your local team.

Coach buses and mini coach buses are especially useful for tailgating since they can fit tents, tables, and other party essentials in their undercarriage sections. A fully vetted and experienced driver will be there to pick your team and drop them off, so you can safely party the night away!

Inspiration Trips to Pro Sports Teams

Falling in love with a sports team is never an exact science. While you can support your local club, it is often the case that your favorite team just happens to be thousands of miles away. Rather than flying out or driving down yourself, bus rentals offer you the opportunity to organize a once-in-a-lifetime trip to go see your favorite team live in the flesh with fellow fans. 

School teams also often coordinate inspiration trips to professional sports teams, offering their young athletes a glimpse of what it takes to make it at the highest level. Coach bus rentals are typically recommended for these longer trips, as they are the most comfortable option for longer distances. 

Group transportation for sports teams.

How to Book a Sports Bus Rental 

Now that you are aware of the different bus types available as well as the most common uses for them, it’s time to go through how to book a bus rental for your team. Here are four easy steps to make your sports bus rental a success:

Set an Itinerary

Think of the itinerary as your team’s travel playbook — the X’s and O’s of group transportation. While it may not be as glamorous as drawing up plays, it is just as important. We recommend establishing your itinerary as soon as you receive your schedule for the season. Confirming your bus rental in advance will ensure that your team gets the bus type it needs at the best possible rate. Once your itinerary is set, be sure to distribute it to your entire team with the exact departure times and pickup locations.

Select a Bus Type 

Picking the right bus type is as important as getting the correct starting lineup on game day. This will depend on the size of your team as well as the distance you plan on traveling. Each bus comes with its own advantages and amenities, making them ideal options for different trip types. Our quick guide on choosing a bus type helps you break down which one is right for you.

Pro tip: School buses and minibuses are typically used for transporting smaller groups of people over shorter distances, while coach buses and mini coach buses are better options for bigger teams and longer trips. 

Book Your Bus 

Your itinerary is set. You have the right bus type. It’s now time to confirm your booking and secure your team’s transportation. Bus.com offers an easy-to-use online booking system that will streamline your bus rental experience by providing you with a comprehensive quote in under two minutes. This quote includes a detailed pricing breakdown, including driver’s time, fuel, and will also account for distance traveled. Plus, with the book now, pay later policy, you can defer your payment up until 21 days before your departure, leaving you time to secure financing for your bus rental. 

Share the Itinerary with Your Entire Group 

Once your booking has been confirmed, ensure every player on your team is on the same page. You can print your itinerary and distribute copies, or even send your team an online link to it. If your team has minors, hand out the itinerary to parents along with contact phone numbers. This will also speed up the process of getting signed permission slips from them. Keep in mind that getting everyone on board could take longer than you think and budget your time accordingly. 

Pro tip: Post your itinerary in the locker room and tell your players to make a habit of checking it on game day. 

Sports Bus Rentals 101

Your sports bus rental is all but confirmed and your team is ready to hit the road. However, before game day comes, there are a few final considerations to make. For one, how is your team funding the bus rental? And secondly, why not go the extra mile and display your team spirit directly on your bus? Let’s take a look at what you can do to upgrade your sports bus rental experience. 

Funding Your Sports Bus Rental 

Fundraisers in your local communities or schools are a great way to raise awareness and fund your bus rental. Another option your team might want to consider is searching for sponsors. These sponsors can offer to pay your bus rental while using the bus as an advertisement on wheels for their company with bus wrapping

Wrap Your Bus  

As for bus wrapping, why not also make your bus rental part of the experience by showing off your team’s colors front and center? A common option for teams traveling to away games or tailgating, wrapping the bus with your logo is a great way to showcase your team and make a splash wherever you’re heading. This not only builds team spirit but also makes for a great backdrop for team pictures. For more inspiration, consult our ultimate guide to bus wrapping.

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 sports bus rental experience and ensure you don’t encounter any surprises along the way.

When to book your bus?

As soon as possible! Sports schedules are typically finalized months in advance of the season, offering your team the ability to plan ahead. Securing your group transportation well in advance will guarantee local availability and ensure we can source your best rental at the best possible rate. Bus.com knows that sports teams, especially local ones, operate on a tight-budget, and offers flexible payment options. Your team can take full advantage of our Book Now, Pay Later policy, allowing you to defer payment up until 21 days before your departure. This offers you the opportunity to secure financing through bake sales, fundraisers, and other team-bonding events.

How to transport sports equipment?

Bus rentals are among the most convenient ways to transport your team and its equipment from point A to point B. These vehicles are a great way to keep all your team’s equipment in one place, ensuring no shoulder pad or cleat goes missing before the big game. Our buses offer ample undercarriage storage and are capable of accommodating any type of equipment your team needs on game day. Typically, mini coach and coach buses are ideal for transporting heavy gear, while school buses and minibuses are better suited for teams with minimal equipment. Our quick guide on choosing a bus type can help you determine which vehicle your team needs.

Pro tip: Take the time before leaving to store your equipment neatly. It may sound simple, but you’ll thank us later. This will allow you to unload the bus quickly at your destination and get warmed up before your game.

Is it possible to have a bus rental for a sports team's entire season?

Absolutely! Bus.com has an abundance of experience coordinating season-long transportation for sports teams and we’re happy to help. We recommend contacting one of our booking specialists with all the details and they will help you put together a comprehensive transportation plan for the entire season. If your team is headed to a major sports tournament, you can always use our pro services. Our experts will take care of all your transportation needs from A to Z, including 24/7 support, coast-to-coast coverage, access to onsite staff, day-of monitoring, and much more. As year-long transportation involves many moving parts, we recommend getting in touch as soon as possible.

How much will it cost to rent a bus for your team?

The price of your bus rental will ultimately depend on a number of factors: the type of bus you choose, distance traveled, the area you will be heading to, as well as time of year. Keep in mind that the driver’s time will have the biggest impact on your final price. As a result, streamline your itinerary as much as possible, avoiding unnecessary pit stops along the way. Use our online book tool to generate a quote in under two minutes! Your estimate will be valid for three days, offering you the time to consider all options. If your quote expires, simply request a new one or contact a booking specialist.

Do buses have enough storage for sports equipment?

Yes! Before booking, however, familiarise yourself with the different vehicle types offered by Bus.com and their different storage capacities. The coach bus, for example, has enough space for any equipment your team is looking to transport, featuring significant undercarriage storage. From ball bags to full-on hockey equipment, this vehicle type has you covered. Coach buses are also commonly used for tailgating purposes, storing tents, lawn chairs, and tables with ease. If your group requires transportation for a smaller trip, the school bus or minibus could do the trick. Even if your team does not fill up all the seats, they can easily be repurposed for additional storage.