Whether you are looking to organize a sightseeing trip across different cities, or are simply looking to secure transportation for a one-off event, there are various types of charter bus rentals fit for your group travel needs. The minibus is one of the more convenient options for group transportation, striking a perfect balance between a coach and a school bus.
This vehicle is ideal for transporting smaller groups of people over a short distance, offering travellers a cost-effective, convenient, and safe mode of transportation. From student and corporate groups, to professional tour operators, a minibus rental takes the hassle out of transportation and helps your group stay within budget. Your minibus rental comes equipped with a number of amenities, including air conditioning, ample baggage storage, and a fully vetted driver.
But which factors contribute to a minibus rental pricing? And how can you save money with your rental? Let’s take a closer look at minibus rental costs and break down important considerations you should make before booking.
Factors That Might Affect Your Minibus Rental Price
The price of your minibus rental can be influenced by many things. Bus size and amenities may seem like obvious considerations, but there are other lesser-known elements that can affect the price of your minibus rental price. Let’s take a look at what these factors are:
1. Time of Booking
The time at which you book your bus could end up saving you the most money. As always, the earlier you book, the better. Getting a headstart ensures that there are more bus providers to source your minibus rental from in your area. Though last-minute bookings are possible, the latter can significantly bump up the price of your minibus rental price.
Typically, we recommend booking your minibus rental six months before your trip to guarantee local availability and a better rate. Once you have your trip details defined, simply enter them in Bus.com’s easy-to-use online booking system and it will automatically generate an estimate in less than two minutes. Our Book Now, Pay Later policy also allows you to defer the full payment up until 21 days before your departure, giving you time to secure financing for your bus rental.
2. Time of Year
Are you looking to rent a minibus in peak season? This can affect your minibus rental price. Similar to the tourism industry, there is a high season and a low season for charter bus rentals. Low-season is typically mid-winter and, surprisingly, mid-summer as there are far fewer student trips and conflicting events. If your group is flexible with its booking time, booking during these periods could help you save money on your minibus rental.
Pro tip: Springtime tends to be the busiest due to an abundance of events, including school field trips, academic conferences, and corporate retreats. Best to avoid trips during that time, if you can!
3. Travel Distance and Fuel Prices
Travel distance and fuel prices are two factors that go hand-in-hand. Gas prices are constantly changing, which could then affect the price of your minibus rental price. While day-to-day changes in fuel prices are insignificant, major spikes and dips could result in a drastic surge or decrease in bus rental rates.
The size of the bus also influences fuel prices — the bigger the vehicle, the more fuel it will consume. For example, due to its smaller format, minibus rentals are fuel-efficient vehicles that are less expensive and designed to keep costs low.
While distance traveled mostly relates to fuel consumption, it also dictates the driver’s time — which is ultimately what has the most impact on the price of a minibus rental price. Establishing a set itinerary gives you a clear idea of how long your trip will be and helps you avoid any unwanted surprises when it comes to your minibus pricing.
4. Bus Type
Similarly to bus size, the chosen bus type will also affect the final price of your bus rental. As previously mentioned, larger buses require more fuel. Minibus rentals offer a budget-friendly option in between coach or school bus rentals and passenger vans, by transporting smaller groups of people in a compact package.
The type of bus that your group chooses to rent will also determine which amenities are available. Typically, minibus rentals have vehicle-wide air conditioning, baggage storage, and come with an experienced and fully-vetted driver. Keep in mind that amenities add-ons only minorly impact your bus quote. Instead, it is the driver’s time that matters most.
5. Driving and On-Duty Time
Last but not least, your driver’s driving and on-duty time is what will make the biggest difference in your minibus rental price. Drivers are paid for any pit stops, lunch breaks, and of course, the time it takes to get to and from your destination. Consequently, it is important to have your itinerary prepared in advance, so you can have a good idea of how much your trip will cost you in total.
Ways to Save Money on a Minibus Rental
While some of the factors above may be out of your control, there are ways to save money on your minibus rental that you may not be aware of. Here are some expert tips to keep in mind before you book your minibus:
DIY — Drive it Yourself!
While most bus companies exclusively offer chauffeured bus rentals, there is also the option of booking a passenger van rental without a driver. Certain restrictions may apply depending on your jurisdiction, but typically, only a regular driver’s license is required to drive your own passenger van.
Similarly to the minibus, passenger vans are extremely compact, and can transport up to 15 people at a time. They can also fit up to 14 regular-sized bags, and can be configured with optional hotspot WiFi as well as two AUX outlets and a USB port.
Check the Calendar
The time of year during which you book your minibus rental will have a direct impact on its price. If your group is flexible with its arrival and departure times, it would be wise to check the area’s social calendar for any competing events.
For example, Coachella in California typically falls around the end of April, and that may be driving transportation prices up. The less competition there is with major festivals or events, the lower the rates for a minibus will be since there’ll be more bus providers to source your rental from.
Book It Now
If you can book your bus rental in advance, it would be highly recommended to do so as prices tend to increase the closer you are to your departure date. With Bus.com’s Book Now, Pay Later option, you’ll have ample time to secure the financing to fund the rental from the rest of your group. You’ll also be able to defer the final payment up until 21 days before your trip.
Keep Amenities in Mind
Getting a clear consensus on your group’s desired amenities is an essential step when booking a minibus. Oftentimes, trip organizers overestimate their group’s wants and add unnecessary comforts that end up boosting the price. The minibus is designed with standard amenities, which helps keep costs low. However, if you’re looking for onboard bathrooms or a state-of-the-art sound system, different bus types, such as the coach and mini coach bus, would be better options to accommodate your needs.
Finding the Right Minibus for You
Bus.com currently offers the Ford E450, one of the most popular types of minibus rentals. This minibus comes equipped with many of the same luxuries and comforts as other bus types, but in a more compact package. The Ford E450 comfortably seats up to 24 people and has air conditioning, sufficient baggage storage, and reclining seats.
There are only chauffeured minibus rentals as a special license is required to drive this vehicle. Minibus drivers have a wealth of experience on the road to ensure that your trip goes smoothly. If you are traveling with a larger group, or desire more amenities such as onboard bathrooms and WiFi, read our quick guide to learn more about which other bus types may be better suited for your trip.
Booking Your Minibus Rental
Now that you are aware of all the elements that go into the price of your minibus, you’re armed with the information you need to move onto the actual booking. It is essential to have your trip details, which includes group size, desired amenities, and travel distance, defined before reserving your bus rental.
Through Bus.com’s easy-to-use online booking tool, you can generate multiple bus quotes in under two minutes and compare prices right at your fingertips. The quote itself is good for three days, giving you time to consider all your options. By working with a vast network of trusted charter bus providers across North America, we’ll be able to find you a bus company that can fulfill your group transportation needs at the best possible rate.