The Ultimate Guide to Bus Rentals

Activity: Chosen. Venue: Booked. Guest List: Confirmed. You’re just about to wrap up the finishing touches on your event — but there’s one important detail left to organize. How good is an event if no one makes it? For an event to be successful, you need to figure out an easy way to get people there. A charter bus rental is a safe and cost-efficient way to transport groups of people to a given destination, whether it’s located smack in the middle of the busy city, or on more remote outskirts.

Depending on your group travel needs, certain bus types will be better suited for different trips. Whether you’re looking to organize a sightseeing tour or secure transportation for a wedding, there’s a bus that’s just fit for you. Finding the right one comes down to a few key factors: group size, distance, and desired amenities.

Choosing the ideal vehicle type could be daunting, but we’re here to help. This guide will arm you with all the knowledge you’ll need before booking your bus rental, ranging from how they’re most commonly used, the different types of buses available, and additional tips and tricks you may not have been aware of.

Use Cases: When to Rent a Bus

The best thing about bus rentals is how versatile they are! From weddings and sports groups to student and tours, buses can help accommodate various kinds of group travel. As a matter of fact, charter buses are among the safest and most cost-efficient means of group transportation that’ll get you from point A to B (and back again!) as simply as possible. Here are six examples of occasions for which bus rentals would be perfect:

Field Trip Bus Rentals

Field trips are great learning opportunities for K-12 students and are a fundamental aspect of any enriched learning experience. When working with a large group of energetic kids, educators and organizers need to keep a watchful eye on the group — especially while on the move. Being one of the safest group travel solution, bus rentals for field trips help these educators keep the entire group together, so that they can more easily monitor the group while en route to their destination for the day.

Furthermore, bus rentals eliminate the need for multiple drivers or chaperones (which would be required when driving individual cars or using public transportation), hence streamlining additional costs and complications. As for which bus to choose, keep in mind that school bus rentals are ideal for travelling shorter distances, including intra-city trips, while coach buses are better suited for out-of-town tours. 

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Student Group Bus Rentals

Student life is vibrant and chock-full of fun events, whether they’re happening on campus or away from school grounds. With all the fun and good times to be had, you’ll especially want to ensure that student groups can get to destination safely and on time. That’s why organizing trips for student groups, would greatly benefit a charter bus renta. Through the later, students will typically be able to rely on expert travel specialists who have years of experience in coordinating group transportation and are able to take care of any logistical issues that may arise.

Whether you’re organizing student transportation to job fairs, to securing transportation to your college case competition, bus rentals can accommodate for your itinerary and budget as well as any special requests that could put your group more at ease.

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Tour Group Bus Rentals 

Whether you’re a professional tour operator or simply organizing a trip for your group to explore a new city, you need an easy and reliable way to get around your destination. A bus rental lets travellers personalize their itinerary to include multiple stops and destinations and work around their own schedule. That way, your group can enjoy the ride while taking in the scenery along the way, and of course, visit sights that have been earmarked months in advance.

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Bus Rentals for Weddings

Organizing a wedding can be tricky, but transportation for your Special Day should be the least of your worries. Safe, reliable, and cost-effective, bus rentals are a great way to keep the party going while you’re on the road. You can also book several bus types for all your different wedding-related events. For example, the minibus is perfect for shuttling guests back and forth between the ceremony and reception, while the coach bus can be used for a destination wedding across state lines. 

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Bus Rentals for Corporate Events 

Corporate event planning can prove to be a hassle with many moving parts. Buses for corporate events can help with the transportation side by facilitating group travel from one state to another for out-of-town conferences o corporate events in remote locations. With a bus rental, you can have the flexibility of customizing your own itinerary and organize seamless transportation from door-to-door, all while lowering your company’s CO2 footprint. You can set up shuttle services for trade shows, conferences, team-building events and corporate holiday parties. Typically, the mini coach bus and minibus are used for employee shuttles and holiday parties, making for fuel-efficient and wallet-friendly bus rental options. For conferences, the coach bus is  the better option as it has the most comfortable set of amenities available, which is especially useful if the event is out-of-town. 

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Bus Rentals for Sporting Teams 

Sports teams of all sizes can find a charter bus rental perfect for each of their individual needs. Whether your team is travelling long distances to a tournament, or needs a bus for a one-off away game, there’s a bus rental within your budget and with the amenities that you require.

Coach buses are ideal for tournament travel, offering many modern comforts for travelling longer distances, while school bus rentals are more affordable options for local away games. Bus rentals for sporting events are also the most effective way to get your team to its destination on time, with various options to set aside storage space for sports equipment. Plus, your team can take advantage of the bus ride to spend quality bonding time with one another before hitting the field. Bonus: Wrap your bus with your team’s logo to build up hype and foster even greater team spirit. Consult our guide to sports bus rentals if you have any additional questions. 

charter bus rental for sports groups

Types of Vehicles 

Different occasions call for different bus types. From sprinter vans to full-sized coach buses, there’s a bus rental fit for your individual trip needs. Each vehicle comes with its own set of amenities and advantages. Ultimately, your choice of bus type will come down to budget, trip type, size of your group, and desired amenities. Here are five different vehicles available with Bus.com: 

Sprinter Vans  

Sprinter vans are a fuel-efficient way to transport smaller groups, accommodating between eight and 15 people at a time. Due to their smaller size, they’re the most fuel-efficient option as they produce lower carbon emissions than the other bus types. This vehicle strikes the perfect balance between a minivan and a bus, featuring a number of amenities, including air conditioning, baggage storage, and in some cases, WiFi. 

Sprinter vans are a great option to keep costs low as a driver is not typically needed. Consult our Sprinter Van (No Driver) to see if a special license is required in your jurisdiction. Sprinter van rentals with a driver can also be available if you instead prefer leaving the driving to a seasoned and fully vetted professional.

There are three popular sprinter van options, depending on your desired amenities. The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and the Ford Transit Passenger are equipped with the basic ones, being the more cost-efficient alternatives, while the Chevrolet Express also offers WiFi.

Minibus 

Minibus rentals can be used to transport smaller groups for corporate events, field trips, and tours. This vehicle can seat up to 21 people and is designed for trips involving shorter distances and multiple stops. With a similar layout as a school bus, but in a more compact format, the minibus is as versatile a bus rental as they come and is built for economy and efficiency.

The minibus offers standard amenities, which helps keep costs low and represents a more budget-friendly alternative to other bus rentals. The Ford E450 minibus, in particular, comes with air conditioning, baggage storage, and a driver. However, certain minibuses can also be equipped with WiFi, power outlets, and DVD configuration upon requests.

Keep in mind that though storage may be limited on the minibus, extra seating can easily be repurposed for your baggage. Otherwise, if you want additional space without modifying your seating, your group might want to consider the mini coach bus instead.

Coach Bus 

The coach bus, also known as the “motor coach,” embodies comfort when it comes to group transportation which makes it perfect for travelling long distances. By offering amenities that other types of bus rentals don’t, the coach bus is considered as one of the most convenient and comfortable options for group transportation.

This vehicle can transport up to 55 people and comes with a variety of amenities, including audio-visual equipment, WiF, air conditioning, onboard bathrooms and more comfortable seating. Though additional amenities may slightly influence the price of your bus rental, it’s typically the driver’s time that has the biggest impact on your final quote. 

For transporting larger groups over longer distances, there are four different coach bus options available : the Prevost H3-45, Van Hool, MCI, and the Prevost H3-41.

Mini Coach Bus 

Enjoy the various amenities of the coach bus, but in a more compact package with a mini coach bus rental. The mini coach bus can be used for both shorter hops and longer distances. This vehicle seats up to 31 people, offering a perfect in-between a minibus and a coach bus. The mini coach bus comes equipped with both overhead and undercarriage storage and is a great choice for weddings, sports trips, and corporate events which may require space for various equipment. 

The mini coach bus boasts a wide range of amenities, including air conditioning, power outlets, and hi-speed WiFi. In some cases, these rentals even come with TV and DVD configuration, making your trip all the more pleasant. However, the mini coach bus does not come with onboard restrooms, whereas a full-sized coach bus does — something to keep in mind during longer trips. 

The TEMSA and the Freightliner are two popular mini coach bus option available for booking.

School Bus 

Seating up to 47 people, a school bus is a great rental option for shorter trips, and can be used for field trips, shuttle services, or as a unique backdrop for your wedding photos. In terms of amenities, you’ll get the basic essentials with a school bus rental, so it’s important to consider how you’ll want to use one when comes time to book. For example, though a school bus has limited storage, you can set aside the back seats of the bus for your belongings. However, if your group needs more dedicated storage space for your baggage, you might want to consider other options, such as the more luxurious coach bus.

There are a few school bus types that can be rented: the Thomas school bus, the Blue Bird Vision, and the International RE300.

How do I Choose Between a School Bus, a Coach Bus, and Other Bus Types? 

Choosing a vehicle type for your group travel can be daunting. Here are three steps that will help you make the right decision and get your trip started on the right foot: 

Step 1: Determine how long you will be on the road

Distance is one of the most important factors when choosing a bus rental. The first step to any trip is determining exactly how long your group will be on the road for. A quick search on Google Maps should do the trick, offering you a snapshot of how long your travel time could be. Typically, we recommend a school bus for shorter trips, while a coach bus is ideal for trips over three hours. 

Step 2: Choose your bus amenities

The next step is deciding which amenities are required for your group travel. Buses can come either with a basic set of amenities or a variety of comforts, including hi-speed WiFi, onboard bathrooms, TVs, and air conditioning. With the driver’s time having the biggest impact on your bus rental quote, you won’t see a significant increase in price when adding amenities. Being equipped with the most amenities, the coach bus comes recommended as the most comfortable travel option. 

Step 3: Get an accurate headcount of your group

There exists different types of buses, ranging from sprinter van rentals all the way to coach buses, that can accommodate groups of all sizes. Getting an accurate headcount of your group will help pinpoint the perfect bus rental for you, all while ensuring both your comfort and safety. This step is especially important since it’s illegal to transport more than the group’s capacity. Pro tip: If your group is more than 20 people, rent a school bus or a coach bus. If you are fewer than 20 people, the minibus or the mini coach bus is the vehicle for you. 

Bus Rentals vs. Other Forms of Transportation  

Every form of transportation has its pros and cons. When compared to other means of travel, charter bus rentals are not only a safe and reliable way to transport large groups of people, but are also environmentally-friendly. In fact, charter bus transportation produces significantly less CO2 than all other forms of long-distance travel. 

Bus Rentals vs. Car Rentals

Bus rentals are more convenient for group travel as they replace the need for finding or renting a fleet of 5-6 cars. No need to argue over who the designated drivers should be, or pull up for gas at different intervals and risk losing the other half of your group. Instead, keeping your group together in one single vehicle will save you both time and money when organizing your trip.

Bus Rentals vs. Rideshares

Rideshares have become increasingly popular in recent years, though they will required you to depend on other people’s schedules. With bus rentals, you can plan personalized routes around your own itinerary, or even organize a bus rideshare for a big event if that’s something that interests you.

Find a Charter Bus Operator in Your Area 

There are thousands of charter bus companies spanning across the United States and Canada. It might get overwhelming to browse through all of them in search of the best quote and the perfect bus type for your group trip. Bus.com works with a network of fully vetted bus operators in North America, which allows us to find a bus rental that will fulfill your needs while also getting you the best rate. You will also be able to compare charter bus prices through our online booking tool to get an idea of what’s available in your area.

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

What is included in my charter bus rental?

Amenities will ultimately boil down to the bus type you rent and what your group is looking for. While school buses come with the very basics and are ideal for shorter trips, our coach buses epitomize comfort, featuring a wide array of additional luxuries. Every bus rental comes with an experienced and vetted driver getting you to your destination safely and reliably.

How do I pay for my bus rental?

The first step to renting your charter bus is requesting a quote with our online booking system. Your quote will be ready in under two minutes and is good for three days, giving you time to consider all your options. If your quote expires, fret not, simply request another quote or contact our 24-7 customer service team via our online chat option. Bus.com accepts payment from credit cards, PayPal, or check and payment can be deferred up until 21 days after the rental is confirmed.

Can my driver drive us around once we've arrived at our location?

As mentioned earlier, the driver’s time is the most important factor when determining price. Consequently, extra wait time or making multiple stops along the way could impact your final price. Our booking specialists understand this and can factor it into your quote prior to confirming your rental. Simply let them know and they can adjust your quote accordingly.

Now that I’ve chartered a bus, how do I make sure my bus rental is ready?

Ensure your entire group are all on the same page prior to leaving and make sure everyone is aware of departure and arrival times. Prior to departure, verify your pickup and drop-off points with your driver as well as the city’s parking rules. This will guarantee a cost-efficient and streamlined bus charter rental. Our bus drivers are completely vetted with years of experience, but do not hesitate to reach out to our award-winning customer service team with any questions and concerns you might have. After all, we’re a transportation team!

How do I rent a bus?

Renting a bus charter has never been this convenient. Request a booking price and our online booking system will generate an estimate in less than two minutes. There is no obligation to rent as the quote is good for three days. Once you’re ready to move forward with the rental, simply book and a trip manager will help iron out any final details. Our experienced managers will communicate with the partner for you, help find the best charter rate in your areas, and guide you through the logistics of bus rentals.

Ready to rent a charter bus?

Our easy-to-use online booking system will allow you to calculate your group travel budget with a quick estimate. Simply lock in your departure and arrival dates and we’ll take care of the rest. It is always recommended to book your charter bus rental earlier to avoid price surging and guarantee availability. Our book now, pay later policy gives you the option to hold off on payment up until 21 days and secure the payment from your group.

How do I prepare my group for departure?

Preparing your entire group for departure can be difficult, but by following these three simple steps, we are confident your bus rental will go smoothly. Firstly, consolidate all related documents to your bus rental in one shared folder. Secondly, tell your group members to arrive at the pickup and drop-off points 30 minutes prior to departure to avoid rushing and forgetting anything. Lastly, confirm you have all legal documentation (permission slips) necessary for group travel, especially as it relates to travelling with minors. Our booking specialists can guide you through this step should you have any questions.

 

The pandemic has altered the way many of our customers experience group transportation, and as a result, Bus.com is taking many precautions to curb the spread of COVID-19. Consult our COVID-19 FAQs for more information!

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