Organizing travel for your youth sports team can be trickier than you’d think. Often an afterthought, getting your team to its destination requires a lot of planning, from deciding which kind of vehicle suits your team best to collecting all the proper documentation required to hit the road with minors. There’s a pretty hefty list of items to get done before you take off on your away tournament travel. For coaches and managers, it’s imperative that you know how to responsibly take care of your youth sports’ teams transportation throughout the season, and this post will provide insight on how to do just that.
Finding the right bus for your team
Your team bus is the centerpiece of your sports team trip. Whether for a road game, an away tournament, or a team bonding activity, deciding on the type of bus that’ll carry your group is step one. We offer four main bus types: the coach bus, mini coach, school bus, and minibus. To make your selection, you can consult your Bus.com booking specialist or our Quick Guide to Choosing a Bus Type.
But if you’re still in the early stages of planning, start with one question: What sport does your team play? If you coach or manage a team that carries a lot of equipment, like a hockey or football team, then a coach bus is your answer. If your team doesn’t carry a ton of equipment but has a big roster — like soccer or rugby — then the school bus makes more sense. For the smallest rosters and smallest equipment bags, go with a mini coach, perfect for your swim or tennis team.
What about school buses – are those safe for travelling long distances with kids?
You may have jumped at the mention of the school bus for a long distance road trip. Sure, those big yellow machines are fine to bring your kids to school and back, but are they safe for highway trips? The answer is yes, and here’s why. Everything about a school bus design is geared for safety: specialized brake systems, lighting, emergency exits, and escape hatches in the roof. Even the high-padded seats are made to absorb the impact of a collision. But what about the fact that these buses don’t have seatbelts? Believe it or not, that’s part of the safety equation, which we explain in this article. Of course, all the safety measures in the world go out the window if the passengers don’t follow the rules. So as a chaperone, you must reinforce these rules: two people per seat, arms and legs inside the bus at all times, and bags on laps or under seats.
Why buses are better than carpooling
You may be wondering why you shouldn’t just have parents and coaches take their own cars and split up the players in carpool fashion. Well for starters, a team bus takes the pressure off the parents, who may have to work or have other kids to take care of. One vehicle with a single pick-up and drop-off location is simpler for everyone, keeps more cars off the road (here’s to eco-friendly transportation!), and decreases the chances that some of your players show up late or get lost. A team bus will end up saving everyone money too, when you consider the cost of gas required to send all those cars to the same place. The equipment storage capability of a bus is also a plus that may be tough on parents — have you ever tried stuffing four hockey bags into the trunk of a small car? And finally, and perhaps most importantly for your players, a team bus is fun! When everyone travels together, boring road trips turn into bonding experiences and lifetime memories.
Rent a bus for a single game or an entire season
Speak with your Booking Specialist about your particular bus booking needs. One of the ways Bus.com makes bus rentals easy is the Book Now, Pay Later option, which can come in handy when you need to rent a bus for several dates throughout the season. Once you receive your schedule prior to the beginning of the season, you can lock in your team’s mode of transportation right away for all your road games and/or tournaments without having to fork over the money just yet. You’ll only have to finalize your payment 21 days prior to each departure date.
Have all documents required for travelling with minors
When travelling with children that are not your own, there are a few legal steps you have to take. Children under the age of 18 are considered minors, and adults such as sports coaches that travel with minors require a legal document called a Child Travel Consent Form. The document is particularly important if you are leaving the country. The form should include each minor’s passport information, consent, and a signature from their parent or guardian, information about the trip, and more. Consult this resource for more information about travelling with minors.
Keep your team happy on the road
A few paragraphs up, we mentioned the lasting bonds and fond memories that often cultivate on long road trips with your team. But that stuff doesn’t necessarily just happen all on its own. As a coach or manager, you’ll need to set up your team for happiness and success on the road. Come up with some games you can play as a group on the bus. The license plate game is always a classic; you can drum up a sports trivia game tailored to your team’s sport; or make use of the bus’ sound system for a little ‘name that tune’. Speaking of music, you might want to tap the music expert on the team to drum up a few playlists to get your team pumped up, or to wind down after a hard-fought game. Oh, and snacks. You’ll definitely want to pack some snacks to keep everyone’s stomachs satisfied and minimize the need for pit stops.