The Ultimate Guide to Bus Rentals

Planning a special event or group trip? A private bus rental is a safe, fun, and budget-friendly way of transporting your friends, family, co-workers, or team. Chartering a bus is easy, but that doesn’t mean it’s an impulse buy. There are bus types, amenities, itineraries, pick up and drop off points, and sometimes even permission slips to handle. Don’t worry. Bus.com is here to help. From choosing the right bus to tipping the driver, this guide covers the steps to successful group transportation by charter bus.

Is a charter bus rental the best way to transport my group?

Most people don’t rent a coach bus every day. We understand that it’s a big decision. But, we are confident that a charter bus rental is the safest and most cost-effective way to transport large groups of people. To best identify the bus type for you, all you’ll need to know is your group size, distance to be traveled, and preferred amenities. Nail that down, and we’ll help you select the bus to match your trip.

Whenever you’re ready, try our booking tool for a quote in under two minutes.

A Charter Bus Rental for Every Trip
Bus rentals for Field Trips

Transporting students is stressful for anyone, even the most travel-savvy educators. Let Bus.com take some of that pressure off your shoulders. We can provide a school bus rental for short day trips or a coach for longer journeys like college tours or week-long class trips. Learn more about student group travel.

Bus rentals for group tours

The beauty of a charter bus rental is the control it offers. Take charge of your own itinerary when planning a group tour. See the sights you want to see and do it on your own time with a tour bus rental. Whether you’re planning a tour of a specific city, a trip for seniors, or an adventure for a youth group, we can help you select the bus to accommodate your needs. Learn more about group tours.

Bus rentals for weddings

Shuttle your guests from ceremony to reception. Drop them off at the hotel. Treat them like the type of VIPs you’d invite to your special day. Make wedding transportation easy with a private bus rental. Our Book Now Pay Later option is great for the organized bride who’s booking a wedding shuttle service months in advance. Learn more about wedding transportation

Bus rentals for corporate events

Plan off-site meetings, retreats, or conference transportation with the help of Bus.com. Use our easy online booking tool to generate a quote for your next corporate bus rental. Keep everyone together with a private coach bus rental. Learn more about corporate bus rentals.

Find a Charter Bus Operator in Your Area

Our network of bus operators is spread across North America. We’ll connect you to the closest operator to fulfill your needs and reduce “dead head” costs. Browse charter bus companies by city to find an operator in your area.

Bus rentals vs. other forms of transportation
Bus rental vs. car rentals

When it comes to group travel, bus rentals are the undisputed champions. It would take way too many vehicles and way too much gas to transport the amount of people by car that you can transport with a private bus rental. Keep your group together throughout the entire trip by chartering a bus.

Bus rental vs. rideshares

When you travel with rideshares, you’re always at the whim of other people’s schedules. Plan your own arrival and departure times, and take your itinerary into your own hands with a chartered bus. We work with reliable, vetted drivers and experienced bus companies to make your itinerary possible.

Do I rent a coach bus? Is a school bus rental better for me? How do I choose?

Follow these steps to select the perfect bus rental for your trip. For more info on bus rental selection, check out our detailed guide

Please note: We work with bus operators all over North America, so your bus will have all the amenities you have selected, but it may not look exactly like the bus in the photo.

Step 1: Decide how long you will be on the road.

Go online. Punch in your pick-up and drop-off points. Get an estimate of how long the trip will take. Knowing the amount of time that you will be on the bus will help you decide which comforts and amenities (like on-board restrooms) you will need. We recommend a school bus for short trips and a coach bus for anything longer than 3 hours.

Step 2: Decide which comforts you need on your bus.

A/C, wifi, extra luggage space, and audio-visual equipment are available on many buses. The driver’s time is the biggest part of a bus rental quote, so amenities like these aren’t going to change your quote in a big way. Consider making your trip more comfortable, and rent a coach bus.

Step 3: Get an accurate headcount of your group.

The number of passengers a bus can hold varies from bus to bus. A general rule of thumb: if your group is more than 20 people, select a school bus or coach bus. If you are fewer than 20 people, select the mini bus or mini coach bus. It is important that you know the exact number of people in your group as it is illegal to transport more than the bus’s capacity.

How do I rent a bus?

Chartering a bus is easy! First step: request a charter bus quote. Our booking tool provides an estimated price in less than two minutes. You’re under no obligation to rent once you have a quote, so feel free to think it over. Every quote is good for 3 days. Once you’re ready to move forward, book your bus! A trip manager will contact you to iron out the details. Your trip manager will help you communicate with the operator, find the best bus company in your area, and guide you through the logistics of chartering a bus.

Request a Charter Bus Quote
What is included in my charter bus rental?
Comforts and Amenities on a Charter Bus

Amenities vary by bus, but they all come with an experienced and vetted driver. School buses don’t come with many add-ons, but they’re great for short trips. If you require more comfort, the coach bus is the way to go. All coaches come with an on-board restroom and lots of luggage space. Wifi, audio-visual equipment, and power outlets can be added for small fees.

Some Available Charter Bus Rentals

Find the right bus for your trip.
Charter a Coach Bus
Exact Vehicle May Vary
Coach Bus Average of 55 Seats
$595-$995 (on average per day)
  • AC

  • Audio System

  • AUX Input

  • Bathroom

  • TV/DVD

  • Power Outlets

  • Wifi

  • Leather Seats

  • Luggage

  • Accessibility

Charter a School Bus
Exact Vehicle May Vary
School Bus Average of 47 Seats
$350-$625 (average per day)
  • AC

  • Audio System

  • AUX Input

  • Bathroom

  • TV/DVD

  • Power Outlets

  • Wifi

  • Leather Seats

  • Luggage

  • Accessibility

Charter a Mini Coach Bus
Exact Vehicle May Vary
Mini Coach Bus Average of 32 Seats
$475-$900 (average per day)
  • AC

  • Audio System

  • AUX Input

  • Bathroom

  • TV/DVD

  • Power Outlets

  • Wifi

  • Leather Seats

  • Luggage

  • Accessibility

Ready to Charter a Bus?

Use our simple online booking tool to generate your charter bus quote in under two minutes. Once you have your quote, book your departure date and preferred bus. Select our Pay Later option, and hold off on payment until 21 days before your departure date. Our Book Now Pay Later policy allows you to calculate your group travel budget early in the event planning process. By booking early you can avoid the dwindling availability and price surging that occurs closer to departure.

Paying for your Bus Rental
How do I pay for my bus rental?

Once your charter bus price is generated, you have until the quote expires (3 days from its calculation) to pay for your bus rental. You can pay with a credit card, check, or through PayPal. If your quote expires before you have a chance to make your purchase, don’t worry. Simply request a new quote or contact us through our online chat.

How do I organize payment?

When you’re splitting the cost of a bus rental with a big group of people, it can be difficult to quickly arrange the full payment. With our Pay Later option, you can book your charter bus rental, collect everyone’s share, and complete your purchase when you have the full amount.

Do I need to tip the driver?

The industry standard for tipping is coach bus drivers receive tips but school bus drivers do not. Our quotes include the driver’s tip, as well as taxes and any accommodations a driver would need during a trip that spans a few days. We do this to make it easier for event planners to budget their travel.

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

Charter bus prices are largely based on the driver’s hours, so waiting time and multiple stops affect the final cost. If you would like your driver to wait for you while you’re enjoying an event, let your booking specialist know so that they can factor this service into your quote.

Planning a group tour? Rent a tour bus and create your own itinerary.

Organize your own charter bus rideshare

Are you organizing transportation for an event or festival? Organize a rideshare that will shuttle your attendees from the major cities around the event’s location. You can even integrate your rideshare into your ticketing platform. Bus.com offers logistical planning, on-site assistance, branded event pages on our website, and marketing support.

Before you organize a charter bus rideshare, talk to your attendees. Find out how old they are, what kinds of comforts they expect when they travel, and where they are coming from. If you have run your event in the past, you can reach out to past attendees to find out what their transportation frustrations have been.

Find out more about festival transportation and event shuttles.

Festival Partners
Check. Double Check. Triple Check Before Departure.
Now that I’ve chartered a bus, how do I make sure my bus rental is ready?

Check and double check your itinerary, making sure that everyone has seen and acknowledged the departure and arrival times. Verify your pick-up and drop-off points with your driver and the city’s parking rules. Get everyone on the same page, then triple check! Our drivers and bus company partners are rigorously vetted, and we encourage you to communicate with them and us about any concerns you may have. We’re a transportation team!

Make sure your group is ready for departure.

Our number one tip when it comes to event planning for groups is to put all related documents into a shared folder. Give everyone access so that they can see the itinerary as it is updated and confirmed. Tip number two: reduce your stress level by telling your group members to arrive 30 minutes before departure. Finally, tip number three: make sure you have all the legal documentation (permission slips) necessary for group travel. This is especially important if you are traveling with minors!