If you haven’t traveled in a bus for years, a charter bus will surprise you with its luxurious ambiance and amenities. In some cases, they can be better than a bumpy ride in the family car, particularly when you are traveling off the highways. But if you are planning to hire a charter bus for the next group getaway or an event, it is not something you can do on the run. You must prepare a checklist and organize your charter bus tour in great detail.
So how do you go about it?
Prepare and share the itinerary
There is a certain give and take when you are traveling in a group. You must all sit together and finalize the itinerary well in advance because that has to be communicated to the charter bus company at the time of making the reservation. In particular, there should never be any ambiguity about the departure time either with the charter bus company or within the traveling group.
Compare quotes and services
Once you have crystallized the date and destination of your travel, it’s time to look up several charter bus companies and see how their fleet, reputation, service, and professionalism perform vis-à-vis their cost. Depending on your budget and required bus type and amenities, you need to shortlist or identify a charter bus company that has everything you are looking for and still fits your budget.
Verify credentials and certifications of the bus company
Confirm that the charter bus company has the certification from the Department of Transportation for operating the kind of bus you plan to hire. Also, you must find out early on whether the company is a member of recognized associations like the American Bus Association or the United Motorcoach Association. If the answer is in the affirmative, you can check online the rules of operation and safety procedures that will apply to the charter bus you are hiring. This can be your best bailout in case of a mishap or a dispute.
Check the driver’s experience and professionalism
You’ll know how good (or bad) your driver is when you undertake the journey. But that might be too late. Instead, verify all the information you can about the driver including past experiences of travelers like you before you sign on the dotted line.
Clarify the rules and promised amenities
Similar to airlines, most charter bus companies have a set of rules governing their passengers. So it is important to get these basics right and communicate them to all passengers in your group. For instance, your charter bus might allow a specific baggage number and weight, which all travelers must conform to. Make a list of promised onboard amenities and prepare accordingly. Will any food and beverage be served? Will the bus have Wi-Fi? What kind of audio-video fare will be on offer?
Liaise with group members and pay for the reservation
Like most services in this sector, you’ll be required to pay up either the whole amount or a certain percentage at the time of reservation. If the trip is outside the family with pay-per-head arrangement, collect the amount from each traveler and pay the charter bus service. That will ensure a reciprocal commitment from the charter bus company.
Traveling in a group on a charter bus is a fun-filled experience. You can make it even more exciting by taking care of the organizational part so that nothing is left to chance.