Group Planner: Steak and Bourbon, A Man’s Trip

For each year, a man’s trip must come. Fostering a bro-tastic weekend requires A) the perfect activity, and B) selecting the right wheels from charter operators listed on BusRates.com. Picking the perfect wheels for your group can accentuate the outing. It’ll allow you to set a tone for your trip or excursion, mitigate losing that one person who manages to go astray and keeping everyone safe at the same time. Below you’ll find our list of some guy-tailored fun, along with our suggestions for how to get there in proper fashion.

Put a Fork in It

Suggestion: Steaks in Chicago, New York, Kansas City, anywhere in Texas. Men and meat call for luxury. Loosen the business tie and roll up the cuffs as you lean back in captains chairs aboard an executive coach.

Made in the USA, Barrel-Aged

Suggestion: Celebrate bourbon at the Kentucky Bourbon Festival. A deluxe motor coach or full-size charter bus will get you everywhere you need to go along the bourbon trail safely and comfortably for large groups.

Drafts on Tap

Suggestion: Lift pints in Portland at one of their many beer festivals. Maybe opt for a more intimate traveling experience in a minibus with close friends for quick and easy loading and unloading at even the best-kept secret watering holes.

The Need for Speed

Suggestion: Go to the races be it the car in Indy or horse Belmont. An executive or day coach would put the outing in high gear even in between races and off the track with its comfortable lounge and office interiors.

Music to Your Ears

Suggestion: Listen to jazz in NOLA, blues in Memphis, everything in Austin. This could go many different ways—all board the yellow school bus for a conservative budget, go straight for les bon temps with a party bus or travel like a rockstar in an overnight excursion with a sleeper or entertainer bus.

Flop a Flush

Suggestion: Lose, we mean win big in Vegas baby, Atlantic City, Reno or even a Mississippi gambling boat. To win big, you’ve got to play big—ante up for a full-size limo bus with a minibar onboard (but drink responsibly!)

Fore!

Suggestion: Golf be it Pebble Beach or Ponte Vedra. A golf outing could run the full range of BusRates.com catalog of charter bus types. Go big for larger groups like reunions; mini-bus for more local travel and groups under 40; school bus for a “Caddyshack” themed trip; or an executive coach or limo bus for a high-end excursion.

Regardless of which way you’ll roll, you’re making the right choice by chartering a bus. This way you’ll have more mobility for your crew at a reasonable rate, while also keeping everyone safe (not to mention the environmental impact you’ll have by traveling as a group). Still not sure which way to hit the road? Check out our reference guide to spark more ideas.

Group Planner: Oktoberfest Celebrations in United States

 

The year was 1810. Napoleon was well on his way to conquering Europe. America was a spry 34-years old. And, over in Germany, 40,000 people gathered to celebrate a royal wedding that is now celebrated around the world, known as Oktoberfest. Given that America is one big ol’ melting pot and that we love a reason to have beer and brats, BusRates.com is running down some of the top Oktoberfests and places known for its love of Bavaria that you can still catch this season.

Leavenworth, WA:

Leavenworth, WA, raises the bar when it comes to Bavaria-kitch. All the buildings in the main part of town feature the classic dark wood with white beams, accented with flower boxes. Strolling down the streets during October you’ll find live traditional German music, great bratwurst, cold beer, alongside traditional European shops.

Torrance, CA:

Hundreds of thousands will be flocking to Torrance, CA, throughout October for the town’s annual Oktoberfest, which is the largest in Southern California. There tourists can sample the locally brewed beer and take part in in some friendly competition like pretzel-eating and beer stein-holding contests. For those who think they’ve got the chords, there’s also a yodeling competition.

Tulsa, OK:

If the West Coast is too far, then consider Tulsa, OK. That’s right Tulsa. Apparently the 918 hosts one of Bon Appetit Magazine’s top German food festivals in the US, and USA Today ranked Tulsa as one of the top ten places in the world to celebrate Oktoberfest. Beyond the wiesn and the spatzel, there’s beer barrel-racing, ceremonial keg-tapping and a parade.

Cincinnati, OH:

In other Oktoberfest news that would make Cliff Claven drool, we have learned that Cincinnati, OH holds the largest Oktoberfest in the United States and is second in the world after the one in Munich. Held in September each year, Cincinnati rolls out a good time for all with 800 barrels of beer, 80,500 brats, 56,250 sausages, 24,640 potato pancakes, 23,000 pretzels and more than 16-thousand strudel.

With all this libation, you need to roll out your barrel of buds in style and safety. Check out BusRates.com’s list of coach bus options to plan out your ride and hotel if you’re planning a longer trip. Regardless how far you’re going, let us know where you’ll be lifting a stein and how you’ll be getting there on our Facebook page.

National Parks Re-Open during Government Shutdown

 

The U.S. tourism industry is losing an estimated $152 million each day the federal government’s “non-essential” programs remain closed. With national parks in many states essential to the livelihood of travel and tourist-friendly communities, states are now taking matters into their own hands to lessen hardship for its local economies by footing the bill and re-opening the parks.

Ten days into the shutdown, news reports indicated the Obama administration moved to allow national parks to be re-opened under specific deals. An agreement was reached with the Department of the Interior which allowed state funds to be used to reopen federal parks. States are required to pony up and wire money to Washington in order to open for business. After the federal budget is passed, states will seek reimbursement.

Currently, the following parks have been temporarily re-opened:

  • New York: The Statue of Liberty, Oct 12-17
  • South Dakota: Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Oct 14-23
  • Arizona: Grand Canyon, Oct 12-18
  • Colorado: Rocky Mountain National Park, Oct 11-20
  • Utah: Eight parks, Oct 11-20
    • Arches National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Capitol Reef National Park, Cedar Breaks National Monument, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Natural Bridges National Monument, Zion National Park

Group leaders and travelers looking to visit these locations within this timeframe will be able to enjoy the parks, unaffected by the shutdown. Should the shutdown outlast these windows, states may elect to push more money through to extend the opening to visitors.

The numbers of those affected by the government shutdown are shocking. Peter Greenberg published a breakdown of the people and money that is lost each day in a travel news article. Below are just a few of the statistics, courtesy of PeterGreenberg.com:

  • 152 million: The amount of money U.S. is losing EVERY DAY in economic output because of lost travel-related activity, according to Roger Dow, president of U.S. Travel.
  • 14 million:  The economic impact the shutdown has caused the 600 operators who are members of the National Tour Association (NTA).
  • 8 million: The amount the nation’s hotel industry is losing per day, according to the American Hotel & Lodging Association. There is a 12 percent drop in business compared with the same period last year.
  • 700,000: The people who would have been visiting national parks each day.

Has the government shutdown affected your group travel plans? Have you had to cancel reservations or reschedule? We want to know about it! Send us an email by clicking here and share how your plans have changed due to the shutdown.

Holiday Group Travel Planning

 

Believe it or not we are less than a hundred days out from Christmas. So, now is the time to finalize travel plans and group travel offerings in conjunction with Thanksgiving, Christmas and the New Year.

As we discussed earlier, hitting the road in a charter bus is the smart choice for its low hassle factor and high green one. Besides it provides the opportunity for the group to relax, watch a movie or play a game. Consider building itineraries like the following for fa-la-la’ing:

Plan for Parades

According to the Travel Channel, the top five places to give thanks sitting street side with thousands of other Americans are New York, Chicago, Plymouth, MA; Detroit and Houston.

Plan to Shop

The economy and your loved ones will appreciate this trip. If you planned around Black Friday, you could package it with a parade trip, given that some of the best shopping cities are also on the parade list. Really you can’t miss any of the sparkle or shine in New York or Chicago come December.

Plan to Ski

Clearly, Colorado and Utah are where you want to head if you plan to use your skis. Forbes’ list of top locales for skiing last year included 7 out of 10 out of those two states. Of course, there’s plenty of good skiing in the Mid-Atlantics and New England. And, if you plan a trip to Vermont, you can theme it with a viewing of “White Christmas.”

Plan to Surf

If you’re looking for sand instead of snow, really there are only two options: Florida and California. Both coasts will be bursting with plenty of sunshine and surf to help defrost any early chill. We’ve heard that vitamin D makes any holiday that much merrier.

Finally, we would offer group travelers an option to do nothing but frivolity. This could be heading to a resort or spa. Maybe plan large group outings to wineries or distilleries that could be great for friends or offices to gather socially to mark the year’s end.

The key to all of it is planning the right ride for the road. We can help you with that by clicking here and using our search. We can even help you find other enhancements like attractions or restaurants. It’s all on BusRates.com to help everyone keep calm and travel on (even when it’s the holidays).

Group Planner: U.S. Gov’t Shutdown Affects Charters, Group Travel

 

Midnight on October 1, 2013 officially marked the first day of the United States federal government shutdown. The failure of the government to enact appropriations or resolutions for the 2014 fiscal year caused more than 800,000 federal employees to be furloughed and all of America’s national parks and monuments to be closed. The shutdown has the likely potential to cost the US economy billions of dollars.

The shuttering of popular tourist destinations such as Yellowstone, the Smithsonian, and Gettysburg battlefield will negatively affect plans of charter operators and tour groups in varying degrees from minor speed bumps to complete road blocks. During the shutdown of 1995-96, an estimated 7 million visitors had to deal with adjusted and incomplete itineraries as they were forced to alter their travel plans due to closures.

Today, more than 400 federally-funded national parks and museums are locked, barred from visitors. Tourists still travelling to these locations will be greeted with roped off entries, guarded facilities and instructions to turn back. The first day of the shutdown, a charter group of elderly World War 2 veterans made national news when they did not heed the newly mandated injunctions and pushed aside barricades to enter the WWII memorial in D.C.

It remains unclear whether increased enforcement would need to be exercised at closed locations if the shutdown persists. Coast to coast, popular attractions are no longer open for business: Alcatraz in San Francisco and Yosemite National Park on the West to the Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island in New York and the Washington Monument on the East.

All federal government websites are down during the shutdown, including the National Parks website. A full list of national parks can be found here, with national monuments indexed here. CNN is presently maintaining a live grid of all federal services which indicates present status.