Group Ski Trips, Wisp Resort and More

It’s well known that the continental United States has some amazing spots for skiing and group ski trips. However, if you live in the deep South or Mid-Atlantic states getting to Colorado or other points West or North can be a challenge. BusRates.com thinks you can get a snow fix without sacrificing large amounts of time and high travel expenses. Maryland, North Carolina and Tennessee each boast slopes for all experience levels.

Maryland

Maryland is home to Wisp Resort, one of the longest running operations in the region, in Western Maryland, just three hours from Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Annapolis and Washington, DC. Boasting 121 days in their season, Wisp has 32 slopes and trails over 132 acres. With more than just offering group ski trips, this is a perfect destination choise. The near-by adventure park also offers snow tubing, ice skating and Mountain Coaster. Night skiing is also available on 90-percent of the mountain.

North Carolina

The Tar Heel State is home to six ski resorts, all along the western board. Beech Mountain Resort is the highest ski elevation in the East at 5,506 feet. They have 15 slopes offering day and night skiing opportunities for your group ski trip. One of the more popular resorts is Sugar Mountain Resort with 20 slopes and trails for skiing and snowboarding across 115 acres. The peak is at 5,300 and requires a mile and a half long chairlift ride. Learn more about the other North Carolina resorts here.

Tennessee

There’s no shortage of activity options at Ober Gatlinburg, located at Mount Harrison in the heat of the Smokey Mountains. The resort has nine trails, plus a snow tubing park, just three miles from downtown Gatlinburg. You can travel between the town and the resort via the Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway, which is one of America’s largest cable cars. If you get tired of the snow, there are amusement park rides, arcades and a 62,000 sq ft mall with an ice skating rink and shops for entertainment options. Be sure to check them out when you are planning your group ski trips.

Virginia and West Virginia also offer multiple options for skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing and snowmobiling with your group. All of this to say that you don’t have to head West to hit the slopes. Now the key will be choosing the right charter, where to stay and maybe even where to eat. That’s where BusRates.com can help with our search directories, featuring charter bus owners/operators and hotels that are members of the National Tour Association.

Fly Or Drive? Air Travel Vs Road Cruising by Motorcoach

One of our favorite films this time of year is the Steve Martin & John Candy classic, “Planes, Trains and Automobiles.” Though we seem to think that if the movie were made today it would be more like “Fly, Ride and TSA.” The hassles associated with taking a plane multiply like tribbles during the holidays—weather can cause a ripple of delays and TSA and its challenges cause delays of its own. That coupled with costs and lack of flexibility make staying on the ground a more appealing option. So, if you ask us fly or drive? You know what we’ll suggest… Apparently, we aren’t alone in that opinion.

According to AAA, 85.8 million people will be traveling via automobile during the year’s end. That’s a .09 percent increase over the 85.1 million who drove last year. Meanwhile, air travel is expected to decrease 1.4 percent. Now, unfortunately those 85.8 million are not coordinating their travel. Only 3.13 will be using a more economic or environmentally favorite option like the bus. Fly or drive? road travel wins in this case!

By creating a trip that connects people to their family in a timely manner, you could remove 56 cars off the road. Plus, that coach bus is 475% more efficient than a hybrid vehicle in the amount of fuel used per passenger. Charter buses provide over 206 passenger miles per gallon of fuel compared to 92 passenger MPG for commuter rail, 44 passenger MPG for domestic air carrier and 27 MPG for single passenger automobiles. Another figure to consider is that for a four hour trip a single car emits approximately 400 pounds of carbon dioxide. For that same trip, a coach bus emits approximately just 150 pounds of carbon dioxide.

We also have an opportunity to provide travelers more variety in their coach options to meet their needs. For most holiday travel, the most appropriate options would probably be the charter bus/deluxe motor coach that seats up to 60, and comes with a restroom and entertainment options onboard. Alternatively, a mini-bus could be a great option for those groups up to 40.

Regardless of which option you choose for this holiday season, in 2014 or beyond, know that a charter is an option that is three and four times more efficient that other cars or airplanes. So if you’re group is looking at eco-friendly travel, then our coaches should be your first choice. Check out the modern buses that coach operators have available for rental in their fleets here!

Group Planner: Top 5 Group Travel Articles

Over the past year we’ve published dozens of articles related to group travel planning and motorcoach passenger transportation. This week we’re looking back at our top 5 favorite blogs for planners and hope that these articles inspire you to keep BusRates.com your “charter partner” in 2014.

Our five favorite articles from our Charter Partner blog are listed below

1) Ten Great Places for Group Travel Inspiration

First up is the decision of a destination. Check out our list of the top 10 group travel locations for some travel inspiration. We paired destinations by theme and hope these cities make your bucket list to visit. How many have you been to?

2) Creating an Agenda of Attractive Attractions

The next important aspect of a successful group trip is to have fun at the destination. Find our suggestions to create an agenda of attractive attractions for your charter group. Grab a calendar and plot out all the best spots, but keep in mind certain attractions handle large tour groups much more efficiently and will provide your group with a better time. Our tips should help you determine which attractions and events will provide the best experience for your party.

3) A Man’s Trip

Now that you’ve got your destination and criteria for activities for the group, we can take a gander at some specific group type scenarios. We had a lot of fun coming up with attractions and motor coach pairings for a group trip for men. Our ideas for a bro-tastic weekend include bacon, bourbon and games. Check out these ideas for an unforgettable trip.

4) Travel with Kids – Plan a Grand Slam

Now is also a great time to plan for spring and summer trips. The 2014 Major League Baseball season begins March 22nd, and pairs well with our suggestions for kid travel. Round up the little rascals and hit the road to tour some of the most famous baseball diamonds and visit local educational hotspots with our article of group travel ideas for kids. Sports and history will come alive across the United States with these suggestions from coast to coast.

5) Buses & Bouquets: A Perfect Combination for Your Wedding

Our list of our top 5 favorite articles from 2013 ends with one of the most memorable events in life. Like the special union between groups and travel, this article is all about weddings. Get all the details on wedding bus rental transportation for your guests. Shuttle patrons between the ceremony and reception with grace using a motorcoach, and focus on the day at hand instead of transportation worries by reading these tips for a wedding day.

Stick with BusRates.com for more travel inspiration, tips and knowledge when chartering a bus in 2014

In 2014 we’ll continue to provide more fun, helpful resources for group leaders looking for inspiration or knowledge about chartering buses and planning group itineraries. Find these articles in the Charter Partner area of BusRates.com. We look forward to another year full of fun group travel ideas and adventures.

Celebrate New Years Eve on a Party Bus

Music pounding; all your friends dancing until their feet fall off; lights flashing in tempo and champagne chilling till it’s Artic cold. That’s how you should ring in 2014, but not at just one hot spot. We think the hot spot should be any place you and your friends are at, and that includes being on the road. Think about having your New Year’s Eve party start from the second you get on board your party bus, and rolling with you through as many stops as you can handle till the ball drops!

Party buses really are a simple solution to many big celebration logistical issues. Party buses vary from company to company, but, in general, think of your beloved school bus with a funky makeover outside and a limo on the inside (check out our detailed guide on party buses). Most have ice boxes to keep the adult beverages cold, and a sound system to keep the party hot. Some other features could include:

  • Flat screen TVs with satellite or DVD playback
  • Sound systems with CD or Ipod plug-ins
  • Fiber optic lighting
  • Bar setup
  • Leather seats

Beyond comfort and style, you get a ride that can accommodate the entire crew (usually up to 45) and you know they’ll stay safe. That means all your attention can be on the party, and not worrying about folks getting lost or even worse DUIs.

You can also keep dancing while a licensed and insured driver worries about all parking and navigating traffic to your select spots. He/she will provide quality service for each stop of the night, making sure you have fun and safe into the new year. They pick the group up at the designated spot and drive to the destinations you determine. Then, drop everyone off again, thanks to your reliable driver.

As we’ve shared before, using buses is one of the safest ways to roll and you can go in grand style. If you’re interested in a party bus or maybe something a little more subdued, but equally safe for getting your group around this New Year’s Eve, be sure to use our charter bus finder to find a company near you.

“Ring out the old, ring in the new. Ring happy bells, across the snow. The year is going, let him go. Ring out the fast, ring in the true.” ~ Lord Alfred Tennyson

 

Group Vacation Ideas for 2014

There’s something invigorating about throwing away an old calendar and filling up a new one. If your brand new 2014 calendar is blank, now is a great time to begin planning your group vacations. Check out our group vacation ideas and add in some of your own. The folks at Lonely Planet launched their annual list of top U.S. destinations, and we at BusRates.com see it as a road map for planning this year’s group vacations ideas. Below you’ll find their top five destinations for 2014 and why we think they are great trips for your group travel.

1) Grand Rapids, MI, and the Gold Coast

This area has to have one of the most intriguing combinations of offerings. Over the past couple of years, there’s been a boom of craft beer breweries and suds-centric tourism throughout the area, including festivals in February and August. Then, there’s a hidden art scene with the Grand Rapids Art Museum hosting a Rodin exhibit through January, Lautrec as part of its standing collection, as well as being home to the world’s largest art competition called ArtPrize. You can then add to the mix more than 300 miles of sugar beaches tracing Lake Michigan. We think Michigan might hold the key to a magical group getaway.]

2) Yosemite National Park, CA

2014 marks the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Yosemite Grant by President Abraham Lincoln, which set the foundation for the National Park Service. So, why not take your group travel out to Yosemite National Park to celebrate? Boasting such wonders as El Capitan, Half Dome, Inspiration Point and Yosemite Falls (the tallest in North America) it’s no secret as to why Yosemite is the third-most visited national park with more than 3.8 million visitors last year.

3) Boston, MA

Boston is always a good idea for a memorable group trip. This capital city has much to offer a diverse group—history with the Freedom Trail, strong cultural exposure in the North End, the World Champion Boston Red Sox and the list goes on and on. In 2014, Boston will also host the 100th annual U.S. Figure Skating Championships to determine the U.S. Winter Olympics team. That happens in January, and is followed in the Spring with what is being promoted as the second largest Boston Marathon in history with 36,000 runners.

4) Central Coast, CA

Sure you could go straight to LA or San Francisco, but the area in between holds coastal gems, making this group vacation idea make our #4 spot. Trekking up Highway 1 might be a smaller group excursion and may be best for a minibus rental. However, the views will be worth it. Up and down the coast there are cliff-top lookouts, sea lion colonies, tide pools to explore, plus manmade eye candy, such as the Hearst Castle, Spanish missions and wineries. The awe-inspiring drive takes you by Big Sur with stops in great towns like Monterey, Carmel-by-the-Sea and Santa Barbara. Lonley Planet actually lays out a very detailed agenda to churn up inspiration.

5) Jersey Shore, NJ

Planning a large group vacation to the great Jersey shore is mutually beneficial to your group travelers and the ongoing Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts. As we get into 2014, New Jersey will be in a great place to facilitate the needs of tourists while offering loads of enjoyment and entertainment. Consider it a group travel trip that has a nod to a different era where the beach included salt water taffy and boardwalk games. If R&R is too slow, then consider the games of chance in Atlantic City. Of all the places along the Jersey Shore, AC is the most prepared for handling larger groups. Be sure to check out their tourism site for group travel details.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our group vacation ideas! Once you pick your destination, we can help you fill in the details with our detailed search engines for choosing your motorcoach, hotel, restaurants for large groups and even help in finding events.