Renting a charter bus is a great way to enjoy your group excursion. But is it a safe way to travel? What should you know about bus safety before making your next reservation? How can you improve safety conditions for your fellow bus travelers?
How Governments Regulate Bus Travel
In the United States, all bus travel is regulated by the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration). These rules are designed to keep drivers alert and equipment operating within acceptable limits. To maintain compliance, charter bus companies must register with the US Department of Transportation and the FMCSA. At the time of registration, companies must present proof of an active insurance policy with a value of at least $5 million in coverage.
In order to legally operate a motorcoach in the United States, drivers must:
Be age 21 or older.
Possess the ability to speak and write English fluently.
Complete an approved motorcoach safety course.
Obtain a CDL with passenger endorsement.
These requirements ensure that drivers have a solid knowledge and experience base that allows them to avoid accidents, respond in emergency situations, and keep their passengers safe throughout the journey.
In Canada, charter bus operations are regulated by the Motor Carrier Division of Transport Canada, charter buses that travel on Canadian roads are held to high safety standards. These include:
Obtaining a safety fitness certificate that validates equipment, knowledge, and experience.
Adhering to hours of service and rest rules that prevent fatigue-related accidents.
Observing required recording procedures for work hours and equipment maintenance.
Governments set the minimum standards for passenger safety on charter buses.
Ways to Make Your Bus Trip More Secure
Implement these tips in your planning process to safeguard your group’s wellbeing during bus travel.
Check the rental company’s safety records in the United States. Canadians renters do not have this option. However, you may find more information on a company’s performance record by calling your provincial office.
Search the company’s name online. Reading reviews on 3rd party sites will give you a good idea of what previous renters have encountered.
Pack emergency supplies like extra food and water, flashlights, and space blankets. Even on short trips, these items can be a lifesaver if things go wrong.
Visually inspect the bus with the driver before hitting the road. Look for obvious signs of damage, worn or flat tires, or other signs of unaddressed wear-and-tear.
Statistically, bus travel is far safer than driving a regular passenger vehicle. With knowledge of government standards and a little research, you can increase those odds even further.
Planning a group bus trip? Get the facts on bus safety before you start your journey.
Group travel for students is an opportunity for young people to explore the world in a safe and structured way.
However, their curiosity and lack of experience can lead them into trouble when they’re away from home. Here are some tips organizers can use to make their next student travel trip seamless and stress-free.
Inform and Document
Make sure everyone has the right information to keep your trip on track.
Use your cell phone to store pictures of receipts, ticket stubs, and accommodation records. This makes it easier to access and share with parents or other chaperones.
A database app is helpful for accessing digital copies of your student’s emergency contact, medical, and food allergy information.
You should also schedule a meeting with parents and students to discuss the details of overnight trips. Discuss expectations, review rules, and give parents a copy of your travel itinerary.
Keep records easily accessible to reduce communication problems that can stall your travel plans.
Packing and Moving
These tips address the logistics of moving groups of people and their stuff over long distances.
Charter a private bus instead of relying on public transportation to reduce the chances of students going astray. As an example, a bus with a bathroom reduces time-delays and keeps student under the watchful eye of chaperones.
Limit the amount of luggage each traveler can bring to ensure there’s enough room for everyone. Ask your bus company representative to help you calculate the dimensions and weight capacities.
Finally, distribute a list with essential items to bring along on the trip. Make sure parents have plenty of time to obtain needed items.
These simple steps are a big help in making student trips successful.
Keep minors accountable and out of harm’s way with these tips.
Schedule mandatory check-ins throughout your trip. To do this have students gather at a central location periodically that way you can ensure everyone is still following the program. Alternatively, chaperones can have their students text or send pictures to confirm their location.
Also, assign travel buddies at the beginning of the trip. With groups of 2 or 3 students, it’s less likely that one will be tempted to break the rules or fall victim to an accident.
One more idea, give students a written or digital copy of the itinerary. Include times to meet up, eat meals, curfew, and other relevant schedule points.
Student group travel doesn’t have to be stressful. With proper planning and clear documentation procedures, organizers can achieve the perfect educational experience for their students.
Buses with bathrooms reduce unnecessary stops and make your trip more comfortable for seniors, youngsters, and others who might have a hard time holding on between rest stops.
Coaches with built-in bars allow groups to enjoy adult beverages during the sightseeing tour. This is a great way to start off bachelorette parties, birthday celebrations, and other adult festivities.
Traveling from Canada or another part of the United States? Get a coach with a DVD player combo to help pass the long hours you spend driving to your destination.
Charter buses let you customize your group vacation experience.
Do Something Different
Experience the crisp New England air in a new way with these suggestions for your next trip.
Rent bicycles for your group. Cruise around beaches, residential neighborhoods, and rural towns to get an upfront look at what New England autumn has to offer.
Take some time to visit the many historical sites in the New England states. From political strife to the roots of cultural identity, New England has played an important role in the formation of the United States.
See the fall leaves from the deck of a rented pontoon boat. If you aren’t comfortable with your aquatic navigation skills, you can hire a boat and captain to take you out on the Atlantic Ocean or another body of water.
The leaves aren’t the only things worth seeing in New England during the fall! Add these activities to your itinerary to make the trip more exciting for everyone in your group.
Stick to a Theme
Want to make your trip more fun without spending any extra money? Give your trip a theme to make it even more special.
Make your group trip into a foodie exploration. Map out some famous local restaurants, eateries, farms, and food production plants to visit.
For more physically active groups, a hiking trip lets you see the natural beauty of fall on the East Coast without the crowds.
Sports enthusiasts could fill an entire itinerary with visits to monuments, stadiums, and sports-themed museums.
Whether your trip lasts one day or an entire week, these tips will make your next group trip to New England unforgettable.
Bus travel is a great way for school, sports, and community groups to take part in a variety of stimulating activities.
From away games to academic decathlons, student-age groups gain valuable life experiences from these trips. However, underage group travel presents some unique challenges for chaperones. How can responsible adults keep their group of youngsters and teens safe, accountable, and compliant throughout their bus ride?
Prioritize Rest Stops
Integrate rest stops into your travel plan to burn off excess energy and keep boredom at bay.
Schedule a rest stop for every two hours of travel. Give them 15-20 minutes at each stop to use the bathroom, get a drink, or take some time to themselves.
Take advantage of distractions. Museums, parks, and historical markers are a clever way to add special value to your trip while giving little ones the chance to move around unrestricted.
For meal times, stop at a restaurant or picnic area. Give children plenty of time to eat and rest before heading back onto the road.
Frequent rest stops may delay your arrival but they will definitely increase your travel comfort.
Keep Them Busy
Preempt any possible troublemaking by keeping young travelers occupied on the bus.
Pack travel-friendly games and activities. Playing cards, Bingo sets, and coloring books are some travel-friendly ideas.
Singing is fun, creates a sense of unity, and uses a lot of muscles. When young travelers get rowdy, lead them in a few choruses of your favorite song.
Use car games to bring the group together. For a competitive twist, split the group into teams. Make sure to reward the winners.
You don’t need electronics to enjoy a road trip with kids and teenagers.
Plan for Safety
Keep mischief to a minimum to ensure the safety of your entire group.
Assign accountability partners at the beginning of the trip. This is especially important if there aren’t many chaperones.
Consider tours and other guided activities to minimize the chance of wayward students slipping away or getting lost.
Include a list in your first aid kit that notes any special allergies or medical conditions your young travelers might have.
Take measures to protect youngsters from potential dangers on the road.
Feed Them Well
Avoid hunger-induced tantrums and troubles by making sure everyone has plenty of fuel to keep them going.
Pack healthy snacks like crackers and cheese, veggies with peanut butter, and fresh fruit to satiate them in-between meal stops.
Try to schedule meal stops before hitting the road. Use the internet to find cafes, fast food, and other eateries on your path.
Restrict the consumption of soda, candy, and other sugary foods so kids aren’t forced to sit still through a sugar rush.
A full belly also ensures that everyone is ready to have fun when you finally reach your destination!
Group travel with kids and teens doesn’t have to be a hassle. Use these tips to keep everyone calm and happy on your next bus trip.
When you travel in a group, everyone gets a good deal. But did you know that, with a little research and planning, you can lower out-of-pocket travel costs even more?
How can you get the best group travel deals on hotels, event seating, transportation, and other accommodations for your group trip? Use these tips to spend less while having more fun.
Choose your arrival and departure dates carefully to shave some dollars off of your vacation bill.
During the winter months, resorts and venues offer significantly reduced prices to woo chilly travelers out of their comfortable homes. January is the cheapest month for most travel destinations.
Want to go sightseeing in a major city without breaking your budget? Plan your trip for the week after a major concert, sports event, or another gathering. After large events, accommodation providers usually slash prices to keep rooms occupied.
Be flexible with your timeline to realize big savings on your group travel plans.
Get Professional Help
Skip the discount sites and get help from a professional travel planner for an awesome yet low-cost trip. Here are some of the ways travel planners lower your travel costs.
Experienced travel planners develop a network of hotels, local guides, and event coordinators. These connections allow them access to deals and discounts others don’t even know to exist.
Besides their connections, travel planners have exclusive knowledge about many travel locations. They can use that information to find the best accommodations in your budget range.
Discount travel websites make it difficult to book multiple rooms or seats. Your travel planner can arrange for blocks of accommodations while still securing a healthy discount.
Working with a travel planner is an investment in your superior vacation experience.
Do It Yourself
Why pay for something you can do yourself? Take matters into your own hands to realize the most savings on your group excursion. Best way to do this is to use BusRates!
Instead of purchasing plane tickets, rent a charter bus for your trip. You’ll get privacy, convenience, and the ability to set your own schedule with less money than it takes to buy several seats on public transportation.
Make it a camping trip! If you’re traveling to an area near a campground, skip the overpriced hotels. This is a great option for groups of teens and youngsters.
Don’t let road trip food ruin your travel budget. Pack snacks and drinks in coolers before you set off for your adventure.
Use these tips to make your group travel more fun and affordable for everyone.