Whether you're planning a trip for friends and family or organizing a get-together for coworkers and colleagues, planning a charter bus trip is the perfect way for your group to experience new sights and have fun.

When it comes to planning a trip, you aren't limited to a particular type of bus. The following offers a rundown of the most common types of buses used for charter trips and a few pointers on choosing the right one for your group.


Motorcoaches are the standard for long-distance travel and chartered tours. Not only do most buses offer accommodations for up to 57 passengers and their luggage, they also come with plenty of attractive comfort and convenience features. Reclining seats, TV/DVD systems and working restrooms are just some of the features common on most coaches. Many luxury-oriented coaches offer additional goodies, such as Wi-Fi Internet access and leather seating.

Daily rates for motorcoaches usually start out at around $1,300 and up, depending on the duration of the trip. In most cases, motorcoaches are rented out for one-day trips or on the days of arrival and departure of a destination for multi-day trips.


If you have fewer than 30 passengers on hand, a minibus makes for an excellent alternative to a full-fledged motorcoach. Minibuses offer most, if not all of the amenities of the average motorcoach, save for a restroom. They're also relatively affordable, with rental costs ranging from $450 to $975.

While most minibuses are intended for relatively short trips under a 150-200 mile radius, many companies offer long-distance mid-sized coaches with the same relative footprint as a minibus, but with a few additional features including a working restroom.

Double-Decker Buses

It's hard to run out of room on the average motorcoach, but a popular destination can easily bring packed crowds. If you find yourself with more than 60 people on your trip, you'll definitely want to step up to a double-decker bus.

Rarely seen in the U.S. in years past, double-decker buses are becoming a more common sight on the roads thanks to a few budget-minded bus companies. These buses are well-known for their high-capacity seating, accommodating up to 84 passengers at once. Double-decker buses offer most, if not all of the conveniences of the average motorcoach on moderate to long trips, but they're also more expensive to hire out.

School Buses

Don't laugh – those bright safety orange-colored conveyances of your youth make for a surprisingly economical form of transport for you and your guests. The average cost of a rental runs from about $350 to as much as $925, making them surprisingly affordable to hire as well.

The average school bus accommodates up to 44 adults or 65 children, on average. However, most school buses lack the luggage storage space of ordinary motorcoaches, as well as the restroom facilities or the smooth ride offered by larger buses either. For this reason, you'll want to limit your trips to a 200-mile radius and plan for pit stops along the way.  

Finding the Perfect Bus Size

Finding the right bus size isn't as difficult as it might seem. Keep the following pointers in mind as you make your plans with charter bus services:

  • Get a head-count of the number of guests accompanying you on the trip. Be sure to set a deadline, as you don't want last-minute additions to throw your plans off-balance.
  • Figure out how far you're going and how many days you intend to reserve the bus. Keep passenger comfort and convenience in mind. After all, a motorcoach is supremely more comfortable than a school bus for those long-distance journeys.
  • Make sure your destination can accommodate the bus you've chosen. Most places offer parking for motorcoaches just for this reason.

Following the above advice will make your bus trip planning much easier, especially when it comes to choosing the right type of bus for your journey.