A bus trip does not just happen on its own: It requires plenty of planning and organization so that itineraries run smoothly and all participants have an enjoyable experience. If you've been tasked with planning a bus trip, you'll need to determine travel times, schedule an itinerary, send out invitations, and book a charter bus service.
Here are some tips for planning a successful bus trip:
1. Choose a date and destination. Choose a date and destination for your bus trip. Then, make calls to book accommodation or activities at the destination. If your group will be visiting theme parks or museums, contact the venue to arrange discounted group entrance fees.
2. Book a charter bus service. Ring a number of reputable charter bus services and request a quote. Find out what kind of buses they offer – how many people do they hold? Are they air conditioned? Is there a bathroom onboard? Is there a TV / DVD player? Agree on a deadline for providing a final head count, as well as a cancellation policy. Find out if the bus company would allow you to make a last-minute change of bus if your numbers are larger or smaller than anticipated.
3. Create an itinerary. Create an itinerary based on the destination and possible routes. With the help of the charter bus service, decide on how many stopping points will be needed along the way to help make the trip comfortable and what activities are available along the route. Estimate a per person cost for the trip based on bus fees, entrance fees and any incidentals.
4. Send invitations. Send invitations to group members, including the trip date, duration, departure time and return time, cost per person, and when the fee is due. Ask the group to RSVP by a date that's at least 4 or 5 days before the date your final head count is due to the bus company – this allows you to easily manage any last-minute fluctuations in numbers.
5. Manage reservations. Keep a spreadsheet listing all reservations, contact information and whether money has been paid. Email the itinerary to group members as they register.
6. Confirm the charter bus service. Confirm the activities at your destination and the charter bus service three to five days before the trip.
7. Prepare on-board materials. Select some DVDs that can provide entertainment to the group during travel and make sure you have a first aid kit (which the charter bus company may provide) and any other on-board materials.
8. Greet your group. On the day of the trip, arrive at least 30 minutes before the scheduled departure time to introduce yourself to the charter bus service driver and greet members of the group as they arrive.
By following these simple steps, you'll be able to successfully plan and execute a bus trip that runs smoothly for your group members. Along the way, communicate points of interest and always give clear scheduling instructions to the group – that is, when and where they need to meet after each stop. Finally, stay calm, relax, and enjoy the ride!