Complete Guide To Charter & Tour Bus Etiquette Rules

So you’re prepping for your next group excursion. Great!

You and your friends, family, or fellow travelers are ready to enjoy a day trip, a weekend out of town, or a multi-day adventure across the United States. You’ve got a lot of fun stuff to look forward to—like Chicago museums, Las Vegas casinos, Austin concerts, and Orlando amusement parks—and you’ve made all the arrangements, including your charter bus rental.

But then you realize: You’ve never actually ridden on a charter bus before.

Not so great.

Are there specific rules your group needs to know? Should you tip your bus driver? Is the onboard WiFi going to be slow? What happens if your bus needs to make an unscheduled stop?

Don’t worry—we’re here to help.

At Price 4 Limo, we believe in giving you more than just bus transportation. We want to make your experience from beginning to end as easy, and comfortable as possible—and that includes offering up some handy advice on how to be a great charter bus passenger. Just call 1-866-265-5479 with your headcount, budget, and itinerary in mind. Our team of travel experts will be available 365 days a year to guide you through the rental process, answer any questions you have, and even provide you with a free, personalized quote.

charter bus etiquette guide

Pack Light and Label All Bags

Charter buses generally have more storage space than a commercial plane, but that doesn’t mean you should feel free to pack a 50-pound suitcase for a one-day trip! In most cases, each passenger will have room to store one checked piece of luggage in the undercarriage storage bay as well as a smaller, carry-on-sized bag overhead, above the seats. Try to keep your checked luggage under 62 inches to be safe, and don’t hesitate to contact your Price 4 Limo representative if you’re not sure if your luggage will fit. We also have a complete charter bus packing guide where you can learn more details about how what to bring and what space to expect!).

To avoid confusion with other passengers’ items during the luggage loading and unloading process, we also highly recommend labeling your bags. Sew on a fun luggage tag or even tie a bright bandana to the strap of your bag to make it stand out from the crowd and minimize the chance of someone grabbing it by mistake.

Keep Valuables in your Carry-on

The luggage bay underneath your charter bus will be inaccessible during transit, so keep your valuables in your carry-on bag. This includes things like wallets, credit cards, medication, jewelry, and any electronics you don’t plan on using during your trip. If you’re traveling to an athletic event with lots of heavy equipment or with a sports team for a tournament across state lines, you may want to consider packing your uniform and shoes in your carry-on bag as well.

charter bus luggage space

When organizing business transportation for a corporate event, convention or team-building day, remind employees to keep electronics like cell phones and laptops in their carry-on bags as well. The luggage bay will be locked throughout the ride, and although you won’t have to worry about theft, it can be a hassle to wait for your driver to unlock it if your phone battery dies in the middle of the trip.

Bring Snacks—But Be a Courteous Eater

When you’re organizing a group road trip, everyone gets hungry. And although your bus can be booked to stop at a restaurant or at rest stops for food, having snacks on-board can help fight off “hanger.” You can organize a group of parents or students to pick up snacks before a school trip or encourage each individual to bring along the food they want. Either way, you’ll want to be thoughtful of your fellow passengers and their senses when you’re enjoying your munchies on the bus.

Keep the smelly, greasy, or messy foods out of your carry-on, as the pungent smells can be overwhelming in an enclosed space like your bus rental’s cabin. Also, since you’ll be in a moving vehicle, you’ll want to choose snacks that won’t easily spill.

Be Considerate of Other Passengers

Everyone travels differently, so remember to be mindful of other passengers. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Keep your voice down. Try to keep any conversations at a reasonable level. Don’t forget that some of your fellow passengers might be sleeping, studying, or listening to music or reading a good book (here are some of our top book recommendations!).
  • Minimize movement. Avoid kicking the back of the seat in front of you or stretching out too much into the aisle. Remember: You’re sharing a space with others! You can find some of our best bus ride stretching tips here.
  • Keep your electronics turned down or muted. If you’re planning on watching movies, TV shows, or listening to music or audiobooks on board, please be sure to bring headphones. This will help you tune out any conversations or noise on your bus and also keep your fellow passengers from being forced to listen to a movie they may not be interested in.
  • Use the bathroom sparingly. Your charter bus will most likely have an on-board restroom for emergencies or if a passenger needs to go to the bathroom between stops. However, you’ll want to take advantage of the more spacious restrooms at rest stops whenever possible, as bus restrooms are relatively small and only include a toilet and hand-washing station.

Follow the Driver’s Rules

Just like when you’re flying on an airplane, a charter bus rental will have a driver who is in charge! Your bus driver will be there to take you to and from so please be coutoures to him or her. Say thank you, listen to their directions and of course — don’t forget to leave a tip

Stay Organized At Each Stop

bus driving on road

Timeliness and respect for your driver’s schedule is one of the most important aspects of ensuring an easy group trip. Each destination on your itinerary will have a pickup time to keep your group on track with your planned schedule.

When your bus makes a stop, gather your things ahead of time to avoid holding up other travelers, and return to your designated loading area in a timely fashion. Before you leave the bus, make sure you know where and when the bus will depart from—you don’t want to miss the ride! If your group is relatively large, consider choosing someone to be in charge of communicating the departure time to ensure everyone makes it back to the bus promptly.

It’s important to understand that bus drivers can only drive 10 consecutive hours before taking a required 8-hour break. That means if your trip requires more than 10 consecutive hours of driving time, you will need a second driver at an added cost.

If your trip includes overnight stays, you’ll also need to factor in the costs of a driver’s hotel room. Each charter bus rental company may have different hotel requirements for drivers, so be sure to ask about these when you book your trip. We generally suggest booking a 3-star hotel or higher for driver accommodations. Although it isn’t a formal requirement in most cases, we want your bus driver to have comfortable and relaxing lodging, so they will be well-rested for the journey ahead.

Clean Up After Yourself

If you happen to spill sticky foods or drinks, be sure to clean them up before the end of your bus ride. Leaving spills or food waste behind on the bus may result in your group being required to pay a cleaning fee.

To keep messes to a minimum, consider bringing a couple of small garbage bags to collect trash from your group. It’s a small act of kindness that bus drivers will appreciate—we guarantee it. Before leaving the bus, do a quick check to make sure your seats and surrounding floor area is free of crumbs, spills, and trash.

Show Your Appreciation

Tipping is never mandatory, but it is always a lovely way to show your gratitude for an excellent travel experience. For a charter bus or minibus rental, tipping is generally not included in the initial quote but can always be organized with your rental company in advance if you’d like.

If your group is satisfied with their trip, it’s common to tip bus drivers between 10% and 20% of your total rental cost.

Enjoy the Ride

We have charter bus rental options that include various entertainment features, from WiFi and power outlets at each seat to TV monitors and DVD players for group movie watching. You can even request a bus with a PA system if your group wants to sing along with their favorite road trip playlist.

No matter where your group travels may take you — from San Diego to Virginia Beach and the 1,000+ US cities we serve---, make the most of your bus ride by enjoying the journey as much as the destination. Relax and unwind in comfortable reclining seats, or organize a few group games to keep everyone in the travel spirit.

Traveling to a conference or business event? Your colleagues can catch up on emails or work on team projects together in a quiet atmosphere. For those looking for an escape from the usual 9-5 office grind, it’s not every day you can get to see the country for work while riding in a state-of-the-art motorcoach!

Plan Your Charter Bus Trip Today

Ready to hit the road? Once you’ve decided on where your group is going, what amenities you’d like, and how long you’ll need a bus, call Price 4 Limo at 1-866-265-5479 to get a free personalized quote and make your reservation. From a relaxing wedding shuttle in Napa to a customized cross-country corporate road trip in Massachusetts, we’ll take care of the transportation so you can focus on the fun.