Your Complete Charter Bus Packing and Carry-On Guide

Planning a big group trip can be nervewracking—especially when it comes to packing. But before you start stuffing those suitcases, take a deep breath and ask yourself: “Am I really going to need six pairs of shoes for a weekend trip?” If the answer is “probably not,” (and let’s be honest, it probably is) you might want to rethink your packing strategy before you run out of room on the bus.

At Price 4 Limo, we want your travel experience to be smooth sailing from start to finish, which is why we’ve put together this guide to help you pack like a pro for your next charter bus rental. Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or this is your first time boarding a motorcoach, we’ll cover everything you need to know—from how much storage space to expect to what essentials you should always keep in your carry-on.

Ready to pack smart? Keep on reading! And when you’re ready to book your charter bus rental, give us a call at 866-265-5479. Our professional reservations team has over 10+ years of experience and is always happy to answer any transportation-related questions and offer a free, personalized quote.

Your Complete Charter Bus Packing and Carry-On Guide | Price 4 Limo Travel Guide

How Much Storage Space Does a Charter Bus Have?

Before you start pulling out every suitcase in your closet, you’ll want to know how much room you actually have to work with. But like most things when it comes to charter buses, the answer is: it depends. The exact amount of storage space you get boils down to a few factors—the bus model you book and how many people are in your group being the most important.

If you’re traveling with a smaller group for a shorter trip, a minibus rental is likely to be your best bet. These compact vehicles are great for zipping around town and navigating tight city streets, but the trade-off is that you won’t have as much storage space. Most minibuses don’t come with undercarriage luggage compartments, though larger models may have a bit of extra room in the back. When you’re booking your trip with a Price 4 Limo representative, be sure to let them know how much luggage you’re planning to bring, and we’ll try to find a minibus that can accommodate everything.

charter bus overhead bins

On the other hand, if you’re traveling with a larger group or on a longer trip, you’ll probably want a full-sized charter bus. Think of it like an airplane—you’ll have space for one carry-on bag in the overhead storage compartment and one larger piece of luggage (like a suitcase) to be stored beneath the bus. The dimensions of your luggage should add up to 60 inches or less. As long as your carry-on can fit in the overhead bin or beneath the seat in front of you, you should be good to go.

charter bus luggage space

What to Bring Onboard the Bus

The overhead storage bins on most charter buses are about 9 x 16 x 20 inches. Each compartment is intended to fit about two bags—similar to the overhead storage you’d find on an airplane.

While a small suitcase or duffel bag will work, we recommend choosing a tote bag or backpack as your carry-on. That way, you’ll have plenty of room to store your essentials without taking up too much space in the overhead bin.

We also suggest trying to keep your carry-on bag pretty light. We’re not going to weigh your bag when you board the bus, so if it’s a little on the heavier side, don’t stress it! Just be mindful of how much space your belongings are taking up, especially if you’re sharing the overhead bin with another passenger.

What to Put Below the Bus

Now that we’ve covered what should go in your carry-on, let’s talk about what can be stored in the luggage bay below the bus. This is where you’ll put your bulkier items, like suitcases full of clothes, shoes, and toiletries, as well as any larger equipment (sports gear, musical instruments, etc.).

Just keep in mind that the luggage bay will be inaccessible during transit. That means if you need something from your suitcase during the trip, you’ll have to wait for the next pit stop. So be sure to pack your essentials in your carry-on!

What to Pack for Short Trips

If you’re only planning a day trip, you’ll want to resist the urge to bring your entire wardrobe. It’s easy to think, “Look at all this space! I can fit way more than a day’s worth of stuff.” But trust us—you don’t want to be stuck lugging around an unnecessarily heavy bag.

To keep your packing light and efficient, here are a few tips:

Sporting Events

Sports teams, tailgating enthusiasts, and spectators alike—we know it’s easy to overpack for a big game. But the more organized you are, the less you’ll have to haul around. If you’re traveling with a group of fans for a tailgating party, coordinate who’s bringing what beforehand to avoid duplicate coolers, chairs, and tents. No need to bring everything but the kitchen sink!


Whether you’re attending a bachelorette party or wedding shuttle service is on your docket, we know wedding-related trips can come with a lot of luggage. Think about everything you’ll need for a day or two—outfits for the ceremony and reception, a gift for the happy couple, maybe a change of shoes for dancing—and try to streamline where you can. If you’re packing for a bachelorette party weekend, you can even coordinate outfit colors with your friends! That way, you can share accessories and avoid bringing a dozen pairs of shoes.

Trips with Kids

If you’re taking a group of students on a school field trip or chaperoning a youth group on an outing, consider asking everyone to bring a drawstring bag or a small backpack, rather than a bulky everyday backpack. That way, you can maximize storage space on the bus and avoid a pile of backpacks blocking the aisle. You can even work with your school or organization to provide drawstring bags for students who can’t afford them.

What to Pack for Long Road Trips

Now, let’s talk about the trips that will keep you on the road for more than a day—the ones that require a little more planning in terms of packing. Even if you’re attending a conference or taking a class on a multi-day field trip, a few comfort-focused items will help you make the most of the long hours you’ll be spending on the bus.

Here are a few essentials to keep in mind:

comfortable charter bus trips

1. Chargers & Power Bricks

With Price 4 Limo charter buses, you have the option to request WiFi and power outlets at each seat. So go ahead, bring your tablet or small laptop! Just make sure to keep your chargers in your carry-on bag. You don’t want to be stuck with a dead device and a charger that’s buried beneath a mountain of luggage.

2. Headphones

Unless you’re traveling with a small group and everyone is on board with watching a movie together, be a courteous passenger and bring your headphones. You can use them to catch up on your favorite podcasts, listen to an audiobook, or block out noise while you take a nap. If you are planning to watch a movie with your group, your Price 4 Limo rep can help you find a bus with TVs to accommodate everyone.

3. A Shut-Eye Kit

When you’re stuck on the road for hours at a time, a sleep travel kit can be a game changer – this include eye masks, a travel pillow, & headphones or earplugs. Most charter bus rentals come with reclining seats, but a neck pillow will give you extra support to help you catch some z’s. And your eye mask can help you block out that daytime light or nighttime high beams. You’ll wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on your destination!

4. Snacks and Drinks (if allowed!)

Sure, you can always build rest stops into your itinerary for your group to grab a bite to eat. But you never know when hunger will strike! Bring along your favorite non-perishable snacks and a few bottles of water to stave off those mid-trip hunger pangs. Just be sure to avoid anything too smelly or messy that might bother your fellow passengers. And remember—you can’t bring coolers or large food containers onto the bus, so keep your snack stash relatively small.

5. A Good Book

Staring at a screen for hours can get old. And besides, sometimes you just need to give your eyes a break. Bring along a good paperback book to lose yourself in. Or if you’re more of an auditory learner, download an audiobook or queue up a podcast series. You’ll be surprised how quickly the time passes when you have a good story to keep you occupied.

Pro Tips for Packing Smart

So, you’ve made your lists and checked them twice. Now it’s time to actually get packing! But before you start stuffing your bags, keep these pro tips in mind to maximize your space and keep things organized:

Label Everything

Especially if you’re traveling with a large group, labeling your luggage is a must. Use luggage tags, bright bandanas, colorful stickers—whatever works best for you! That way, there’s less chance of someone accidentally grabbing your bag and unloading it at the wrong hotel. Trust us, dealing with a lost suitcase is the last thing you’ll want to do when you’re on vacation.

Prioritize Your Essentials

If it’s valuable or can’t easily be replaced at your destination, pack it in your carry-on! This includes things like prescription medication, wallets, electronics, and any important documents or tickets. As a general rule of thumb, it’s always a good idea to keep valuables on your person, even when you’re on a charter bus. You never know when you might need them.

Pack for Comfort

This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s worth repeating—pack items that will keep you comfortable on the road. This could look like a change of clothes, a comfy pair of shoes, basic toiletries, and maybe even a blanket if you tend to get cold easily. And remember those headphones!

Think Strategically

When you’re packing your bags, be aware of your bag’s center of balance. If you have a heavier item, like a laptop, try to place it in the bottom of your bag or in a compartment that will be near your body when you carry it. This will help prevent your bag from toppling over and spilling your belongings everywhere.

Utilize Compression

Don’t let any space in your bag go to waste! Use compression bags for bulky items, like sweaters or jackets, to save room. You can also stuff smaller items, like socks, into shoes to utilize every nook and cranny. And if you’re really struggling to fit everything in, consider investing in packing cubes to help keep things organized.

Now You’re Packed & Read For a Great Trip!

With a little pre-trip planning, packing for a charter bus trip doesn’t have to be stressful. Just keep these tips in mind, and you’ll have everything you need to enjoy a smooth and comfortable ride.

Once you’ve got your packing plan sorted out, leave the transportation up to us! Price 4 Limo is here to help with all your group travel needs. Call us at 1-866-265-4579 to get a free quote for your charter bus rental.