When your group is traveling to an event, you have a lot of logistics to juggle — from routes and itineraries to hotel stays and making sure everyone arrives on time. Traveling together in a motorcoach streamlines some of that coordination, giving you more of a chance to focus your energies where you’re most needed. Plus, it leaves you time to enjoy the trip with your group.
What Is a Motorcoach?
A motorcoach, or charter bus, is a professionally driven vehicle you can rent for your group.
You might want to use a motorcoach to carry your sports team to athletic events, facilitate the travel for your school or church group or reliably get your employees to a conference or work event.
If you think your group might benefit from chartering a motorcoach, read on for a step-by-step breakdown of what to expect on your motorcoach trip and discover what the charter bus experience is like.
1. Charter Your Motorcoach
The first step to enjoying the many benefits of a motorcoach is chartering your vehicle. You’ll need to consider the types of charter buses, your group’s needs and how the reservation process works at your motorcoach company. We’re here to make that process as easy as pie, so we’ll start by breaking it down, piece by piece.
What Are the Different Types of Motorcoaches?
The biggest consideration when deciding which motorcoach is right for you is the size of your group. Look at how many seats are on each bus to ensure you choose the perfectly sized coach. You might also want to consider the amenities you’ll need for a comfortable trip.
At Arrow Stage Lines, we offer a few different types of motorcoaches to suit a wide range of needs for your group:
- Passenger executive coach: Our executive coach provides seating for 16 passengers. If you’re traveling with a small group, this bus might be the perfect choice.
- Passenger mid-coach: The next size up is a mid-coach, with seating for up to 40 passengers. This coach suits mid-sized groups particularly well.
- Passenger motorcoach: For large groups, our flagship motorcoach seats up to 54 passengers.
- Bunk entertainer: Sometimes, you need some extra amenities in your motorcoach. Our entertainer tour buses provide bunks and showers for your group’s needs.
Depending on size, most coaches feature amenities like reclining seats, footrests, restrooms and luggage storage to make your trip as comfortable as possible.
What Should You Know Before You Charter?
To set you up with just the right motorcoach, a charter company’s transportation professionals will need a few pieces of information, including:
- Where you’ll be going.
- When you’ll be traveling.
- How big your group is.
- Which amenities and accessibility needs your group has.
We’ll use this information to ensure your motorcoach is the perfect match for your group. And if you want to tour the coach yourself to make sure it’ll work for your group, feel free to stop by one of our locations to check out our fleet.
How Does the Charter Process Work?
Now you’re ready to call a motorcoach provider and get your group the bus they need, but how do you go about chartering a coach?
Tell your provider about your trip so they can give you a custom quote. With Arrow Stage Lines, you can do this via phone or our website. Once you give our sales representatives this information, we’ll send you an email with our quote.
The next step is reviewing your quote and the details of the charter arrangement. Once you’ve read over it all, you can choose to accept it. Arrow Stage Lines lets you accept all quotes digitally to make this process quick and easy.
Once we receive your acceptance, we’ll send you confirmation details with the information you need to know for your trip. Again, we make it easy for you to sign your confirmation entirely online.
Arrow Stage Lines also offers a customer portal to become your one-stop shop for all your chartering needs. If you want to access all your motorcoach-related information in one easy place, simply ask your sales representative to help you set up your portal.
How Is Pricing Determined?
Because pricing depends on many factors, we provide custom quotes for every charter. Some factors that might affect your price include:
- Size of the coach
- Travel season — spring or summer vs. less busy months
- Booking in advance
- Additional features you’d like your bus to be equipped with
When booking a charter, you’ll usually provide a down payment, then pay the final cost a couple of weeks before your trip begins.
Want a Few Bonus Tips?
To make sure you’re well-prepared for your chartering process, here are a few bonus tips to keep in mind:
- Book in advance: Booking in advance helps you snag the lowest price possible. The standard guideline for traveling in the spring or summer is to charter your bus at least six months before your trip.
- Know about additional costs: Depending on your trip, you might experience a few extra costs not included in your quote. Some examples include gratuity for your driver, hotel rooms for your driver if your trip is overnight and any tolls or parking costs.
- Submit your itinerary: Most charter companies will need an itinerary for your trip ahead of time. An accurate itinerary helps us prepare for your trip and provide seamless service for your group.
2. Begin Your Trip
Phew! You’ve booked your motorcoach, and you’re eagerly anticipating the arrival of your trip. The day has finally arrived! What can you expect as you set off on your journey, and how do you prepare everything you’ll need?
Before You Arrive
Before you head to your pickup location, keep a few things in mind to ensure you and everyone in your group are well prepared to have a great time on your trip.
A small list of things you should bring on the charter bus include:
- Comfortable clothes: While motorcoaches provide comfortable reclining seats, boost your comfort levels by wearing clothes you can relax and sit in for a while.
- Layers: Wearing layers helps you prepare for all possible temperatures on the coach. Too cold? Pop on a jacket. Too hot? Off the jacket goes.
- Neck pillow: Your coach will likely have reclining seats and footrests to make your ride comfortable and enjoyable. If you want to sleep comfortably on a charter bus, bring a neck pillow so you can kick back, prop your feet up and let the smooth ride lull you to sleep.
- Snacks: What’s a road trip without snacks? Stock up on all your favorites before you head to pick up your motorcoach.
- Entertainment: Bring all those devices — phones, laptops, tablets — you might want for entertainment. Remember the chargers! You might also consider bringing along other items you can use to make the ride more fun, such as games and decks of cards.
In addition to packing all the right gear, you’ll want to do the following to prepare your group for a successful trip:
- Review the itinerary: Review all departure and arrival times and any stops on your schedule. Run through this information with your group so everyone knows what to expect.
- Double-check trip details: Make sure everything is lined up just right for your trip. Popping onto your Customer Portal and checking the trip details one last time will help ensure you have everything ready to go.
- Check the weather: Take a look at your favorite weather app to prepare yourself for rain or shine, hot or cold.
When you’re ready to go, head to the pickup location and meet your motorcoach driver.
When You Arrive
A great motorcoach driver will be at the pickup location and ready to depart at your scheduled time. If you book with Arrow Stage Lines, you’ll see our 97% on-time rating at work.
Your driver will fill up your coach’s gas tank and conduct pre-trip and post-trip vehicle inspections to help get your bus ready to go. Arrow Stage Lines takes the cleanliness of our motorcoaches seriously, which is why we employ intensive disinfecting practices before a new trip. We also practice preventive maintenance to keep our buses in tiptop condition.
Depending on the duration of your trip and how far you’re traveling, you might have a lot of luggage to load onto your bus. While the amount of storage varies across coaches, most vehicles have a large storage bay under the bus for any equipment or suitcases you need to bring. Additionally, many vehicles have smaller storage cubbies inside for you to stash any bags you want to keep within reach.
Pack all your belongings onto the coach, board the bus and get ready to enjoy the ride.
3. Enjoy the Motorcoach Driving Experience
Once on the motorcoach, you can take the time to enjoy smooth sailing and enhanced features that’ll make even long trips go by in a breeze.
A motorcoach driving experience should be safe, entertaining and comfortable. A high-quality motorcoach company will provide features to ensure the utmost comfort — and entertainment — as well as a qualified driver. Your provider should also implement strong standards for safety and have systems in place to minimize any downtime from potential breakdowns.
The world-class motorcoaches in Arrow Stage Lines’ fleet include many amenities designed to make your trip as comfortable as possible. Recline in our comfy seats, stretch your legs out with ample legroom and kick your feet up with our footrests. Reading lights help you see even if you’re driving past sunset, and A/C and heating systems help keep your coach at just the right temperature for your group.
Arrow Stage Lines’ fleets also have enhanced features to improve your trip even more. Upgrade to these features to ride in charter buses that have Wi-Fi and outlets for you to charge your phone and other devices.
When you ride on a motorcoach, safety is likely one of your primary considerations. To help keep passengers safe, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has outlined a set of safety guidelines motorcoach companies must follow.
At Arrow Stage Lines, we take your group’s safety seriously. According to the FMCSA, we have a safety record better than 95% of other carriers.
While motorcoach companies take vehicle maintenance seriously, there’s always a chance a charter bus might break down during your trip. If that happens, Arrow Stage Lines has a network of nationwide locations and affiliations to help get your coach back up and running. These breakdowns only delayed trips by 74 minutes on average. Such speedy fixes mean your group can continue on the road and get back to the good times as soon as possible.
One of the perks of chartering a motorcoach is having a professional driver. With a professional driver, you’re free to sit back, relax and enjoy the journey with your group.
Some of the perks of having a great driver include:
- Quick stops: Need to make a quick pit stop? Most of the time, your driver will plan to stop every now and then because we all need the occasional chance to stretch, but you’re also free to request a short stop whenever your group needs it.
- Trip knowledge: Your driver prepares for your trip by reading over the itinerary. They’ll have their navigation ready to go, often with backups just in case. Sometimes, they might know of good rest stops to suggest that’ll help boost the quality of your trip.
- Good times rolling: Want to watch a movie? No problem. Your driver can pop in a DVD for you and your group to sit back and enjoy.
With everyone riding together on the same motorcoach, you have the unique opportunity to use your trip as a bonding opportunity. Keep the trip entertaining by playing group games. You could also pass the time on the bus by watching a movie, reading a book or looking out at the sights. After all, you might be traveling somewhere you’ve never been before, and the United States is brimming with beautiful landscapes and exciting cities.
We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention our trusty devices. Of course, you’ll be bringing your phone along, so upgrade to Arrow Stage Lines’ Arrow Connect for outlets to charge your phone and Wi-Fi to stay connected.
You’ll have such a blast on your trip that you’ll be at your destination before you know it.
Trust Arrow Stage Lines for Your Group’s Next Trip
We know how important a fun, worry-free trip is for your group. Trust us to provide a motorcoach equipped with amenities for your comfort and relaxation. Because of our reliability and commitment to exceeding customer expectations, when you ride with us, you can sit back and enjoy your charter bus driving experience. If you’re ready to book a motorcoach for your group’s next trip, request a quote online today.