10 STEPS – HOW TO ORGANIZE A FUN FILLED BUS TRIP
1) DECIDE ON A PLACE TO GO
You want to go places people want to go to. A trip across town to the local Mall or Movie theater is not something people want to do on a Bus trip. Also a place with a high entrance fee is not always appealing, for example if the bus cost $30.00 and the venue cost $100.00 many may not be able to afford to this.
Some place like New York City, Washington D.C. or Baltimore, MD. Have many options and a trip On Your Own works well. Where as places like Annapolis, MD. Atlantic City, NJ., PA. Grand Canyon have less options and need to be more structured.
Generally speaking the more structured the higher the cost. Bottom line you need to know your people, Age, Interests and Physical abilities.
I once had a senior group on tour that had 5 or 6 places to tour, by the time we got to the last place most were so tired they didn’t even get off the bus, as a matter of fact they didn’t even want to stop for supper they were so tired. So this tour was too much for the age and physical ability.
2) PICK A DATE FOR YOUR BUS TRIP
Once you have a place or Destination you need to decide on a date. Sometimes this can be the hardest decision. Everyone gathers around checking their date books and seeing what works for everyone. This won’t happen, schedules are too busy. You need to pick a date making sure it is far enough in advance that plans can be made, announcements given and flyers prepared. Again know your group. If they are middle-aged with younger children, work and school have to be taken into consideration. Were as a Senior group is ready most any date or time of the week.
3) PICK A STARTING AND ENDING TIME
Once you know where your going and when you are going. Now what time are you going to start and end your trip. The families with younger school aged children need more time to get ready in the morning, some seniors are not ready to start their day at 5 AM and also many need a little more time to get ready. Starting your trip between 7 AM and 9 AM is a normal starting time. What ever time you decide you must make it FIRM.
As for an Ending time, again, know your people. Children need rest and those who have to work the next day also need their rest. Seniors usual tire earlier than others and most don’t like to drive late at night. Also you need to consider how long from your destination it will take to get home. If it is a 3 hour drive and you want to be home by 8PM you can’t leave for home at 7PM.
4) ESTABLISHING TRIP COST
The Bus has one set cost that can be divided by 47 the number of seats on the bus. This is simple division with the exception of the needs of others and or the addition of added personnel such as Tour guides or Host if applicable. Also if there are any admission cost, this also needs to be added to the trip cost. You also need to decide if meals are included or if that would be extra for everyone to provide for themselves
5) HAVE A CONTACT PERSON
Having a contact person or team is vital to the success of your trip. Don’t have more than 2 or 3 people in charge. The old adage To many cooks spoil the soup comes to mind. Make sure the contacts keep in communication with one another so everyone is on the same page. Knowing how many seats are sold, and who has or hasn’t paid. Also if the trip is sold out it is good to have a cancellation list just in case someone needs to back out or there is a sickness at the last moment.
6) ADVERTISING YOUR TRIP
Now that you have the elements of your trip, it is time to get people onboard. Advertising your trip doesn’t have to be expensive. If this is a social, school or church group, members can pass the word. Bulletin boards, Church handouts, School papers just to name a few. You can’t start to early even is the trip is 6 months away fill the trip (ASAP) as so as possible.
7) SIGN-UP, DEPOSITS AND PAYMENTS
Have a sign up sheet or Trip request form so you can track how many people are going and how many are needed. It is very important to keep the tally up to date so you know where you are at. It is wise to request a deposit when someone signs up to make sure the people are really interested, than have final payment due some time before the trip date, so there are no last minuet surprises the day of the trip. Tickets are not necessary but some people want tangible evidence that they have a seat reserved.
8) DURING THE BUS RIDE
For your people who are seasoned travelers this is redundant. But there are always new travelers who just don’t know. On our Bus trips we allow people to bring food and drinks onboard. Let your people know this, for kids it is extremely helpful and some people have medication and need to eat or drink with it. On every bus there are hot and cold spots. It is advisable to bring a sweater or small blanket also a pillow or an extra cushion can be helpful. Encourage your people to bring reading material, games, puzzles, etc. Also our bus is equipped with video both VHS and DVD feel free to bring some along. It is also acceptable to play game and have prizes this makes the ride go faster and it is more fun.
9) DAY OF TRIP
If there are admission tickets purchased DO NOT give them out until the day of the trip preferably on the bus while on your way to your destination. The reason for this advise is so no one has forgotten or lost their tickets prior to the trip. Lost of forgotten tickets are just that. The venues have prepared and sent the tickets. No ticket No admission.
10) EXTRA THOUGHTS
Everyone traveling should have someone at home, either a family member, neighbor or friend that knows where they are and what times they will be away. If they are going on an extended trip be sure to have your mail and papers picked up or delivers halted until your return.
Everyone or at least every group should have a cell phone. Even if you don’t have a cell phone plan go to Wal-Mart and purchase a disposable one for the duration of your trip. This is for emergencies or if you get separated from the group so you can contact your leader or they can contact you. It is very hard these days to find a pay phone or at least one that work.