When it comes to choosing a bus for your group, the choices can quickly become overwhelming. Between coaches, minibuses, party buses, and tour buses, how will you know which one is best for your group’s trip?

We’ve put together a guide to help you choose the best coach type for your group, no matter your size or needs! Use this guide to compare vehicles and familiarize yourself with all of your options.

Below, you’ll find a detailed breakdown of each vehicle and a side-by-side comparison of amenities, rental terms, and more to help make your decision easier.

Types of Vehicles

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What is a Coach?

A coach, or motor coach, is a large passenger vehicle operated by a licensed commercial driver. Coaches can be rented by organizations or individuals who are looking for group travel accommodations to events such as business trips, sporting events, school trips, private outings, and more. The driver picks up passengers from a designated location and takes them to every stop on their predetermined itinerary.

Seating. Coaches can hold as few as 30 or as many as 60 seats, making them perfect for an array of events. The most popular seating options are 47 seats, 55 seats, and 56 seats.

Amenities. Many coaches offer amenities such as reclining seats, air con, lots of legroom, televisions with DVD players, and on-board toilets. You can also request WiFi, power outlets, and PA systems for long trips or for groups that wish to stay connected on the road.

Storage. Luggage bays under the bus and overhead bins above seats allow for plenty of storage space. Standard coaches are designed to hold one large suitcase and one carry-on item per passenger.

Distance. Coaches are able to travel long or short distances, depending on the details of the trip. Since they come with amenities such as reclining seats and on-board toilets, though, they’re most often used for long-distance travel.

Rental Terms. Your coach hire will be priced by hour, day, or mile, depending on your itinerary.

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What is a minibus?

A minibus is a small coach that can hold up to 35 passengers. Minibuses are most commonly used for shuttles to and from airports, hotels, festivals, concerts, corporate events, wedding venues, and more.

Seating. The most popular minibus seating options are 18 seats, 20 seats, and 25 seats; however, some minibuses are designed to hold as few as 10 passengers for small groups.

Amenities. Like full-size coaches, minibuses offer comfortable amenities such as air con, reclining seats, and sometimes WiFi and televisions with DVD players.

Storage. Storage space on a minibus will vary depending on its size. Buses with fewer than 20 seats will not include extra storage space, but buses with more than 20 seats will sometimes include overhead bins and boot space for luggage.

Distance. Minibuses are most often hired for local use, but they can also be used for long-distance travel as well. How far the minibus travels is at the discretion of the bus company.

Rental Terms. Like coaches, minibuses may be hired by the hour, day, or mile, depending on your itinerary. As they’re much smaller than full-size coaches, minibuses are also a less-expensive option.

 

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What is a party bus?

Party buses are a fun alternative to limos and standard coaches, often including special additions such as minibars, lighting effects, and extra space for dancing. These mobile party spaces are most often used for proms, weddings, hen and stag parties, and other celebrations. They are sometimes also referred to as “limo buses” because of their similarities to limousines.

Seating. Party bus seating varies widely– they can be designed to hold as few as 10 or as many as 50 people. The most requested seating options, though, are 14-passenger, 20-passenger, and 28-passenger. The seats are arranged along the edge of the interior of the bus to allow for dancing space.

Amenities. Most party buses will include lounge-style seating, fiber-optic lighting, a sound system, drink coolers, TV monitors, and air con to create the perfect party atmosphere.

Storage. Some party buses may include overhead bins for personal items, but luggage bays will not be included. If you’re concerned about storage space on your party bus, let your reservation specialist know when you schedule your rental.

Distance. For the most part, party buses are local-use only. It is not common to use them for long-distance travel.

Rental Terms. Party buses will either be priced per hour or per day with rates similar to standard coaches.

 

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What is a tour bus?

Tour buses, also known as sleeper buses, are used by touring musicians and entertainers to function as mobile homes while they’re on the road. These spacious, refurbished coaches are a great place to work, relax, sleep, and even party while on the road.

Seating. Tour buses feature a full living space with lounge-style seating, usually designed to accommodate about 12 people.

Amenities. Because they’re essentially small, mobile houses, sleeper buses usually feature a kitchen, communal area, master suite, toilets, sinks, bunk beds, WiFi, power outlets, and other special modifications to make the coach feel like home.

Storage. A typical tour bus will include luggage bays and storage closets. Some groups choose to attach a trailer to the back of the coach to store extra equipment.

Distance. These luxurious mobile homes are most often used for long-distance travel; however, they can also be used as high-end shuttles, film set trailers, or temporary recording studios.

Rental Terms. Unlike most coaches, which are priced by day or by mile, entertainers will usually negotiate monthly or yearly contracts with their coach hire companies.

bus type comparison chart

Thinking about hiring a coach for yourself? Check out our complete guide to coach hires for more information on why coaches are the best way to travel. Or, read our pricing guide to get an idea of how much you can expect to pay for your rental.

Still not sure which bus is right for you? Call our reservation specialists any time at 44 20 3617 1779 for a free quotation! We’ll run through your options and help you find the perfect one.