Quick: What’s the first thing that pops into your head when you hear the words “bus tour”? If you thought of senior citizens on their way to the Bingo parlor, think again.
This is not your grandma’s bus tour.
We mean no disrespect to the venerable institution of Bingo. After all, the classic game of hope, chance, and 75 numbered balls has entertained millions, and may be the biggest boon to church fundraising since the invention of tithing. Bingo made its North American debut in 1929, at a county fair in Florida, where it was called “Beano” until a winner accidentally shouted “Bingo!” and the better name stuck. A toy salesman named Edwin Lowe was the first to mass-produce and market the game, aided by Columbia University mathematics professor Carl Leffler, who devised 6,000 different number combinations (without computer software, mind you) so no two Bingo cards would be the same. Later – under circumstances that may or may not be related to Bingo -- Professor Leffler went crazy. But we digress.
We were talking about bus tours.
Groups of all ages and interests can charter tour buses for all kinds of outings. Youth groups and sports teams figured out decades ago that when you needed to get Scouts to summer camp or soccer players to an away game, a bus was how you got them there.
With today’s motorcoaches tricked out like luxury liners, bus travel is not only cost-effective and convenient, it is also comfortable and fun. Your civic organization, professional group, social club, or work place can charter a bus; so can your friends and family. You could even charter a bus – or sign up for a bus tour – with folks you haven’t met, on the basis of your shared passion for Civil War re-enacting, or roller coaters, or line dancing.
Clubs and teams often plan end-of-the-season outings. Kids love amusement parks and water parks; the same goes for zoos, aquariums, museums, and other child-friendly destinations. Most venues offer discounted admission for groups. A bus is the perfect way to get there.
Think outside the cubicle.
Lots of companies host an annual golf outing, picnic, or other party – a great way to encourage bonding, team spirit, and relationship-building away from the daily grind. When you charter a bus to the destination, getting there is half the fun.
Heed the call of the mosh pit.
Get to a concert like the rock stars do – on a tour bus! – and you won’t have to worry about parking, finding a designated driver, or late night driving.
Raise your glass.
Every state in the U.S. has at least one winery, and most offer tours and tastings, especially during harvest time (August through October). A tour bus is a lovely way to explore wine country. You can enjoy the beautiful scenery, visit one or more wineries, and try as many vintages as you want … since someone else is doing the driving.
Cheer for the home team.
When your hometown team is in the playoffs, it’s a blast to charter a bus and wear your team colors to cheer them on.
Go antiquing. (Or flea marketing. Or art fairing.)
Many regions have permanent antique malls, flea markets, or stretches of downtown streets devoted to antique shops. Most regions have art festivals or crafts fairs in the summer. A charter bus is ideal transportation for this kind of day trip. You can avoid the hassle of parking and put your feet up and relax after walking all day.
Shop the outlets.
Outlet malls and factory outlet centers are quintessential tour bus destinations. Established outlet mall chains (Tanger Outlet Centers and Premium Outlets, for example) lure tours with “meet and greet” services, discounts, coupon books, merchandise rewards, and special amenities for groups of 15 or more.
You get the idea. Wherever you want to go, a bus can get you there. And if you’re looking for something different – something social, exciting, maybe even a little risky – you might want to try Bingo one of these days. Your grandma would enjoy the company.
Planning a trip? Download this free organizational tool.