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Wedding Day Transportation.

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This quick guide will make sure you get to the wedding on time and in-style.

Depending on your preferences and budget, there are several options to consider when arranging transportation for your wedding day. If you need to accommodate a large group, motorcoaches or charter buses are a popular option. For smaller parties, or for shuttle-type service, a mini coach or a van may be a better solution.

Transporting the members of the wedding party often falls under the things that you are responsible for. This can include many different kinds of transportation including bachelor and bachelorette parties, wedding dinner rehearsals, airport shuttles for out of town guests, hotel to venue shuttles, ceremony to reception transportation, and of course, the safe ride home transportation for those who may have had a little too much fun at the reception. This can be an important part of these kinds of events and can be the difference between frustration or delays and an event that runs smoothly and without major drama.

When booking transportation (best done about three months in advance, or earlier if you’re in an area with few options), make sure you’re dealing with a reputable company. Get a referral from a trusted friend, speak to former customers, and check with the Federal Motorcoach Carrier Safety Administration to check if you are choosing a safe and reliable operator. Call the list of potential operators and find out whether the drivers will wear uniforms, if they have ADA complaint equipment and, if it’s important to you, ask whether you can have champagne or other alcohol on your trips.

Ask your transportation provider for advice on your wedding party specifics. Give them the location of your venue, where your guests will be staying, how many people you have in your wedding party, and what days and times you are planning on having events. Ask them about what you can do to keep your transportation budget to a minimum. Also, ask them about your venues and any transportation limitations that may present. Be sure to work with a company that has equipment that you want to use and be sure that you specify the kind of equipment that you want to service your events.

Once you’ve made your choice, be certain that your chosen provider has your full itinerary at least 2 weeks before your event. Follow up with them and make sure that they have received it and ask them if they foresee any issues based on traffic, construction, or special events in the area.

Choosing to provide transportation for your wedding party can be a major upgrade to your entire event. It will make sure that you don’t have lost guests and that you can keep on schedule. One of the biggest costs on your wedding day can be for unplanned overruns on your venues, bands or DJ’s, photographers, and caterers. A motorcoach will help you keep these expenses in check!

When we decide to book your wedding transportation, we look forward to showing you what makes motorcoach the premier choice for  brides and weddings.

 

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Hitchin’ a Ride for Brides

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When you think of memorable moments from your wedding, you don’t want your uncle’s DUI arrest to be one of them! Let your wedding guests relax and party without worrying about choosing a designated driver by making sure that you have transportation to get them safely from the reception site to the hotel.

Shuttle your guests!

If you can afford it, hire a shuttle company to run shuttles to and from the wedding reception at specific hours. For example, if your reception is from 6:00 to 11:00 p.m., you might have shuttles leaving the hotel (or ceremony site) at 5:45 p.m., 6:00 p.m. and 6:15 p.m. Then, have shuttles returning to the hotel at 9:00 p.m., 10 p.m., 10:30 p.m., and 11 p.m. Make sure to put information about shuttle times in the guest welcome packages.

Plan the pickup and drop-off!

If you have a small guest list, and you trust everyone to be ready on time, you might just hire one motorcoach to drop off and pick up wedding guests at one particular time. Most charter bus companies have a minimum amount of time to rent a coach, usually around 3 hours. For most smaller gatherings, this is enough for a single drop off and a pickup. Ask your charter booking company if they offer different kinds of transportation, or if they can provide references to reputable companies that they have worked with in the past. Sometimes, booking more than one type of vehicle with the same company can save you money. Doing this can save you more than you might expect. One of the biggest unexpected expenses during a wedding is time over runs on venues. Most reception venues and ceremony locations have given you a very strict set time that you must start and end. Using a start and stop shuttle can help eliminate that big surprise after the night is over.

Book Smart!

When looking for a charter bus company, make sure to check for things like minimum hour requirements and charges for mileage, policies about alcohol on the coach and whether driver gratuities are included in the price or extra. Also, check with the FMCSA website to check the safety record of the carrier you are interested in using. You can find a link to that service here. Remember that budget is important, but the safety of your guests should always be your number one concern.

No Budget? Think Taxi.

If there’s simply no way to work transportation into your wedding budget, then make sure to ask your wedding reception site to have taxis waiting at the end of the night. It’s much easier to persuade a tipsy guest to take a taxi if that taxi is ready and waiting. 

Arranging transportation for your wedding guests may seem like one more thing to-do in an already crowded list, but this sort of thoughtful planning will help your guests relax and enjoy their evening.

 

Christmas Lights Gallore!

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The hustle and bustle of the holidays is upon us.  Everyone is running around trying to get that one last gift purchased, wrapped, and given to that special someone.  Why not take a little break from all of that and enjoy the scenery?  Many communities take tremendous pride in their holiday light displays.  Hours of work, and millions of lights later, the displays are ready to be enjoyed.  Here are the Top Ten Holiday Light Displays according to our friends at America’s Best & Top Ten:

1. Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland – Tennessee
In West Knoxville and Bristol, Tennessee, Shadrack’s Water Sports puts on two of the most awesome Christmas light show you’ve likely ever seen. Shadrack’s Water Sports has transformed the large hillside behind their boat showroom into a Christmas wonderland with hundreds of thousands of brightly colored lights dynamically synchronized and dancing to Christmas tunes.

2. Silver Dollar City - Branson, MO – November 1 – December 30
Millions of Christmas lights cover the whole park. Plus, the entire City is transformed into a holiday wonderland each evening at 5:30 p.m. as guests join together on the Square for the lighting of the dazzling, five-story Special Effects Christmas Tree. Adorned with over 250,000 lights coordinated to blaze to the musical movements of Christmas songs, this unique Special Effects Christmas Tree presents classics such as “Carol of the Bells” and Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus” in a spectacular light and sound show.

3. Oglebay Festival of Lights – Wheeling, WV – November 4 – January 5th.

In 1985 a holiday tradition began at Oglebay and spread throughout the city of Wheeling. That tradition is the Winter Festival of Lights celebration. The first year, displays and landscape lighting covered about 125 acres over a three-mile drive throughout the resort. Since then, the show has grown into one of the nation’s largest Christmas light shows, covering more than three hundred acres over a six-mile drive throughout the resort.

4. Smoky Mountain Winterfest – Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville, TN.

Smoky Mountain Winterfest is a magical celebration that begins in late fall.  Ride the Trolley Tour of Lights around Pigeon Forge and claim a spot on the sidewalk  for Gatlinburg’s “Fantasy of Lights” Christmas Parade, featuring lighted floats, marching bands and giant helium balloons.  This event combines 3 Tennessee cities: Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville. These neighboring Smoky Mountain towns are ablaze with 5 million lights thru February.

5. Trail of Lights – Austin, TX – December 14 – December 23
The  Trail of Lights is a mile long display of 42 lighted scenes, US Post Office, Santa’s House, the Yule Log, and an entertainment stage. The festival begins with the lighting of the Zilker Tree, a 155 feet tall, 180 feet diameter lighted tree consisting of 3,309 bulbs on 39 streamers strung from Austin’s historical Moonlight Tower. Since 1987 the honor of lighting the tree has been bestowed upon the winner of the city-wide children’s tree coloring contest. The tree lighting ceremony takes place on the first Sunday of December.

6. Magical Nights of Lights – Lake Lanier, GA – November 22 – December 30
Rekindle an old tradition or create a new one at Lake Lanier Islands Resort’s 16th annual Magical Nights of Lights holiday celebration. Known as the world’s largest animated light extravaganza, the fun kicks off November 22 through December 30 from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 pm. nightly! Bring the whole family a drive through tour of over six miles of twinkling, holiday light displays and a live nativity scene complete with live actors and animals!

7. Holiday Festival of Lights, Charleston, S.C. – November 14  – January 4.  In 1990, Charleston County Park & Recreation Commission created the Holiday Festival of Lights to bring families and friends together and to raise support for the Charleston county park system. With over 600 individual displays located throughout the park in 132 power locations, the Holiday Festival of Lights is a magical sight to see!

8. Enchanted Garden of Lights, Chattanooga, TN – November 21 – January 3.
See Rock City! The gardens’ natural beauty is complemented by more than 25 holiday scenes as half a million lights illuminate rock formations along the Enchanted Trail.

9. Louisville MEGA Cavern, Louisville, Kentucky
Every year, the Louisville MEGA Cavern will be transformed into a Christmas light spectacular for all of Kentuckiana to experience. Lights Under Louisville will feature 35 displays, 300 LED Light characters- over 1,000,000 points of light.
In 2009, the MEGA Cavern’s Lights Under Louisville allowed the public to drive their own vehicles inside the cavern to experience this unique Christmas wonderland.

10. Southern Lights - Lexington, Ky. – November 22 – December 30
The annual Southern Lights event is the largest fundraiser held for The Kentucky Horse Park. Over 25,927 vehicles passed through the electrical wonderland in 2006 alone! Everything from petting zoos, model railways, arts, crafts, and Santa Claus fill the Indoor Attractions section free of charge to guests.

Honorable Mention
Fantasy of Lights – Pine Mountain, GA – November 14 – December 30
100 Miles of Lights – Virginia Beach, VA
Bright Nights at Forest Park – Springfield, MA
Christmas Lighting Festival -  Leavenworth, WA -
Clot Family Christmas – Pinecrest, FL – Thanksgiving
Festival of Lights – Galveston, Texas
Galaxy of Lights at the Huntsville Botanical Garden -  Huntsville, AL
RHEMA Christmas Lights – Broken Arrow, OK
Tanglewood’s Festival of Lights -  Clemmons, N.C
Mission Inn – Riverside, CA
Temple Square in Salt Lake City
Lexington Fire Station 20, Lexington KY
Hyatt’s Extreme Christmas Home, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 

Holiday Travel…Wings or Wheels?

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Go Motorcoach The holiday season is around us, with all its glory! We find ourselves running frantically here and there to get the perfect gifts. We force our family to take the once-a-year holiday photo for our cards that are sent out to those we love. We bake goodies, we wrap presents, and then we hit the road… Traveling and the holidays go hand in hand. Over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house we go – is reality for many of us. This year, more people traveled during the Thanksgiving holiday since 2007!

Many people will be flying the friendly skies…or are they so friendly? Long lines, delayed flights, cancellations and on top of that, there are so many changing rules about what you can and cannot have with you in your carry-on .

Now imagine this: A calm you, relaxed and not worried about long lines or delays. You have a large suitcase, a carry-on and your laptop. Your vehicle arrives and as you board you notice the plush reclining seats, the panoramic views out the large windows and the outlets…..OUTLETS? Yes, you read that correctly, outlets. Many of today’s modern motorcoaches have 110 outlets available for you to power up your computers, iPods and cell phones. Many more coach companies also have Wi-Fi available on their buses – and you can use it the entire ride, not just above 10,000ft!

Along the way, you are able to enjoy the view out of large panoramic windows and when you do arrive at your destination, you don’t have to worry about finding the luggage carousel, or if you bags made it – they have been with you the entire trip.

That’s the motorcoach difference. Most people think that flying is the only way to go, and they are wrong. When you travel by motorcoach, you travel together, you travel safely, you travel smart. GoMotorcoach!

Oh The Weather Outside Is…

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Weather, the great equalizer. It can’t be controlled. It can’t be told what to do, and no matter how much we want to, no one has been able to come up with a weather machine. We can complain that it’s too cold, too hot, too rainy, too snowy. We can wish it would stay like this forever. We can hope it’s going to be nice out – but in the end, we have no say in what Mother Nature dishes out for us.

NYsnowTransportation is greatly affected by the weather. Flights are delayed for all kinds of reasons, but the weather is number one. If it’s too foggy – DELAYED, if it’s too stormy – DELAYED, if it’s too snowy – CANCELLED. No amount of wishing can get those planes off the ground if the weather isn’t cooperating. It has the ability to create lines of stranded passengers a mile long, who just want to get to their destinations. Motorcoaches and cars seem to have an easier time dealing with poor weather conditions. Road conditions can change from hour to hour.

Recently, snow storms blanketed the Buffalo, NY area, and motorists were stranded for days. Feet of snow, not inches, feet of snow, fell on the city and it accumulated fast. Cars were stranded everywhere and homes were covered to their rooftops. It was during this same storm that a women’s college basketball team was making their way home, when the motorcoach they were riding on got stuck. The team had a few snacks that they shared, a working bathroom, plenty of room and even though the conditions were not ideal, they were livable for the twenty-four plus hours they were stuck. The driver of the bus kept it running the entire time, which allowed for heat and electricity and was more than most people experienced that snowy night.

Nobody wants to be late. Drivers try their hardest to get their passengers to and from their destinations safely and on-time, but sometimes it’s just not possible. When the weather is poor, expect delays – just like at the airport, only we promise to not keep you on the tarmac for hours without giving you an explanation, or letting you out. Most of the time, a motorcoach will have the ability to pull off, wait it out, get you to a hotel, a restaurant or another facility that may not be on the itinerary, just to keep the group from having to sit on the bus for longer than necessary. It’s a more flexible method of travel, during a time when flexibility is a must!

So remember, when Mother Nature decides to show us who’s boss, GoMotorcoach and leave the driving to us!

Holiday Shopping Made Easy!

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TeenHolidayShoppingHave you ever thought to yourself “Man, I wish I had more room in my car so that I could fit XYZ gift in it.”  OR, “It would be so cool if I could go to ABC Mall, but I am unsure of the way and I don’t have anyone to join me.”

Have you ever thought of joining a shopping tour?  Many motorcoach companies around the country offer shopping tours during the holiday season.  For a small fee, passengers can enjoy worry-free transportation to and from a very large, very awesome shopping destination.  The best part?  No space limitations!  That’s right!  You can literally shop ’til you drop and don’t have to worry about getting all those packages, boxes and bags on board!

  • What else can you expect?
  • Coupon books with loads of savings!
  • Some tour operators provide lunch for the group.
  • Multiple stops – including specialty boutiques.
  • Holiday light tours.

The list is endless!  Contact your local motorcoach company today and ask them what shopping trips they have available!  You might wonder, why you have never done this before!

Ghosts, Goblins & More!

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ghostHalloween is the perfect time to experience a haunted tour.  Across the country, motorcoach tour companies are offering up this once in a lifetime (or past lifetime…) experience for you and your friends.  Below are a few of our favorite tours to consider.

  • LaZoom, Haunted Comedy Bus Tour (Asheville, NC): ‘Get on the Bus’ after dark and explore Asheville’s strange and sordid past with LaZoom.   Laugh and scream along as your adventurous tour guide uncovers mysteries, tells tales of murder, deceit, scandals, and ghosts, spilling Asheville’s blood right before your very eyes.
  • Ursula Bielski’s Chicago Hauntings Tours (Chicago, IL) Chicago Hauntings offers fully narrated, historically based ghost and paranormal tours to haunted spots throughout Chicago – some of our most common stops include murder sites, disaster sites, a serial killer’s body dump, gang sites, haunted houses, and abandoned graveyards. Passengers get off the bus to look for ghosts several times per tour – and sometimes they find them!
  • Banjo Billy’s Bus Tours (Boulder, CO): Banjo Billy’s gives history tours of Boulder and Denver, as well as brewery tours in Denver, from an old school bus tricked out to look like a traveling hillbilly shack.  Hear ghost tales, crime stories, and history while sitting on a couch, recliner or saddle as the bus rolls through the core of the cities.  You won’t forget this bus tour!
  • Gray Line Tours (New Orleans, LA): New Orleans has been referred to as “The most haunted city in America.” After this tour, we’ll let you be the judge! You’ll visit several haunted sites and hear about the stories featured on The History Channel and The Discovery Channel. Hear ghostly stories about our haunted hotels and the courthouse where our state supreme court is based. We even visit a former slave exchange. Each guide has researched these “other spirits” of the Vieux Carre, so no two tours are exactly alike.

Common Questions

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Unless you are a meeting planner or tour coordinator, chances are you aren’t ordering charter buses on a regular basis.  There are some questions that you should remember to ask, before you book your motorcoach with a company.

1. Years in business.  This is important simply because companies who have been in business for a long time, know the ropes.  You can better trust that they won’t take your money and run, or unexpectedly close their doors.

2. What is their safety record?  Companies who have good safety records tend to brag about them, and they should.  Knowing the company’s safety record is like viewing a snapshot on how they conduct business.  Do they have driver’s hours violations?  If so, that could indicate they don’t take the hours of service laws seriously.  Driver fatigue is a real issue and has the potential of causing a terrible accident.  Better to be safe than sorry.

3.  Maintenance and cleaning.   Imagine this: You schedule a motorcoach for a large business function.  The bus shows up dirty, and half-way through the trip it breaks down.  Ask your sales person about how they maintain the buses, from cleaning to oil changes, it all makes a huge difference.

4.  Cancellation and deposit policy.  What if you change your mind?  What if you don’t have as many people RSVP to your event that you thought?  Most companies understand that things happen and have cancellations policies in place to help you out.  Some operators may require a deposit to hold the buses.  This most likely would be refunded if you cancel within the time frame.

5.  Rates.  Each company figures their services on different factors.  Some may add a fuel tax, some a clean-up charge.  Rates can range from a hourly minimum to a daily charge.  Ask you sales person to break down the costs per bus and per passenger.  It can make it easier to understand the cost savings of traveling together when you see it broken down in that way.

Just asking  a few key questions can make or break your trip.  Your sales person will be there every step of the way, helping create a positive experience for your group.

SAFETY – WHY IT MATTERS

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safe1Most people will assume that the company they travel with is safe.  Let’s face it, someone in an office with an education has hired this person to be in this position of driver, right?  We mindlessly jump into a taxi, bus, airplane without thinking about the credentials of the person who is ultimately responsible for our lives during the time of our ride.

The internet is a great tool when it comes to checking into the safety record of a transportation company.  One search on Google can provide you with a wealth of information – both good and bad.

Start with the source.  The company’s website should provide you with a ton of information regarding their services, vehicles, maintenance and safety training.  Reputable companies love to brag about their safety records.  They should also have a link to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s website (FMCSA) which rates each company and shows any accidents or violations.

Next, check out the company’s social media pages.  See if they have any complaints and how they handled them.  Did they ignore it or respond?  Do you feel satisfied with the response?  Are they we represented and do they seem to match your group?  For instance, if you are looking for corporate transportation for an upcoming convention, and the company you are looking to hire only shows party buses on their social media sites, you may want to think twice about hiring them.

Lastly, ask around.  Nothing is better than word of mouth.  Do you know anyone who has used the company before?  How was the experience?  How did the drivers act?  Were they kind, knowledgeable and professional?

Before you hop on a bus, plane or taxi – do a little research – it could save you some headaches in the end – and maybe your life!

Must-Have Trip Essentials

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Getting ready for a trip is almost as fun as going.  Everyone has those essentials, things they can’t live without, even for a few days.  We have taken the liberty to put together a short list of items that every road trip must not be without!

1.  SNACKsnackS

Snacks are a must for any good road trip, and there are many ways that groups go about planning their snacks.  Some groups plan a snack pot-luck.  Group members each bring a different treat to share so that everyone can enjoy.  Other groups like to create a snack theme to go along with their trip destination.  Even more groups have an “every man (woman or kid) for themselves” where you eat what you bring and trading with your seat mate is an option only if you both agree it’s a good trade.  No matter how your group decides to handle the snacks we know they are a must-have.

 

2.  ENTERTAINMENT

Every good bus trip needs good movies and music.  Ever get excited to watch a movie on a long plane ride only to be disappointed that you can’t see the tiny video monitor five rows ahead?  This won’t happen on a motorcoach.  New coaches offer large, flat screen monitors, making viewing easy.  Pass the popcorn – it’s time for the show to start!  Do you need any ideas on what movies to show?  Check out our list of great group movies HERE  for ideas.setra

Music is also a necessity for any great bus ride.  It’s easy to lose yourself in thought while looking out the windows and listening to your favorite music.  We have created a great playlist for your next motorcoacch trip.  Click HERE to check it out!

 

3.  CAMERA

cameraThey say a picture is worth a thousand words.  Snapping a few photos and telling your story are a great way to keep the trip going long after you return home.  With a camera on every cell phone, it’s easy to edit and share pictures all along the way.  Make sure you let people know where you were, why this was a great photo opp. and any other important details you can think of.  Don’t forget to take a few good selfies as well!

Although it’s important to take lots of great photos, don’t forget to look up once in a while and just see things with your eyes.  Create photos in your mind.  This is an important part of the travel experience!

Incorporating these few must have items to your trip will not only help make it a success, but also a memory to last a lifetime.  Happy Travels!!