HOW TO PLAN A PARTY BUS TRIP: A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE
Do you have a special event coming up that will require group transportation in the greater Bay Area? You’ve come to the right place! We created the ultimate guide to the luxury party bus experience, from how to book and where to go, to what to expect along the way.
San Francisco party buses and limo buses are perfect for a variety of group events. Perhaps you’re planning a group outing for a wedding, birthday party, concert, wine tasting tour, prom dance or sports game. You know you want to get a party bus, but you’re not sure where to start. We totally get it. The process of planning transportation for small or large groups can seem overwhelming and stressful, but it can be fun and straightforward by following this simple step-by-step guide. Before requesting a quote, it’s best to first narrow down the basics of your trip: who, what, where, where and why. This information will help keep costs and stress levels at a minimum so you and your friends can spend more time celebrating.
STEP 1: WHEN AND WHERE IS YOUR EVENT?
- The first step in planning a successful party bus trip is to determine the times and locations of your event. Whether you’re working on a bachelor party itinerary in San Francisco or a corporate team building trip wine tasting in Napa Valley, the same initial information applies. Ask yourself these simple questions to create the scope of service.
- Timing: At what time do we need to be picked up in the party bus, in order to have enough time for road travel to the event location comfortably? Consider possible freeway traffic, friends who may arrive late, and the event start time. Always give yourself a 20 to 30 minute buffer for traffic, as buses travel slower than cars, and Google Maps doesn’t factor that in to their algorithm.
- Pick Up Location: Where is the best place for your group to be picked up? Will there be ample parking for all attendees? Are there after-hours parking restrictions? If guests will be drinking, will they have easy Uber/Lyft access back home after the bus drops off?
- Bus Access Restrictions: Is the pickup location on flat ground for safe passenger loading and unloading? Is there enough space for the vehicle to turn around? Is the location in an alley, cul-de-sac or on a dirt road? Are there commercial vehicle restrictions, as are common in parts of San Francisco? These types of streets are “red flags” for bus companies, and the pickup location will likely need to change in order to accommodate the large commercial vehicle. For example, a 30-45 ft party bus has a very different shape, turning radius and height clearance than a car. Just because a car can access a location doesn’t mean a bus can. Successful pick up and drop off locations can include parking lots, Bart stations, hotels or private residences with large, wide streets and yellow or white curbs zoned for staging. Check out our SF bus restrictions page.
STEP 2: WHAT IS YOUR PARTY BUS EVENT ITINERARY?
- You know that you’re celebrating a special event, but do you know each of the stops you want the party bus to make during your big day? The “itinerary” includes everything that happens in between pick up and drop off. If you are planning a wine tour in Napa Valley, do you know how many and which wineries you want to visit? If you are planning a birthday night on the town in San Francisco, do you know which restaurant and bar you want to visit?
- Having an itinerary in advance helps the company provide you with an accurate price quote for your trip. If you are still finalizing the details of your trip, that’s okay. In order to move forward with a quote for your trip, try your best to narrow down the destination city and one likely venue stop. The itinerary can be updated as needed leading up to the day of your trip.
- The second reason why the company requires an itinerary is for safety and planning purposes. Some locations around the Bay Area are inaccessible for large commercial vehicles, such as select Napa Valley wineries and Coit Tower in San Francisco. By providing the itinerary in advance, we can help to eliminate any problematic venues and offer replacement suggestions.
STEP 3. HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE IN YOUR GROUP?
- When you’re planning a party bus group event, it’s essential to know how many people will be in your group. There are two primary reasons why this element is crucial in the planning stages.
- First, narrowing down your group size is a critical step because it will help you determine the magic party bus number: Cost Per Person ($/pp). You can start by making a list of everyone you think might come to the event and will ride on the bus. Send out an RSVP request to the whole list via Facebook, Evite or your method of choice. The bigger the list, the better, as oftentimes friends have conflicting schedule obligations. When you have a general idea of your group size, you can move forward and view the party bus vehicle size options.
- Whether you have a small group of 10 or a large group of 35, Cali Party Bus San Francisco has the perfect bus for your event. When you have your group size, you can view party bus vehicles on the website and find the right match. Simply hover over “vehicles” in the menu, and select from the 1-14 Person Mercedes Sprinter, 20-28 Person Tiffany Limo Bus, 40-50 Person Executive Limo Bus and more vehicle options within our fleet. Read about the party bus amenities, view photos and watch videos until you make your selection.
- When the first three steps are complete, you will have all the trip information required to make a reservation with Cali Party Bus San Francisco.
STEP 4: HOW TO RESERVE YOUR PARTY BUS
- Congratulations! This is the easy part. Visit calipartybus.com/sanfrancisco and fill out a Rate Request Form. On this simple form, you will list the information you collected in steps 1, 2 and 3, such as your event date and time, pick up address, destination city, itinerary and group size. When you submit your form, you will quickly receive a customized price quote.
- When you receive your quote, and everything looks good, it’s time to lock it in. The confirmation steps include a financial deposit and signed rental agreement.
- Place Deposit: A $250 refundable security hold is required to lock in the bus reservation. You will pay the full amount at the time of pickup. As long as there are no damages, incidentals or cancellations, the $250 hold is released back to the card the following business day after your trip is completed. This practice is similar to the credit card hold that occurs when you rent a car or check into a hotel.
- Sign the Rental Agreement: Be sure to read the fine print, as it will outline the terms and conditions of travel, as well as any potential fees for damages or overtime. This is available at the time of booking and on the company website. Commonly asked questions can quickly be answered by visiting a FAQ page of common party bus questions.
- Save Your Confirmation Email: Once the deposit has been placed, you will receive a confirmation email with a confirmation number for your trip. Keep this copy as a reference if there are any adjustments that need to be made.
STEP 5: GET READY TO PARTY
- You are booked! As your party bus event date approaches, it’s time to get prepared. The difference is always in the details. Here are strategical tips from the party bus pros.
- Collect The Money: If you are the event organizer and everyone goes on the bus will be pitching in financially, make sure to send out Venmo requests for the $/pp amount in advance. By handling the financial payments early, you won’t get stuck with the entire bill on the day of the trip. It’s also a great way to encourage people to financially commit to their RSVP, so you don’t end up with only 5 guests on a 40-person bus!
- Confirm Venues: If you are planning on visiting a winery, brewery or any establishment that will require a tasting reservation, make sure to call them directly well in advance to ensure they can accommodate your group size on your date of choice. Most all wineries and breweries require reservations for group visits and tastings.
- Go Shopping: A party bus isn’t a party without your favorite libations. There is a B.Y.O.B. policy on party buses, and it is perfectly legal to drink alcohol on the bus, as long as all guests are over 21 years of age. Sorry kids, but there is absolutely no alcohol allowed on party buses if even one guest is under 21. Guests of drinking age can bring any alcoholic beverages they’d like on board, and store them in wet bars throughout the bus. Don’t forget the ice! For your convenience, Cali Party Bus San Francisco offers ice and water packages for purchase and provides free cups, paper towels and trash bags.
- Music, Music: Everyone always wants to be the DJ! “We often see groups bickering over the music,” says Quentin Gray, General Manager of Cali Party Bus, San Francisco. “What seems to work best is when one person makes a playlist, and they stick to that. Most trips are at least 4 hours long, which is the enough time to listen to every popular song of the last 20 years.” The party bus will come equipped with an awesome sound system that guests can connect to via Bluetooth or provided aux/iPhone cords.