How to Rent a Bus for a Trip


Look up one of the 450 bus companies in North America that have Department of Defense (DOD) safety certification. DOD certification is important because it gives you the peace of mind of knowing that the bus you are renting has been thoroughly inspected to meet strict safety guidelines. You can find DOD safety certified buses online at


Find your state on the DOD list. It doesn't matter where your destination is, you first need to find a qualified bus rental in your area. Technically, there are no bus companies that service all 50 states. The largest is Greyhound, which services 15 markets.


Check the safety record for the various bus companies that you are considering. as well as the driver's background and the information concerning the bus company's insurance. A majority of bus companies can be inspected by checking out the company snapshot from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. (See Reference 4.)


Call the bus companies on the DOD list for your state or local area. You'll want to fill them in on your proposed itinerary and get a solid quote. Bus rentals generally go by hour for local trips and by the mile for long-distance travel.


Pay a deposit. In general, you can expect to have to put down around 20 percent of the total bill before you can expect the bus company to book your trip. Just remember, call the bus company to find out what their payment schedule is so you don't miss it and end up without a bus.

Tips and Warnings

  • Beware of non-company-run websites. These are generally independent services, and you'll pay a hefty commission for booking your travel.
  • If you're planning a big event or looking to take a large group on a long trip, renting a bus may be the way to go. Chartering a bus offers relatively worry-free travel to and from where your destination with the assistance of a certified driver. Renting the bus is a fairly simple process that requires some basic travel know-how, and the ability to call around for the best rate and a bus that fits your needs.