Key Factors that Affect the Charter Bus Rental Cost: How to Save on Your Charter Bus Trip

May 13, 2022
Liz Arnold

Whether you are a high school football coach or a wedding planner, you probably know that charter buses are some of the most convenient ways to transport large groups of people from point A to point B. But what about the budget? Want to know how much your group bus transportation will cost? At Infinity Transportation, our friendly team is always happy to give you a free estimate or a detailed quote – and there are some key things we need to know before giving you the best bus charter cost.

You may find pricing examples online, but keep in mind that these estimates may be different than the final cost for your charter bus trip.

Our bus for rent price is determined by the size of the vehicle and the charter bus type, the distance you need to travel, and so much more. If you want to organize a family reunion trip or looking to travel with your sports team or colleagues, take a look at this guide to help you understand what you'll pay.

Charter Buses Types and Group Size

The size of your group will determine the size of the bus you need, and larger buses often incur additional costs. Given that larger buses typically require more fuel and endure higher maintenance costs, you're always going to pay more the bigger the bus you rent.

That's why our team at Infinity Transportation always works closely with you to help with booking affordable group transportation based on your needs and budget. We offer a wide range of vehicles to choose from, including school buses, minibus rentals, and charter buses of different sizes. It means taking into consideration the size of your group, and how much luggage you need to bring - you will need considerably more storage space for a multi-day camping trip than a one-day educational tour of the surrounding college campuses!

Special Amenities Required

Charter bus rental prices vary widely based on the amenities. Without surprise, more luxurious vehicles with all the bells and whistles are more expensive than a standard school bus with as many seats. Depending on the purpose of your trip and passengers' expectations, you may need to find a certain bus that fits your purpose and your budget.

For example, you will have different accommodations for party buses than you would for field trips with school children. Though most standard charter buses are equipped with amenities like air conditioning, a few examples of special amenities include onboard restrooms, luggage space, and so on. Therefore, most of the rental costs you find online are only examples. The final cost depends on the type of bus that best fit your trip's purpose. If you need something specific, such as electrical outlets or DVD players, mention it to your reservation specialist and leave room for it in your trip budget.

The Starting City

Bus rental cost

Like any market, supply and demand drive charter bus prices. Average prices will be lower in cities where charter bus companies are more common than in a small town or in a city difficult to navigate large commercial vehicles. When looking at charter bus rentals, keep in mind that you may be able to rent a bus for a lower price in major cities, even if they are further from your departure point. However, beware that you will need to include additional expenses, such as parking permits and additional mileage to your final cost. It can be helpful to request costs from several companies to get the best price for your trip.

Travel Distance and Fuel Expenses for the Entire Trip

The first thing that we take into consideration when determining the budget for charter bus rentals is the travel distance and fuel expenses. The further you need to travel, the more fuel will be required for traveling there, and traveling back. Because fuel prices are fluctuating all the time, your bus rental price may vary depending on the time that you book.

Is It One-Way Trip or a Round Trip?

Renting a charter bus one way is typically more expensive than a round trip since you will need to pay a deadhead fee. You may only need to rent a bus to use for part of your trip, but the rental company will still need to bring the vehicle back to the same location, even if the bus is empty. Moving a charter bus is expensive: bus companies need to pay for fuel, the driver's hotel (if applicable) and hourly rate, and so on. Therefore, especially in the case of shorter trips such as one-day trips, it is best to plan for a round trip to keep the trip cost as low as possible.

Current Time of the Year

The time of the year affects charter bus rates, too!

In this industry, people tend to book more charter buses when children are in school, meaning that demand is high, supply is lower, and prices may go up. In a busy season, whether that means children are in school or there are many local sports games and events attracting people to Chicago, prices may increase.

One time of year you may wish to avoid is the spring. April, May, and June are some of the most expensive months of the year to book buses, while January, February, and July could offer you the best savings. However, beware that bad winter weather could also affect the trip details.

Is an Additional Driver Required?

When you travel further, you need more than just more fuel. Often a second driver is required to ensure that you arrive on time.

The law requires that one driver stays behind the wheel for any longer than ten hours at a time. Drivers must then take eight-hour rests before driving again. If you need to travel long-distance, multiple drivers increase charter bus prices and also ensure that everybody on the bus can stay safe.

Is It a Busy Season for Charter Bus Rentals?

How much to charter a bus

As well as thinking about the time of year you're booking, you should also consider whether the place you're traveling to is in its busy season. If you're traveling to a destination popular with summer vacationers, then expect more traffic and a longer travel time. The same is true if you're traveling to a destination in the winter where more people may be traveling.

The time of the week is important, too! Weekends tend to be the time that coaches are in the most demand.

The price of travel bus services depends on the time of year, the time of the week, and by how much extra travel time there may be during traffic.

On-Duty and Driving Time

On-duty time refers to the time spent by the driver not driving, but taking breaks, stopping at service stations, and so on. The best way for you to keep your driving and on-duty time down, and therefore save on cost, is to keep your itinerary simple and your travel time as low as you can.

Consider how many pits stops you may need to make and whether your team can all meet at one place rather than driving around the city before setting off on a journey.

Tips to Save on a Charter Bus Rental Price

Now you know the factors that determine the price of a travel bus, we have a few tips to help you save money with your next booking.

  • Limit your Stops: While stops are important and required by the law, limiting the number of stops you make during your trip reduces the amount of time that drivers spend on duty. Over two journeys (there and back), this can reduce your cost somewhat substantially.
  • Choose the Right Bus: Buses come in all sizes and provide a wide range of options. Of course, a chartered bus price varies depending on how big or luxurious your bus choice may be. If budget is a concern, then the best course of action is to choose a bus that is not overkilled in terms of amenities or numbers of seats. For example, if your group only includes a dozen passengers, your cost to charter a bus will be lower if you use a minivan or passenger mini bus rather than a spacious motorcoach.

We offer the following types of vehicles for rent:

  • 57 passengers motorcoach;
  • 56/54 passengers motorcoach with bathroom;
  • 44/35 passengers mid-size coach bus;
  • 24 passengers minivan;
  • 20 passengers ADA-compliant minibus.
Charter Bus
  • Book Charter Bus in Advance: You have undoubtedly heard the saying: “the early bird gets the word”. This is true with affordable charter buses as well. If you want to lower your rental quote and keep the cost to charter a bus as cheap as possible, we recommend booking your trip at least two to three months in advance.
  • Fill as Many Seats as You Can: If you are wondering how to keep your charter bus total cost as low as possible, an excellent strategy consists of filling as many seats as there are on the bus – or at least getting as close to this number as possible. Insist on getting an exact headcount ahead of time, so you are not tempted to book a larger, more expensive than you would end up needing. In addition, although you may end up paying the same price to reserve a charter bus, having more attendees will reduce the cost per head and make the trip more affordable.
  • Choose the Off-Season: As we have already discussed in this piece, choosing the off-season is always a smart idea if you're looking to save money on most charter buses.
  • Look for Discounts: Are you still worried about the question of how much a charter bus costs? The good news is that you can probably ask for a discount to reduce the cost to charter a bus. Companies are more likely to agree to a discounted fare if they can make reservations in advance. In addition, if you have some leeway for the timing of your event, slower months – typically in the winter – allow for more affordable charter bus travel. Finally, bus rental companies are more likely to agree to a cheaper rate if you rent the bus for several days for multi day trips rather than a bus rental per day or even per hour.

Chicago's Trusted Charter Bus Rental Service

At Infinity Transportation, we've spent years providing the Chicago area with the most reliable charter bus rental service around. We always work with our clients to ensure they get the best deal, and to give you and your group a comfortable ride that gets you where you need to be on time!

For a quote for charter bus rental in Chicago, don't hesitate to get in touch! Infinity Transportation is here to help.

Book Your Group Bus Rental Today!
Check out a few of our ideas on where you can spend the day with your group, and then give us a call anytime at 847-297-1110 to rent your vehicle.
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Illinois Areas We Provide Charter Bus Rentals For

We serve businesses, organizations, and private parties across Chicago and surrounding areas, from Glencoe and Northbrook to Joilet, Rosemont, Lake Forest, and beyond.

Discover the vibrant charm of Arlington Heights, where modern meets tradition. Indulge in diverse culinary delights, explore renowned museums, and cheer for your favorite team at Arlington International Racecourse. Unforgettable memories await your group adventure!

Experience the magic of Aurora, where history intersects with the present. Marvel at the grand architecture, enjoy riveting performances at the Paramount Theatre, and engage in vibrant local festivals. Your group journey begins here!

Embark on an adventure in Bolingbrook! Relish family fun at The Promenade, revel in the natural beauty of Hidden Lakes Historic Trout Farm, or tee off at Boughton Ridge Golf Course. Explore Bolingbrook today!

Cicero awaits, blending historic charm with urban convenience. Explore the bustling local markets, savor authentic Mexican cuisine, and immerse in the lively local festivals. Cicero - a treasure trove of unique experiences!

Unearth the gem that is Des Plaines! Witness the birthplace of McDonald’s, relax by the tranquil Lake Opeka, and learn something new at the Des Plaines History Center. The perfect destination for your group!

Explore Elmhurst, where tradition and innovation intertwine. Visit the iconic Elmhurst Art Museum, shop in charming boutiques, and taste unique brews at local breweries. Get ready for your next bus trip to Elmhurst!

Discover Elgin, where the Fox River brings people together. Visit the Grand Victoria Casino, immerse yourself in Elgin Symphony Orchestra's melodies, and engage with nature at the Hawthorne Hill Nature Center.

Evanston is ready for you with its lakeside charm and vibrant intellectual life. Stroll around Northwestern University's campus, enjoy the arts at Noyes Cultural Arts Center, or unwind at Evanston’s scenic beaches. A must-visit destination for any group!

Hoffman Estates

Hoffman Estates is an enticing destination for your next trip. Infinity Transportation’s impeccable charter buses, including deluxe coaches and minibus rentals, serve both small groups and larger parties.

Mount Prospect

Discover reliable group transportation in Mount Prospect, IL with Infinity Transportation. Our charter bus rentals are tailored to suit your needs, whether it's for corporate events, sporting events, weddings, or airport transfers. While on board, you can enjoy comfortable seating, climate control, and professional drivers as you explore Mount Prospect and its surroundings.

Experience Naperville, where modern living meets rich history. Visit the iconic Naperville Riverwalk, explore interactive exhibits at the DuPage Children's Museum, or try shopping downtown. Grab a charter and make your memories here!

Welcome to Northbrook, a haven of natural beauty and recreation. Experience the thrill of speed at the velodrome, explore the scenic Botanic Garden, or shop at Northbrook Court. Your adventure starts here!

Oak Lawn

Embark on a delightful journey through Oak Lawn, IL, with Infinity Transportation's diverse charter bus services. Proudly serving major markets, our luxury coaches and minibus rentals are perfect for small groups and larger gatherings.

Orland Park

Discover a wide array of bus rental options in Orland Park with Infinity Transportation. Our fleet of charter buses is designed to accommodate groups of all sizes and cater to various travel needs.


With a keen understanding of Palatine and its surroundings, our bus rental services are tailored to offer the ultimate in local transportation excellence. Our charter buses and motorcoaches are equipped for all your travel needs, ensuring you reach your destination safely and in comfort.

Dive into an urban playground teeming with shopping, entertainment, and cultural experiences. The possibilities for your group are endless, from the renowned Woodfield Mall to the Schaumburg Convention Center. Schaumburg invites you to indulge in excitement and adventure.


Experience the convenience and reliability of our bus rental services in Skokie, providing you with ample luggage space and essential amenities for a comfortable journey regardless of your destination.

Tinley Park

Tinley Park is a gem waiting to be explored. With our charter bus and party bus rental options, your group can travel comfortably and conveniently to various attractions and events in this vibrant city.

Unleash your inner explorer in Vernon Hills, a hub of outdoor adventures and shopping escapades. Explore miles of scenic trails, shop at premier outlets, and revel in thrilling attractions. Unforgettable memories await your group in Vernon Hills.

Unveil the splendor of Waukegan, a harbor city with a rich cultural tapestry. Visit the Genesee Theatre, enjoy Lake Michigan's serene vistas, or dive into history at the local museums. Waukegan is ready for your next bus trip!


Experience the premium transportation services tailored for Wheaton, IL, by Infinity Transportation.

Book Your Group Bus Rental Today!
No matter what type of group you’re traveling with, Infinity Transportation is here to pair you with the perfect group transportation solution
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