From wine tours to bachelorette parties and bar hops to birthday parties, people enjoy gathering a group to travel from one location to the next without stopping the party. If you want to treat your friends or family to a party bus experience on the way to your favorite stops while drinking wine, beer or liquor, make sure you know the federal and local laws regarding alcohol.
Take a look at our guide to drinking on buses to discover the safest way to enjoy your party on the road!
In the United States, no federal laws prohibit passengers from drinking alcohol on a party bus, minibus, charter bus or other vehicles transporting people for compensation. However, there may be local laws that prohibit the consumption of alcohol in these vehicles. Additionally, each bussing company may have rules or regulations about alcohol consumption, so always be sure you understand what you can and can’t do on the bus before choosing a service.
About 80% of the charter bus companies we work with at BusRates permit alcohol with a refundable deposit as long as your route stays in the United States and doesn’t pass into Canada.
Charter bus and alcohol laws can vary from state to state, and it’s common for municipalities to have regulations for charter bus drinking. Review the local ordinances of the location you’re traveling to and from, including any relevant stops along the way. You might begin in a place that permits drinking on the bus but be entering one that does not.
Follow the rules and regulations for every area and prioritize local laws for your safety, as well as the safety of others.
You can enjoy beer, wine and liquor on board your bus as long as the service company allows it and there is no local ordinance prohibiting such.
Consider how you’re transporting the alcohol. Plastic cups and canned drinks are likely the best way to enjoy your drinks, as many companies prohibit kegs or glass bottles.
Bussing companies allowing alcohol consumption on board may also require a cleaning fee or deposit to cover any messes you might make on the road. Glass bottles or drinkware make a much larger mess than plastic or cans, and materials like plastic provide a safer experience for you and your group when traveling over bumpy roads or rough terrain.
Check your state’s laws for vaping and smoking — some places consider vaping and e-cigarettes in the same category as smoking tobacco, which might hold you accountable to the state’s regulations for indoor smoking.
Individual state laws and charter bus operator rules determine whether you can smoke or vape inside the motor vehicle. Companies allowing drinking may prohibit smoking or vaping of any kind, especially when it comes to tobacco smoke, which can cause lingering odors or health concerns for those inside the bus.
Smoking could be a fire hazard, and some companies may ask that you do not light any flame while the vehicle is moving. Additionally, some drivers or group guests could have an allergy or sensitivity to smoke or vapor, so consider requesting a driver who is comfortable driving with your party if you intend to smoke or vape.
You can’t smoke marijuana on a coach or charter bus. If you’re traveling to and from or within states that allow recreational marijuana use, you can bring marijuana on the bus — depending on the bus and company — but can’t smoke it. You must wait until you are off the bus and outside to smoke marijuana.
Keep in mind that smoking marijuana could affect your driver. On top of the sometimes overwhelming smell, smoke can irritate the driver’s eyes. Additionally, large amounts of marijuana in an enclosed space could result in the driver getting a contact high, making it unsafe for you and your guests to travel. You should never attempt to smoke week on a bus and must wait until you are in a safe space.
If you’re planning a group trip with minors and intending to drink alcohol, you’ll need to adhere to the bus company’s guidelines. Some companies may require you to bring chaperones to monitor the underage guests. Typically, this means having someone older than 25 on the bus to ensure underage drinking does not occur. In some places, the bussing company may need to provide a chaperone.
Designated chaperones must:
Safety should always be your top priority when choosing a transportation provider. Any trip should begin with a trustworthy and reputable company. The company you select should be happy and able to tell you about their safety measure and how they will create a safe experience for every guest.
They should share the driver’s experience and training levels and be able to describe the age and condition of the charter bus. Once you find the company to suit your needs, keep in mind some safety measures that can keep you and your friends and family safe. As with any time you or others are consuming alcohol, you should prioritize safe practices and plan ahead to minimize disruptions or unexpected events.
Here are some top tips for drinking on a charter bus:
BusRates provides group travel across the United States and Canada. We are a directory of travel providers and operators, so you can always use our information to plan your next big trip without costly price markups. We offer travel by charter busses, coach busses, sleeper coaches, executive coaches, trolleys and vans to suit every party’s needs. You can even filter your bus options by companies that permit alcohol onboard, abbreviated as “Alch.” on our website.
We’ve been operating since 2004, and our simplified process continues to make planning trips and events much easier. Request a quote now to start planning your next group bus trip!