Group Travel Lingo Glossary

It’s easy to “walk the walk” (or rather, ‘ride the ride’ in the case of charter bus transportation), but can you “talk the talk?” Learning group travel lingo is not just fun, but it’ll help you to better understand aspects of the quotation and booking process. Graduate from group travel novice to a savvy group leader as we define charter and tour slang you might encounter on your quest to find the best bus and accommodation for your group.

These top 5 words and phrases will help you learn the lingo for your next charter trip

#1: Deadhead

Don’t be alarmed, everyone is OK! Deadhead refers to miles traveled without passengers, either before the pickup or after a drop-off.

One of the reasons is such a helpful resource for travel planners is that you are able to search by proximity by entering your departure zip or postal code. Search results are then ordered with operators nearest your departure location at the top of the list. The fewer miles a motorcoach operator needs to travel without passengers on board, the better. Less deadhead equates to less wasted fuel and driver travel time, which means a more efficient trip. This efficiency allows charter operators to price their trips accordingly so that you pay for the time your group is actually on the bus—saving you money.

#2: Live Miles

Conversely, this refers to the miles traveled with passengers on board.

Ideally, all motorcoaches would only travel live miles. Motorcoaches are one of the greenest forms of transportation and reduce traffic congestion on roadways. In order to achieve high fleet utilization, carriers aim to keep their buses occupied when moving at all times.

#3: Over the road

It’s not a euphemism for an older bus (“over the hill,” anyone?), but rather a descriptor for the duration of a trip itinerary. Over the road (OTR) refers to longer trips out of the local area and typically overnight.

If your trip crosses state lines, be sure to seek quotes from an operator who is licensed for interstate passenger transportation. This information is viewable on each profile listed within the directory. Operators will either have a link to their MC (motor carrier) docket number or will be labeled as “Intrastate Only.”

Keep in mind that even if a motorcoach is licensed for interstate passenger transportation, they might not take all of their vehicles over the road. Commonly, school buses are used for local, low-miles trips and not taken on long excursions—simply because the mechanical components of school buses aren’t designed for long trips. Motorcoaches, minicoaches, executives and entertainers, however, are built for the long haul and designed to travel coast to coast and back again.

Another thing to remember about an over the road trip is that drivers must take breaks every 10 hours. These hours-of-service rules are enforced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, so it’s serious business. Safety is of paramount importance; drivers alternate during long trips to avoid fatigue and provide your group with alert, safe transportation.

#4: Pax

You may have luggage on the mind when getting ready to travel and are second-guessing if you are packing everything you intended, so it’s understandable if you associate “pax” with “packing” your bags, but it’s actually a slang for something much more valuable than your luggage: you! Pax is a written abbreviation for “passengers.”

Motorcoach transportation is about speed, efficiency, and prompt customer service. Who has time for three-syllable words when one syllable will do? Keep an eye out for “Pax” as it’s likely the most common abbreviation you’ll encounter when renting a charter bus.

#5: Pick and Drop

Is it a case of indecisiveness? Nope, Pick and Drop refers to what the bus will do with the passengers: in a Pick and Drop, the bus returns home after dropping passengers off at their destination. The bus does not provide local travel. This is the equivalent of a one-way in the bus rental world.

Common examples of Pick and Drop include transfers, for example, from a hotel to an airport, or other trips in which a large group of people need to move from point A to point B but can get around on their own after reaching the destination.

Now that you’ve learned the lingo, use this new-found confidence get started on planning your next group trip with today.