Making the Most of Your Party Bus Rental
When celebrating life's milestones from proms to bachelor and bachelorette parties to family reunions to switching bodies with a parent and learning a valuable lesson, a party bus rental can be one of the most fun ways to do it. You get an endlessly customizable space that's as wholesome or as decadent as you want it to be. And where else can you drink and "drive" in complete safety, or be seen while sightseeing?
But the truth is you don't even need a reason to rent a party bus. Picture this: instead of jostling for a bartender's attention and yelling over strangers, you and your friends can create a built-for-you nightlife alternative—maybe even for a lower cost than a typical night out (depending on how many people you invite). If you plan to rent a party bus, here's how to pack in the most party to the bus:
Choosing a Party-Bus Theme
Clever party themes elevate standard shindigs to legendary status, which means all the more reason to pick a good one for your next mobile affair. Even if it's not apropos to the event you're celebrating, a random unifying concept will instantly grab the attention of passersby and result in some unforgettable selfies. One of our personal favorites is having everyone dress like famed painter of "happy little trees" Bob Ross.
Whatever you pick, though, keep it simple. Space will be limited. Plus, the time it takes to set up comes out of the time you've booked (don't forget, you'll need to take it all down again at night's end).
- Recommended Decorations: Balloons, streamers, and banners are all easy to tape up and pull down later without incurring a cleaning fee. Also, don't overlook the advantage of having a TV in the bus; you can add to the atmosphere with movies or photo slideshows.
- Recommended Costumes: Masks, wigs, hats, and custom T-shirts are always smart options, since they can be removed easily and free guests to dress to their own comfort level.
Avoid any party games that are too elaborate or stationary, and bring along one of these games instead:
|GAME TYPE||FAMILY-FRIENDLY||ADULTS ONLY|
|Board/card games||Apples to Apples, Yahtzee, Old Maid||Cards Against Humanity|
|Car games||I spy, the license-plate game||A racy game of telephone or 20 questions|
|Custom games||DIY bingo board with squares for yield sign, jaywalker, etc.||Grown-up DIY bingo with squares for table dancing, hot cop, etc.|
|Drinking games||For the last time, Grandma, no!||Never have I ever, truth or shots|
|Trivia games||Apps such as QuizUp, Jeopardy!, and MovieCat||Apps such as Sporcle and Quizoid have adult-specific categories|
Party-Bus Food and Drink Ideas
When planning the menu, it's best to think more along the lines of a cocktail party than a dinner party. So keep the snacks light and easy and not too messy. Bring a variety of finger foods—around five types for non-mealtimes, eight for mealtimes. When calculating how much food to make, expect every guest to have two of each.
As for drinks, a sound policy is to bring enough so that everyone can have two drinks during the first hour and one drink per hour after that.
- Food Recommendations: Baguette slices with brie on top, homemade caramel popcorn, or chips with chunky guacamole.
- Drink Recommendations: Pitchers of homemade margaritas work well (just bring a lid), as do easy-to-mix classics like rum and coke. Bring a variety of options and avoid red wine (in case of sudden stops).
Mixing Your Party-Bus Playlist
This really depends on your taste and personality. If you're the type who tends your iTunes like a garden, bring your phone and an auxiliary cable and play DJ all night long. If you'd rather mingle, make it easy on yourself and ask the party bus rental company which satellite stations or streaming apps are available. If you have an app like Spotify, you can also choose from their myriad curated playlists.
Booking Your Bus
Bus sizes range from compact models that hold around 10 people to stretch models that can accommodate upward of 30. Always get more space than your invite list requires, though. For example: inviting 20 friends? Get the 30-person bus. There are a couple reasons for this: 1) many companies have fewer mid-size buses and 2) if you make a friend during one of the night's stops, you can invite them along without overloading the bus and irritating your guests.
Likewise, book at least an hour longer than you think you'll need. This gives you some stress-reducing flexibility and allows you to ready the bus for return without feeling rushed.
Planning Your Route
Your party bus likely won't have a bathroom—and even if it does, you're in an enclosed space (no one wants to be a literal party pooper). So include a steady cadence of pit stops along your route, whether at bars (bonus: extra drinks) or local landmarks (bonus: photo ops). Like the many other things they have in common, kids and heavy drinkers will both need to stop more often, about once every 30–45 minutes.
Are You Forgetting Anything?
One thing to always keep in mind when planning a night on a party bus: you need to bring everything. Here's a ready-made checklist to ensure you don't forget anything:
☐ Party favors (costumes, decorations, etc.)
☐ Bottled water
☐ Extra ice
☐ Extra cash
☐ Phone charger/USB cord
☐ Cups, plates, and silverware
☐ Stain-remover pen
☐ Paper towels
☐ Hand sanitizer
☐ First-aid kid
☐ Plastic wrap
☐ Plastic food containers
☐ Trash bags
Patrick Wisniewski was born in Michigan, traveled to Baltimore and Belize, and now lives with his fiancée in Chicago. He once touched lava on an active volcano with a stick.