It’s an unfortunate fact that many seasoned travellers have dismissed coach holidays as an uncomfortable, no frills, budget trip that’s about as appealing as root canal surgery. But an increasing amount of adventurous tourists are swapping the traditional flight or train travel for comfortable coach trips in recent years.
This can be put down to a number of reasons, the main one being that coach travel has evolved significantly since early package tours. Nowadays coaches are modern, air-conditioned vehicles fitted with more mod-cons than you can shake a thermos flask at—such as reclining seats, spacious legroom, on-board toilets and most importantly, free Wi-Fi for those of us armed with gadgets such as smartphones and tablets.
And if you’ve had the displeasure of travelling on a budget airline that leaves at some ungodly hour in the morning, from an airport nowhere near the town it purports to be in, with narrow, plastic moulded seats that don’t recline—you’ll understand why coach trips are rising in popularity.
On the other hand, its increasing appeal might have something to do with Channel 4’s popular reality TV show ‘The Coach Trip‘, which follows a group of ill-assorted strangers on a bus touring around Europe. But whatever the reason, it’s certainly worth considering catching a coach for your next trip.
Advantages of coach trips:
- Value for money compared to train travel and flights
- A wide range of destinations
- City centre to city centre travel
- Local pick up points
- Coaches produce six times less carbon emissions than flying
- Travel to numerous destinations on one ticket
- You can travel overnight—meaning you can sleep and arrive rested
- Coaches have plug sockets to use gadgets
- Short check in times—unlike at airports you can arrive minutes before departure times
- More luggage—most companies allow two medium sized suitcases plus hand luggage
- You can also apply for a discount card with some companies
Of course, there are some disadvantages, such as:
- It takes longer to arrive than by plane or train
- You could get stuck in traffic
- You may end up sitting next to someone you don’t want to for long periods of time
Coach Trips in Europe
From Amsterdam to Zurich, you can visit hundreds of European cities by coach. Plus, if you don’t live in London where most trips depart from, there are connecting services to bring you to the capital. What’s more, it’s the greenest way to see Europe, producing six times less carbon emissions than flying, according to coach touring company Eurolines.
Destinations from London include Paris (£24), Amsterdam (£24), Brussels (£19) and Cologne (£30)*. Some coach companies such as Eurolines also offer a 15-day pass from £185, which gives you unlimited travel between 49 European cities, while letting you plan your route along the way.
You may also want to try Shearings Holidays, who visit destinations including Lake Garda in Italy, the Spanish coastlines and many popular destinations in the UK.
Coach Trips in the USA and Canada
From the east coast to the west coast, the USA is an epic country that offers a holiday experience like no other—and one that is ideal for coach trips. Just like Europe, you can access all major US cities and attractions by coach, with a myriad of companies competing against each other to keep prices wallet-pleasingly low.
Virgin Holidays, for example, arrange 12-day escorted coach trips across the USA that include return flights from London to New York, with meals and accommodation included. One such itinerary includes: New York, Boston, Quebec, Montreal, Toronto, Niagara Falls, Pennsylvania and Washington DC. Another popular ten day coach tour visits the California wine region and Yosemite National Park, which includes stops in San Francisco to see the Golden Gate Bridge and the famous prison on Alcatraz Island.
* Coach prices correct at time of writing