With the hugely popular channel 4 series Coach Trip, starring the International Tour Guide Brendan, having just finished another journey, I wondered how close this is to the reality of taking a holiday by coach.
Top benefits of traveling by coach
Go Green – Did you know that a fully loaded coach consumes less fuel per passenger than a fully loaded car? Believe it or not, this is true. A loaded coach will get close to 5 times better fuel efficiency per passenger than a car will.
Less stress – It removes the stress of driving: the honking of horns, the traffic jams, and the ever present risk of an accident. A professional driver will handle the streets so that you don’t have to.
Safety – Coach travel remains one of the safest modes of transportation available.
Economy – When dividing the cost of the coach by the number of people on board, you will see that per passenger will be far less than you thought, and less than many other modes of transport.
Enjoy the ride – With a professional driver behind the wheel you will now be able to see the sites and socialise with others around you, rather than focusing on driving. Travelling with others is a wonderful way to meet new people or connect with old friends.
Coach travel has come back into fashion recently as more and more people are realising its real benefits – both in terms of a more ‘greener’ form of travel and a more enjoyable way of getting from A to B.
Spacious, modern and air-conditioned coaches are the way to travel. Coaches are maintained to a very high standard and have comfortable seats so you can relax in style.
Why and who travels by coach?
Perhaps most people’s perception of coach holidays involves a group of elderly and sometimes immobile travellers visiting a seaside resort on an old bus style coach.
While there are certainly a diverse range of demographics in the coach travel sector, this image simply does not hold true any longer. Other forms of coach travel may include students on the cheap, or hoards of school children.
This again may be the case, but coach travel no longer belongs just to these exclusive groups. Nowadays coach tourism comes in many shapes and sizes – in Britain and around the globe. Coaches don’t just do day excursions, short breaks or longer holidays.
Sports superstars, pop music fans, theatre goers, conference delegates, cruise passengers – all often choose to travel by coaches. Even our Royals use coaches when there aren’t enough carriages and horses to go round!
But is it cool and how does the sometimes snobby culture of the UK stack up against our European cousin’s perception of coach travel. Coach travel in many European countries is extremely popular and luxurious.
It offers a convenient and easy way of traveling without the added hassle and expense of flying. Coaches are also increasingly being used to operate on normal package holidays targeted at families or young professionals. It is often an alternative and cheaper method of getting to the Alps for a skiing holiday.
You may be surprised that the UK coach travel sector has over 8 million customers annually with a turnover of £2.5 billion. Coach travel now offers many benefits over other forms of transport such as car and plane. Coach travel does not suffer from the taxation of APD (Air Passenger Duty) that is charged on European flights.
Such trips were once firmly aimed at the budget end of the market – often low on quality but with equally low prices.
The major tour operators have faced competition from a number of areas and have to look at the way in which they operate. As a result, many coach tours now look to provide a luxurious way of travelling.
The coaches used will generally be of an executive standard. It is now possible to get climate control, airline style folding seat back tables, toilets, glazed glass for privacy and hot and cold drinks facilities, and on board entertainment.
The increasing range of destinations served by such tours means that you are no longer restricted to trips within the UK. Popular new destinations include the US, Russia and the Far East.
Many of the tours are operated by specialists who have spent a lot of time, money and effort on research. As a result, you can expect to find that accommodation is of a high standard.
Itineraries have been tailored in such a way as to ensure that they are considerably more interesting. Want to visit Prague , Budapest and Vienna within a single holiday? Not a problem – such itineraries are now far more common.
Coaching holidays have improved beyond recognition.
by Charlotte Courthold