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Bus vs. Plane: Which is Better for Your Student Group?

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by Rhoda Venture
Education TripPerformance Trip

You’re planning a student trip to an amazing but far-flung destination.  So how do you get there?  It’s bus vs. plane.  Which is better for your student group?

Let’s break it down to highlight the benefits of each.

bus vs. plane

Driving with a Student Group

First, chances are that you won’t be riding school buses on your 10-hour trip.  So let’s call this mode of transportation by its proper industry term – a motorcoach.

According to the American Bus Association, student groups account for 24.4% of motorcoach passengers.  And there are lots of excellent reasons for this!

Cost Effective

Planning student travel can be a pricey endeavor. However, traveling by motorcoach can help decrease costs.

Unlike air travel or other ticketed travel, each student typically shares in the total cost of motorcoach transportation. The more passengers on the bus, the lower the cost per traveler.

Environmentally Friendly and Efficient

Motorcoaches have the lowest carbon footprint among transportation providers like air, rail, and automobile.  One motorcoach using cleaner diesel fuel can replace 36 cars, reducing pollutants AND congested roads.

That’s doing some great green work!

bus driver

Strong Safety Record

A 2017 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistic shows 37,133 fatalities on U.S. highways.  Of those, only 1/2 of one percent (18) were attributed to motorcoach accidents.

In addition, motorcoach companies have taken steps to ensure passenger health and well-being with new standards and protocols that may include:

  • Air cleaning systems
  • Regular cleaning and disinfection of hard surfaces (including seats, floors, overhead areas, handrails, bathrooms, etc.)
  • Plexiglass where appropriate

Look Before You Book: Put Bus Safety First

Comfortable and Convenient

Today’s motorcoaches are incredibly comfortable and convenient.  Most are climate-controlled with plush, reclining seats, ample legroom, and storage.  Many have charging outlets, Wi-Fi, and entertainment systems as well.  Students can pack a pillow and blanket and settle in to watch a movie or just the stunning scenery pass by.

Booking Buses and Driving Through the Night

flying with a student group

Flying with a Student Group

Flying with a student group can be intimidating. The regulations for air travel change constantly, making it easy to be overwhelmed. But if you have a long distance to cover, it’s worth considering.

Here are some truly positive perks to keep in mind if you’re thinking about air travel.

Tips for Flying with a Student Group

Power in Numbers

Using an airline group booking partner can help you secure some great rates.  A booking partner will use its buying power and expertise to search multiple carriers for the lowest possible price.

They’ll also negotiate private fares for groups that meet their criteria for a private flight.


Every situation is unique, but group air travel often has more flexible terms and conditions than individual air travel.

When students drop out or need to swap spots, there is usually a little wiggle room for modifications until a specified date (typically 6 weeks out.)

flying with a student group

Strong Safety Record

Much like motorcoach travel, air travel has a very strong safety record.  The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) recently released its 2022 global safety report.

Last year, there was a 9.8% decrease in accidents compared to 2022.  This drop is concurrent with an 11% increase in total flights.  Additional research by Harvard showed that the odds of a passenger being involved in a fatal aircraft accident were one in 11 million.

The ICAO attributes these stellar stats to industry efforts laser-focused on safety.


Let’s face it.  Sometimes the idea of a 12-hour motorcoach ride with 56 ‘energetic’ middle schoolers is a bit more than the average person can handle.

Flying is a convenient way to eliminate stress and get you where you’re going in a fraction of the time (assuming there are no delays.)

Less time en route = more time at the destination!

Bus vs. Plane: Which is Better for Your Student Group?

So… bus vs. plane.  Which IS better for your student group?  Only you can decide.  But if you need a helping hand sorting through it all, Kaleidoscope Adventures is ready to assist.

KA has planned transformative student travel for 29+ years – and the expert KA team takes the guesswork out of all your trip-planning decisions.


Regardless of HOW you get there, the important thing is that you GO.  Experiencing the wonders of new people, places, cultures, and adventures beyond classroom walls is priceless.  And isn’t that what it’s all about?

teens traveling

Why Kaleidoscope Adventures?

As a leader in the student travel industry for 30+ years, Kaleidoscope Adventures exceeds expectations for student and performance group travel.

We’ll work with you to plan an exceptional travel experience and provide impeccable customer service from start to finish

Learn More

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