Category Archives: passenger van rental

How to Rent a Bus to Drive Yourself – With Resources

If you’re like me, you’ve searched for information on how to rent a bus you can drive yourself, and only been able to find a bunch of rental companies that claim you can rent a bus from them, but then offer you a smaller vehicle.  Or you only come up with charter companies that want you to use their driver.

How to rent a bus to drive yourself?  You can rent a bus for yourself from private individuals.  Some of the buses you find will be converted into custom layouts and others will be traditional seating.  Visiting some of the online RV rental sites listed below will help you find what you are looking for.

This resource will help you find a bus that you can rent and drive yourself.  The reason you can’t find a bus to rent and drive is because there aren’t any companies that offer this type of rental.  At least no companies that I could find.  I am going to show you how you can locate them.

There are two main places I have been able to find buses to self drive.  They are and rvshare.

If you’ve ever visited Outdoorsy, or if you go there now, you will probable think you can’t find a bus for rent on the site.  And I will admit, it is difficult to find a bus on their site when you go directly to the site.  Outdoorsy has very limited search capabilities.  You basically can only enter the city you want to search in and the dates you are looking to book your rental.  But there is another way you can search.

To find a bus on Outdoorsy, you have to do a search on Google that limits itself to results on Outdoorsy.  The search you execute on google looks like the following:

site: bus

This search yielded some good results.  Here are a few.


2016 Tiffin Motorhomes Allegro Bus

Make: Tiffin Motorhomes
Model: Allegro Bus
Type: Class A
Sleeps: 4
Length: 45 Feet

This bus comes loaded with features.  It has air conditioning, toilet, kitchen, generator, beds, and so much more.  And the best part is you get to drive it yourself.  This size bus does require a special license to drive.  It is also pretty pricey at $300 per day.

If you slightly change the first Google search, you can find some smaller buses/vans.  Here is the search:

site: sprinter

And here is a result from that search.


10 Seater Custom Mercedes-Benz Sprinter

Make: Mercedes Benz
Model: Presidential Sprinter
Type: Class B
Sleeps: 10
Length: 24 Feet

This is an amazing looking bus. It has custom captains chairs that swivel. There are two bench seats in the back that accommodate two people each. The benches can each fold down to create a bed for all for people that are seated on them. There is a toilet in the very back of the van. There is also a small refrigerator, sink, and microwave oven. I would like to take this on everyone of my trips. How about you?

Another website you can find some good buses to rent and drive yourself is  Rvshare has very good search funtionality.  You can search by location, date, number it sleeps, price, type of drivable RV, type of Towable RV, type of booking, your own keywords, and additonal filters.


The screen shot above was done with ‘bus’ entered in to the keyword field.  All of the results are for you to drive the bus yourself.

Here is one of the listing.


As you can see, you can rent this beauty for ony $295 a night.  And you get to drive it.  This definitely beats renting a hotel room.

The bus also comes with a plethora of amenities.  You get an stove, sofa, microwave, refrigerator, kitchen sink, toilet, shower…the list goes on and on.

Here is a result from searching with the keyword ‘sprinter’.


As you can see, both sites have owner’s listing their buses and vans for you to rent.  You may not be able to find exactly what you are looking for in your immediate area.  But if you are willing to travel a little bit, you should be able to get the right vehicle

What type of license do you need to drive a bus?

Licensing varies from state to state, so be sure to check with your state and any state you will be driving in.  To drive a vehicle that weighs less than 10,000 pounds, your regular license should be fine.  Anything over 10,000 pounds requires a special license.

As an example, in Louisiana, to operate a vehicle over 10,000 pounds and less than 26,000 pounds and for hire, you would need a Class D license .  To operate a vehicle less than 26,000 pounds not for hire, you would need a Class C license.  To operate a straight vehicle that is over 26,000 pounds, you would need a Class B license.  And to operate a vehicle with a trailer that is over 26,000 pounds you would need a Class A license.

For a bus, like the Tiffin Allegro Bus shown above, you would need a Class B license.  For a bus, like the Mercedes Benz Sprinter, you could use your regular license.

What kind of fuel does a bus use?

Buses come in both gasoline and diesel.  Diesel is more common because diesel engines tend to have more power, especially when towing.

The smaller vans, like the Mercedes Sprinter, come in both diesel and gas powered.  Mercedes only offers the Sprinter in a 4-cylinder for gas and in a 6-cylinder for diesel.

How much will gas or diesel cost for a bus?

The cost you pay will be however much the fuel is at the pump per gallon.  Large buses get between 4 – 10 miles per gallon.  A smaller vehicle, like the Sprinter will get between 16 – 24 miles per gallon.

According to, diesel fuel contains 10% to 15% more energy.  They say this means vehicles with diesel engines will go 20% to 35% further than gas powered vehicles.  Gas, at least at this time, is cheaper than diesel when priced per gallon.  If you are given a choice between a gas or a diesel engine in your rental, you should consider the price per gallon and what kind of load you will be carrying.

Are winds and other road conditions a concern?

The larger the vehicle the more the wind will affect how it drives.  You will need to slow down when the wind in high to keep from being blown around and possibly losing control.

Rain and snow can be extremely dangerous when operating a bus.  Be sure to get the right kind of training for these conditions.  It’s a good idea to go out and do some  real world simulated driving on a closed course.

A bus rental is waiting for you

Whether you’re taking a large group on a day trip or you want to head out on the road for a long hiatus, you can get a bus and drive it yourself.

Lift Gate Truck Rental

A lift gate truck rental can be a big help if you need to load and unload very heavy things on to the truck.  You can rent lift gate trucks with or without a ramp.  I have a few stories about times I should have had a lift gate truck and I didn’t.

I remember when I was younger I helped my cousins husband move somethings.  I drove my truck to the house they were moving from and someone helped me put the washer and dryer onto the truck.  I drove to their new house and got her husband.  He was a really big fellow.  He custom built motorcycles and was fairly strong.  I figured the two of us could get these appliances down without much trouble.  But I did warn him that they were heavy and that we should be careful.  He went out the house before I did.

When I came out of the house to help him unload the washer and dryer, I was shock to see him bear hugging the washing machine as it sat on the edge of the tailgate of my truck.  I figured there was no way he was going to move it by himself, but that’s just what he did.  I would not have believed it if I didn’t see it with my own eyes.  He lifted that washer off of the truck and carried it across the yard and brought it into the house.  He was like a lift gate.

The next time I should have had a lift gate truck rental was when I moved a huge refrigerator.  I strapped it to a hand truck and a friend and I put it on my pickup truck.  The problem I had was that there was not going to be anyone at my destination to help me get it off the truck.  I was sure I could do it by myself without damaging the refrigerator.

When I got to the new house I really wasn’t sure how I was going to get it down.  I decided I would hold the handles of the hand truck and lower it down.  Well, this didn’t work out to well.  I started to slide the refrigerator down the tail gate when I realized it was much heavier than I had thought.  It was too late by this time, it was headed for the ground.  The hand tuck slipped from my hands and the refrigerator slammed to ground.

Conversion Van Rental the Fun Way

Growing up we never had the luxury of riding in a conversion van.  We knew a few people that had them, but I had only seen the inside of one until I was 23 years old.  My first trip in a conversion van was awesome and when I was ready to rent a van to travel across country, the first thing I looked into was a conversion van rental.  Let me tell you why.

That first trip was a three hour trip to a camp ground.  I remember how impressed I was when I entered the van.  And I remember how comfortable the back seat felt as it seemed to mold around my back and legs.  It felt like I was sitting in a recliner in my living room.  The chairs swiveled, reclined, and had armrest.  The ceiling was high enough for us to stand up without hitting our heads.  Usually I get some amount of car sickness when I ride in any kind of vehicle, but in this conversion van I felt great.  I remember talking, laughing, eating, and just having loads of fun without any sickening feeling.  It was great.

Well, when I investigate getting a conversion van rental I was disappointed to find that the major rental companies don’t rent conversion vans.  This is because they are too expensive to buy and maintain.  That’s when I remembered another ride I took in a large comfortable vehicle.

This time we were heading to the State Penitentiary to minister to prisoners.  A good friend of mine had just assumed the note on a Ford Expedition.  Prior to this ride, I never been in any luxury SUV.  I had no idea how much space was in the inside of this thing.  The chairs and ride were just as comfortable as the conversion van.  The best thing was that rental companies do rent luxury SUVs out.  So, if you are looking for a conversion van rental and can’t find one, my advice would be to rent a luxury SUV.

10 Passenger Van Rental or Not?

If you are looking for a 10 passenger van rental, you have three options.  There are a few factors involved in choosing the right option.  You can rent a 12 passenger van, you can rent two smaller passenger vans, or you can rent a mini bus.  The larger passenger van rental vs the two smaller van rentals is one you should decide on early.  The first factor deals with safety.  The second is about organization.

Anytime you set out on an adventure you want to be safe.  This holds true when you are renting a 10 passenger van, a larger passenger van, or a smaller van like a 7 passenger van rental.  Smaller vans are easier to handle and generally safer.  They will perform better in all conditions.  They also have better rollover ratings than their larger counterparts.  You should check for the specific make and model you are going to rent to find out the specific crash ratings

The larger passenger van seems ideal because your group can be together and the two smaller van option requires you to have two drivers.  Sometimes groups want to stay together when they are traveling.  When we were in China we had a small group and always stayed together when we were traveling from one city to the other, but on some of the day outings we would split up into small groups.  We didn’t need vehicles for moving around the cities and towns.  We just used taxis and the subway system in major cities and we walked in smaller towns.

Two or more vehicles can provide you with the ability to have different groups go to different locations.  This can be ideal because not everyone wants to go to the same place everyday.

A mini bus rental, in my opinion, is the best option for groups larger than 8.  It will provide you with safe travel, allow you to stay together, and they are affordable.

Which every way you choose to move your group of 10 passengers, please be safe.

17, 18, 20 Passenger Van Rental Considerations

There are a good bit of people looking for 17, 18, and 20 passenger van rentals.  Our research has shown that the best vehicle to rent, if you have more than 9 passengers to seat, is a small bus.  There are several reasons you should rent a bus instead of a van for a large group of passengers.

Buses are designed to carry large groups of people.  The wheel base is wider on buses.  And in most cases, they have dual tires in the back which provide better traction are safer when there is a blowout.  Buses are also designed to be better in crashes than large vans.

Most large vans are designed with a thin shell on the outside and very little fortification for rollovers.  This can cause the exterior to crumble in a crash and passengers can be seriously injured.  A bus does not guarantee that no one will be seriously injured if there is a crash, it only greatly lessens the possibility.

Large Passenger VAn

Large passenger van. Photo credit: Fairchild Air Force Base

To our knowledge, there are no manufactures making 17 – 20 passenger vans.  Do not be tempted to overload a smaller van.  This is very dangerous and could make it very hard for the driver to control the van.  In addition, the heavy weight could cause the tires to become overheated and blowout.

A small bus will allow you, your friends, and your family to travel in comfort.  It will also provide you the opportunity to travel together and arrive safely.   If a bus is not an option,  you should look at renting a few smaller vans.  Smaller vans will provide the safety you need and will also give you a few vehicles to drive around your destination.  This is what we did in Hawaii and it worked out great.

We had two vans.  It was probably the best decision we could have made.  On some days we went as a group to the beach or some other place.  On other days we would split up and take the two vans to different places.

Large Passenger Van Rental

Here are somethings to consider if you are looking for a large passenger van rental.

Large passenger van sizes

  • 12 passenger van
  • 15 passenger van
  • 17, 18, 20 passenger vans (Rent a small bus)


Large passenger vans are known to have safety concerns.  There are some steps that can be taken to mitigate the potential danger.  If possible, it may be better to rent a bus or several smaller vans.

  • Do not overload the van with people or supplies.
  • Check the tire pressure before setting out and periodically throughout long trips to make sure the tire pressure is correct.
  • Maintain good tires.
  • Outfit the rear wheels with dual tires.  This will help distribute the weight evenly.
  • Do not speed.



16 Passenger Van Rental

Some years back I took a trip to China.  We headed all the way out to the Northwest to the city of Urumuqi in the Xinjiang province.  From Urumuqi we hired a driver with a 16 passenger van rental to take us across the desert to Altay, which is about 60 miles from Mongolia.

The van was like a 16 passenger van you would see at an airport.  It was a dual wheeled mini bus rental.  It was clean and rather comfortable.  The morning of our ride to Altay, just before leaving, we were told that it would be a 14 hour ride.  It was one of the longest rides I had been on in any vehicle; topped only by the airplane ride to China and a train ride across China.  And it was one of the most interesting rides I have ever taken; only beaten by the ride back from Altay to Urumuqi in a 8 passenger van rental.

So, we loaded all of our things onto the passenger van and headed out for our 14 hour ride.  The beginning of the ride, as we left Urumuqi, was on a nice, new highway.  The scenery was of rolling hills and mountains in the distance.  It seemed that this would be a long, but bearable ride through the desert.

About an hour or so into the trip, we noticed the road had a lot of people working on it.  It wasn’t the kind of repair work you see in the states.  We would see one guy with a pick axe and then a half a mile or so later we would see another guy with a wagon full of pieces of the old black top.  Then we would see two guys shoveling new black top rocks into odd shaped pot holds that probable had been created by a guy with a pick axe.  This one or two guys and sometimes girls continued for miles.

Somewhere along the way we stopped seeing workers and just began to see massive amounts of pot holes.  Some of them looked like they had been filled in, but many had nothing but air and dirt in them.  The ride in the 16 passenger van began to become very rough.  As we drove, the road became thinner and thinner and the pot holes worsened.  Then, to our surprise, the road ended.  There was only desert in front of us.

At this point we thought the drive might turn around; maybe we made a wrong turn somewhere.  But it was not the case,  the drive continued as if he knew where he was going.  As we rode in the sand, we saw cars stuck in the distance to the right and left as sand devils spun all around us.  It was a very surreal scene.  We drove for two hours in the sand.  And then it was like the drive had a homing device setup to locate the other end of the road, we had found the other side of the highway.

We finally made it to Altay, a beautiful little city set in the hills.  Our driver and 16 passenger van rental had gotten us there safe.  It’s a trip I will never forget.

15 Passenger Van Rental

If you need a 15 passenger van rental, you will want to read this story before you make your decision.  My mom used to drive a 15 passenger van as the bus for my elementary school.  We would get up very early in the morning and set out to pick up all of the other students in a 10 mile radius from the school.  We didn’t really like it, but it was the way my mom paid for us to attend private school.

As we got older, we changed schools and my mom stopped driving the 15 passenger van.  And if we had boat loads of money after those early years, my story about a passenger van would end here.  But, that is not the case.  You see there was a time when we should have went to a local rental place and ordered a 15 passenger van rental and we didn’t.  No, my dad, bless his heart, he had different plans; and now that I am older and understand money more than I did then, I understand why he did what he did.

We would take little trips every now and then, but they were just an hour or so away.  This only required that we bring some clothing and a few toys because the campgrounds had plenty of equipment and activities for use to do.  One Summer, my parents decided that we were not going to take the usual one hour drive to our favorite place, but we instead where going on a twelve hour excursion.  Now I knew we didn’t have the vehicle for that kind of journey and thought that renting a van like a 15 passenger van rental would be perfect for our family.  Boy, was I in for a surprise when I learned of my dad’s plans.

My dad was a builder, and engineer of sorts.  He worked in carpentry and construction most of his life.  He also like to tinker with inventions.  So, his modifications to the old van that he purchased from a guy in the neighborhood shouldn’t have a shock to me, but they were.  First, as he drove the van home, he notice that there were many air leaks in the body of the van that caused a high whistling sound.  The van had formally been a 15 passenger van rental, owned by a rental company and bought by the owner who sold it to us.  He, the previous owner, ripped the seats and interior out to take the van from a 15 passenger van rental to a cargo van fitted for construction.

He used it like this for six years; banging and denting the body up with all of his tools, lumber, and equipment.  What my dad had purchased was the remnant of a battle worn 15 passenger van rental combined with a work truck.  So, his first task was to seal up all those leaks.  My dad, being the master at modification,  went to work.  I still remember the first time I saw all of that expanded yellow foam all over the van where the 15 people used to sit and enjoy there ride in its rental days.  To me, it looked like yellow lava had oozed out of the crevices and hardened into rock.

Now, like most people would do, my dad tuned the engine, had us wash the the outside, and then began to load it starting from the back.  It was loaded with luggage, toys, a barbecue pit, bikes, baseball equipment, and various other things we need for our two week stay away from home.  As you would expect, we helped him load everything in to the van.  What became a lingering question in my mind was, “Where are we going to sit?”  There where two captain’s chairs in the front for my mom and dad to sit in, but none for me and my brothers.  There was only one full row where the 15 passenger van seats used to be and a three feet by three feet hole on the side of all of our stuff.

Before I go any further,  you have to take into consideration that this was before many states had instituted mandatory seat belt laws, and most people felt that riding with out a seat belt was relatively safe.  Now back to the story.  In a 15 passenger van rental, the seats are bolted down the floor for safety.  You would think, and I would say you were right in thinking so, that we would have gotten a 15 passenger van seat and bolted that sucker to the bottom of the van.  Well, my dad did what any red blooded American with ingenuity would do.  He took our folding lawn chairs, stuffed one into the hole among our things and put the other three between the front seat and all of our things.  He then weaved a strap through each of them and secured to the side of the van.  We rocked and swayed our way all the way to that mountain cabin many miles away from home.  I can still remember it like it was yesterday.  My dad has gone home to be with Jesus now, but I will never forget his version of a 15 passenger van rental and our trip across country.

15 Passenger Van Rental

P.S.  My advice to you would be to cough up the dough and get a 15 passenger van rental.  It will be well worth the money and a whole lot safer than the contraption we used.