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Coach Holidays – What is an Excursion? 🚍

coach excursion

Heard the term coach excursion and not sure what it means?

Here’s all you need to know about a coach holiday excursion and the different types available.


Coach Excursion – What Does It Mean?

What is the meaning of coach excursion?

A coach excursion is a trip taken by coach when travelling on a coach holiday. There are included excursions. These are included in the cost of the holiday. There are also optional excursions. These cost extra, on top of the cost of the holiday but they are entirely optional – you don’t have to book them.

When you book a coach holiday you will be booking a package of things. This may include the following;

  • Travel to and from your home address or pick up point
  • Travel throughout your holiday
  • Hotels
  • Meals
  • Coach holiday driver
  • Coach Holiday Tour Manager
  • Local Guides
  • Included excursions – trips out that are included in the holiday price
  • Optional excursions – trips out that are extra and not included in the holiday price
coach excursion post image

Coach Excursion

Included Excursions

The itinerary you look at when booking your holiday should always indicate which excursions (trips) are included in your holiday price and which are extra.

Included excursions are ones you have paid for when you book your holiday – you don’t need to pay anything extra to do them. Sometimes there may be optional extras in included excursions. Here’s an example;

On an Australian touring holiday, a trip to the mountain village of Kuranda on the train was included. Travel back down the mountain on the bus was included. There was an option to pay extra and travel back down the mountain on the cable car.

PT Note

One thing I often remind guests is that they don’t have to do every included excursion if they don’t want to. Sometimes guests get tired during a coach holiday, or they simply want to spend a day by themselves or doing something else. Just because an excursion is included doesn’t mean you have to go on it!

Coach Excursion

Optional Excursions

Optional excursions are ones that you need to pay extra for. Some holiday companies print the prices in the holiday brochure so you can see how much these are before you book your holiday. Some do not and if there are lots of optional excursions this can add up to a significant sum.

Some coach holiday companies offer the chance to pre-book your optional excursions when you make your holiday booking, usually for a discount. Some holiday companies only take bookings whilst you are away, and sometimes this has to be in cash. (This is often because commission needs to be paid from these optional excursion sales and it is easier to pay this in cash.)

There is no requirement to book optional excursions when you take a coach holiday. They are optional because it is entirely up to you if you want to do them or not.


Coach Excursion

Optional Excursion Commission

Sometimes Tour Managers will get a commission from the sale of optional excursions. The standard commission is around 10%. This can mean that some Tour Managers push optional excursions to increase sales but most will want happy customers so they will give you the information to let you decide for yourself.

Coach Excursion

Optional Excursion Minimum Numbers

Often on a coach holiday there is a minimum number of bookings required to operate an optional excursion. This can be higher if a local coach company or tour operator is going to be used. It can be difficult to achieve these numbers if the number of travellers on the holiday is smaller. Hopefully, the coach holiday company will take this into account in these situations.

I once had a group of 4 guests on a coach holiday – that was the total amount of passengers. 2 wanted to do an optional excursion but the minimum number was 10. I explained to the holiday company that 50% of the guests wanted to do the tour and they relented. We went to Monaco with 2 people on a 49 seater coach!

Coach Excursion

Optional Excursions Operated by Local Tour Operators

Sometimes optional tours are operated by local tour operators. This can mean that when you book an optional excursion you can be part of a larger group, which may be a different nationality and language. It is always worth double checking before you book who will be providing the optional excursion – your coach holiday driver and guide, perhaps with a local guide or a local tour operator.

Coach Excursion – Summary

  • Check at the time of booking how many excursions are included and how many are optional.
  • If you are considering booking an optional excursion check whether it is being run by the coach holiday company or a local provider.
  • Remember – you don’t have to go on every included excursion if you don’t want to!

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10 Things to know before you book a coach holiday – based on my 35 years of experience as a Tour Manager

11 Coach Holiday Hacks – for an even better coach holiday

Find all my resources on my Coach Holidays page

Further Reading

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