Coach holidays are a great way to travel – I should know as I have spent 25 years taking groups on coach holidays all over the world, everywhere from the Azores to Australia, the Rhine to Russia and Ireland to Italy.
They can be a great way to pack a lot into your holiday, probably more than you could manage under your own steam.
They are a great way to meet other people and of course they are great because everything is organised for you, or as much as you want is organised for you!
However there are lots of coach holiday myths which lead many people to put off consider these holidays.
The great news is that coach holidays are changing and developing and we will look at some of the new developments at the end of this article.
For now let’s start by busting the top 4 coach holiday myths – the most common comments I have heard when I talk to people about coach holidays!
Coach Holiday Myths – Busted!
Coach Holidays Are For Really Old People
This is one of the most pervasive coach holiday myths. People often tell me that they aren’t old enough yet to take a coach holiday!
Coach holidays attract a wide variety of ages, although generally travellers are from their 40’s upwards. It is that not common to see children on coach holidays, some coach holiday companies don’t allow children infact. However, multigenerational coach holidays look like they will become more common.
There are coach holiday options for younger people too with plenty of options aimed at travellers aged 18-30.
Many people picture coaches full of people who need wheelchairs, mobility scooters or walking aids when they picture coach holidays and that is absolutely not my experience of taking thousands of travellers.
Many coach holidays have fitness requirements, which give details of how much walking you need to be able to do in a day etc. Some don’t allow wheelchairs or walking aids, other than a walking stick perhaps.
Of course over the years there have been some issues with mobility for some guests. Sometimes they just booked the wrong holiday completely, not understanding what was involved. For others it has been a case of things changing such as needing a knee or hip replacement so not being as fit as they once were, or would be once their operation was completed.
We can all be guilty of making assumptions about people based on their age – what a big mistake this can be.
When I was training to start work with a coach holiday company one of the new potential recruits was firmly of the view that anyone over 60 should not be out unaccompanied and if they didn’t turn up to meet their friends the police should be called!
Often on tours it is the younger people who find the program toughest. I have travelled with people in their 90’s who have had more energy than everyone on the coach put together, and climbed hills to prove it.
When it comes to coach holidays and life in general age really is just a number.
Coach Holidays Are Not Active
This is not true in my experience but!
This is also one of the popular coach holiday myths with travellers sitting on a bus all day!
There are lots of differences between coach holidays, with a variety of types, paces and styles available – ideally something to suit everyone. Most coach holiday companies will give details around the pacing of the tour, the fitness levels required and the itinerary should give an idea of the activity levels too.
In the tourism industry in general there has been a move towards more active holidays, with travellers wanting to experience destinations and have great experiences in destinations rather than just visit and leave.
Coach holidays can include walking, sports, adventure travel, cycling and much more besides.
There really is a coach holiday for everyone, with a style, pace and activities to suit.
Coach Holidays are Cheap and Nasty
This one of the top coach holiday myths not only amongst travellers but also sometimes amongst some ill informed travel industry people. There is often a view that people on coach holidays don’t spend money which is also not true.
There is a huge variety in the type of coach holidays available, as there are with all types of travel. Coach holidays have adapted over the years to reflect the taste and interest of their customers, who want more local experiences, more authentic experiences and more in depth and active experiences.
Coach holidays can offer lots of value.
If you compare the cost of some coach holidays which have trips, meals, flights and internal travel in a destination included they can sometimes be considerably cheaper than you could travel yourself.
As you will see coach holidays are changing and adapting and they are options to suit all levels of budgets, with some very high end options available too.
Coach Holiday Travellers Are Not Well Travelled
This is one of my favourite coach holiday myths because in my experience it couldn’t be more wrong.
The people that I meet on coach holidays are all well travelled, many of them more well travelled than me and I have travelled alot.
The way they travel depends on who they are travelling with, where they are going and their budget. This means over the course of a year they could be taking trips on their own, domestic trips, group trips and self catering trips.
It is rare to meet someone on a coach holiday that hasn’t got an interest in travel and many people have fantastic knowledge of areas, countries and topics.
The coach holiday guests I have travelled with have come from all sorts of backgrounds, from teachers to nurses, directors to doctors and everything inbetween.
They are a truly varied bunch.
Assumptions can be dangerous things and that’s also true when making assumptions about coach holiday travellers.
Coach Holidays From My Past
Coach holidays have already changed a great deal since I started taking them 25 years ago, partly as a result of how travellers have changed and how the whole travel industry has changed.
25 years ago there were no cheap flights, so coach holidays were the cheapest way to get to Europe. Whilst there are still a few holidays that include an overnight coach to reach the destination these are very much the minority. Spending over 24 hours travelling on a coach isn’t that appealing when compared to a 3 hour flight.
In the early days of coach holidays there also was no internet and there was much less awareness about places. As such companies offered excursion programs and packages covering the main attractions that people wanted to see, and people booked them, generally all of them.
Coach Holidays Now
Coach holidays now offer much more personalisation. You can choose active trips, adventurous trips, or trips with more free time for exploring on your own. Some coach holidays offer a choice of accommodation, some offer a choice of coach to travel on, and some offer a choice of optional activities in each destination rather than one option.
There are options about how you join your coach holiday with flights, private cars, stopovers and upgrades generally available.
As travellers become keen to explore further so coach holidays have adapted and there are holidays to all corners of the world. Generally these holidays involve flying from the UK and then travelling on a local coach.
A coach holiday now is definitely not 47 people all doing the same thing – it has never been that in my experience.
Coach Holidays of the Future
The big change in travel now is more solo travellers. As such many coach holidays are increasing the number of spaces available on tours that have no single supplement. There are of course dedicated solo travel coach holidays, but my experience has been with solo travellers who are part of a larger group.
There are now lots more solo traveller only departure dates from companies that previously have not offered this. As demographics change in the UK I think there will be more growth in solo travelling for coach holidays.
Over the years travellers have wanted to become more active too – wanted to experience the places they are visiting, rather than being passive observers. Coach holidays are adapting to this trend, incorporating local authentic activities and things like home stays into their programs.
Personalisation of holidays is another trend that I think we will see continue, as people try and create unique holiday experiences.
Smaller group holidays look like a trend that is going to stay awhile too, having gained popularity as a result of Covid19 restrictions and safety concerns.
So having busted some coach holiday myths why not read more about this great way to travel.
Coach Holiday Series by The Coach Holiday Expert
- Coach Holiday Myths
- Coach Holiday Trends
- 9 Reasons to Choose a Coach Holiday
- Coach Holidays are Not All the Same
- Coach Trips – 10 Things You Absolutely Need to Know
- Coach Holiday Terminology
- 6 Reasons to Avoid a Coach Holiday
- What a Coach Holiday Tour Manager Really Does
- Coach Holidays and Covid19 – Some Ways Your Holiday Could Be Affected
- Coach Holiday Comparisons – Holidays to the Azores
- Coach Holiday Comparisons – Australia Tours
- Coach Holiday Itinerary Review – Scottish Highlands Tour
- 10 Coach Holiday Hacks
Have a look at my Travel Inspiration section for ideas on places to visit.
I’ve also got heaps of resources on how to travel cheaper, helping you to see even more of the world!
Coach Holiday Companies
Here are some coach holiday companies that I know. Head to their websites to get some coach holiday inspiration!