December 20, 2018

Best Skiing Destinations on the East Coast

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Compared to skiing in the west, the elevations are lower on East Coast slopes and knee-deep powder is a rare sight. But the ski resorts make up for the lack of powder with a high tech mix of natural and man-made snow. In fact, the snowmaking techniques are so advanced that you’ll have a hard time telling the difference on most mountains.

Despite the smaller mountains, there are several eastern skiing areas that have the long, steep runs of the higher western peaks. Our list includes plenty of ski resorts that offer both white-knuckle challenges and the bunny slopes for beginners. Skiing in the east also gives you the chance to experience the charming and scenic New England towns where the popular ski resorts are based.

Travel Tips

The close proximity of mountains within New England makes it easy to visit multiple ski resorts on the same trip. Skiing in New York or Massachusetts is only a few hours drive on the north-south interstates. The same goes for ski resorts in Vermont and New Hampshire. For on-the-road comfort and affordability on your ski vacation, the best way to travel to several resorts is with a charter bus, especially with a group of 10 or more.

At Metropolitan Shuttle, we offer charter bus reservations specifically for interstate travel. When you plan your ski vacation with a group, consider booking a charter with us, a budget-friendly option that is cheaper per passenger compared to other types of travel like airline tickets or taxis and rideshare services. And while we can’t protect you on the slopes, we can keep you safe behind the wheel, a testament to our strict safety guidelines that follow federal standards.

North Conway, New Hampshire

For the best mountain vistas on the East Coast, the Wildcat Ski Resort in North Conway fits the bill. Adventure-seekers in your group will also a get a chance to shred some powder on 2,112 feet of vertical and ride one of the fastest lifts to get there. You’ll also get to experience the charm of a classic New England town in between skiing the slopes.

Sugarbush/Mad River Glen, Vermont

With its stunning natural beauty and diverse terrain, Mad River Glen has become a favorite New England hub for family-friendly skiing. In the 60s, the town of Sugarbush was a big deal among the glamorous jet setters that loved to ski. Legend has it that the term ‘jet setter’ originated in this area. Today, dedicated skiers are drawn here year after year to experience the fun and thrill of Vermont’s highest chairlift. At the nearby Mad River Glen Mountain, it’s a skier’s dream with real snow that follows the curves of the slopes.

Jay Peak, Vermont

Situated in the green mountains of Vermont, Jay Peak has some of the best skiing terrain in the east. Make the most of your ski vacation with picturesque tree glades, long trails, and an abundance of natural snowfall. You’ll find a range of ski runs from beginner level to advanced, making it ideal for the whole family.

Killington, Vermont

Known as the “Beast of the East” in the skiing community, people come here to experience the rugged terrain, including tree glades and lots of bumps. The best place for experienced skiers is the Outer Limits, which features the steepest and longest runs in New England.

Pats Peak, Massachusetts

Only a few hours drive from Boston, Pats Peak is easy to get to and also stands out among other resort areas with nighttime skiing and a large amount of terrain for beginners. When you’re not shredding the slopes, the town of Henniker serves as a cozy backdrop with a charming downtown that features many local businesses and a private college.

Catamount, New York

Another accessible skiing area, Catamount is only a few hours from New York City and Boston. It also has the best beginner terrain in the Berkshires, plus a steep run for experts and a selection of terrain parks for snowboarders and freestylers. If you love the magic of skiing at night, you’ll also find over 32 trails with plenty of lights. When you’re taking a break from the slopes, you can thaw out with a hot chocolate in the nearby town of Hillsdale, which is known for its friendly and relaxed vibe.

Sugarloaf, Maine

Situated in a remote part of Northern Maine, Sugarloaf is a four-hour drive from either Boston or Montreal. But the longer travel time is worth the effort, especially with plenty of natural powder from 200 inches of annual snowfall. It also features the only ski lifts in the east that are above the treeline. In the western mountains of Maine, the ski season stretches into May, giving you access to wide open snowfields and 2,820 feet of continuous vertical.

Stowe, Vermont

With a long history of skiing that dates back to the 30s, Stowe was the ski town where on of the first chairlifts were used, an interesting historical fact along with other notable events that are highlighted at the Vermont Ski Museum. On the slopes, you’ll find Mount Mansfield, Vermont’s tallest peak. More than half of the runs are rated for intermediates while experts can get their adrenaline pumping on some of Vermont’s most challenging trails. Three terrain parks are also available for snowboarders and other outdoor sports like sleigh rides and snowmobile tours.

Tuckerman’s Ravine, New Hampshire

For the best in backcountry skiing, Tuckerman’s Ravine offers stunning vistas of Mount Washington, the highest peak in the Northeast. The wild terrain provides the perfectly rugged and natural landscape for a true East Coast skiing adventure.

Okemo Mountain, Vermont

Its location in south-central Vermont makes the Okemo Mountain easily accessible by car or charter bus. Along with being close to major interstates, Okemo also has excellent natural snow and well-groomed runs that are perfect for all levels. It also features the longest superpipe in the east and nine top-rated terrain parks, making it a hotspot for snowboarders.

Whiteface Mountain, New York

A mix of natural and man-made snow, these extensive ski trails make up 35 acres of mountainside, including the longest single intermediate run in the Northeast. Whiteface Mountain also features two terrain parks, a beginner’s park, and a half-pipe for snowboarders and freestyle skiers.

Some would say that you can’t buy happiness, but you can buy a lift pass, and for those who love skiing, it’s practically the same thing. With winter in the air and eternal spring in your heart, keep calm and shred some slopes!

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October 4, 2018

Group Leadership 101: The Ultimate Survival Guide

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As an effective leader, you’re expected to transform chaos into order while also keeping everybody happy. But that’s easier said than done, especially if you’ve been thrust into a leadership role for the first time. Even if this isn’t your first rodeo, successful leadership isn’t easy to pull off when you consider all the different personalities and opinions that can clash along the way. But if you have a solid game plan, leading a group can be an enriching experience. Using a combination of psychology, plus old-fashioned hard work and cooperation, we’ve got the essential blueprint for mastering the art of group leadership.

Know the Ropes

Having a clear expectation of the group event is an absolute must. In fact, it would be a huge benefit to have a power meeting before heading out on the trip or activity. This way you can establish your role as the pack leader while also reminding everyone to focus on the goals of the event. A meeting also gives you the opportunity to address any questions or concerns. Whatever your goals are, the top priority for any group is the safety and comfort of group members, so keep that in mind when you’re leading your team.

Share the Workload

For every accomplished person, there’s a dedicated team working behind the scenes to make it all come together. The same is also true with scenarios involving group leadership. The three-part divide and conquer algorithm approach used by software developers is a smart way to distribute work-related tasks among group members. First, divide the task at hand into subtasks or subgoals that are smaller instances of the main problem or goal. This will take some of the pressure off the pack leader while also making people feel useful and productive. Secondly, conquer the subtasks or subgoals by assigning them to the right members of your team. An effective way to gain trust and respect is by showing that you acknowledge the strengths of each member of the group. Finally, combine the solutions of the subproblem or sub goals into the solution for the original problem or goal. Remember: Micromanaging isn’t leadership, so try to avoid it. Instead, assign the task and trust that the qualified person can get the job done right.

Make them Laugh

Humor is a fun and effective way to bond with group, especially in high-stress situations. Anyone thrown into a leadership role knows the importance of laughter, including Eisenhower, one of the country’s most powerful leaders. His advice? “Always take your job seriously, never yourself.” Humor has a magical way of lightening the mood and keeping up morale, so if you get into a jam, admit your mistakes and make light of the situation. And trust us on this—your humility and sense of humor will be duly noted by team members, and that goes a long way when you’re leading a group.

Set a Good Example

Nobody’s perfect, including group leaders, but there’s nothing wrong with striving for greatness. When leading a group, remember that you’re in a position of authority, which means that the group is looking to you for guidance and support. This is your chance to shine, so make it count by setting a good example. When you’re in a leadership role, be confident in your abilities while also making group goals your main focus. This positive leadership style will help you gain the trust and loyalty of the team, and in group situations, building up social capital is essential for success.

Be Flexible with the Itinerary

You may have carefully mapped out every detail of your itinerary, but sometimes things don’t go as planned. But if you stay flexible with the plans, it shows your problem-solving skills and pragmatic approach to getting things done. When you solve problems quickly and efficiently, your group won’t have any doubts about your commitment as the leader of the event or activity. You never know when unexpected circumstances can throw you off schedule, which is why you should always have a solid back up plan. No matter what happens, the safety and comfort of everyone involved should always be the number one priority of a successful group leader.

Hone Your Time Management Skills

Being a group leader requires you to make quick decisions and snap judgments from moment to moment, which makes time management a major challenge. In order for things to run smoothly, try to “feed the eagles, not the turkeys.” In other words, try not to get bogged down in little details and instead, focus your energy on the tasks that can make your group really soar. Another big time-saver is chartering a bus. Instead of using taxis and rideshare services, keep it simple with a charter bus driven by a professionally trained driver. At Metropolitan Shuttle, we take the hassle out of travel arrangements by helping you coordinating the itinerary of your group. With an efficient schedule that meets your needs, you can focus on more important things, like bonding with group members.

Understand the Process of Group Formation

According to psychologist Bruce Tuckman, successful group formation happens in four steps: forming, storming, norming and performing. During the forming stage, some team members might be anxious if they are still unsure of the team expectations of the trip or event. Others members of the team may be positive and polite. These minor clashes then morph into the next stage, which is storming. As the pecking order is established, tensions may rise. Keep in mind that as a leader, you play a dominant role at this stage and can make the forming and storming stages proceed smoothly. Once the ice is broken and order is restored, the group enters the norming stage, where roles and responsibilities are established, and rapport is developed among group members. Finally, during the performing stage, goals can be accomplished as the group ascends to its highest level of teamwork and achievement.

The process of group leadership can be extremely rewarding for both the leaders and followers because of the opportunity to inspire greatness in others. As General Patton once said, “Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do, and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.” A great leader is also humble. “He who has learned to obey will know how to command,” as Solon put it. Great leaders can inspire great followers, who will in turn be inspired to do great work. Respect between leaders and followers is a two-way street, but once achieved, it can lead to innovation, creativity, and success for the group. In fact, as leadership expert Warren Bennis said, oftentimes the difference between a good leader and a great leader may come down to having a vision and being able to communicate that vision to the group to make it a reality.

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September 17, 2018

How to Throw the Ultimate Bachelor Party Without Breaking the Bank

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Bachelor parties are fantastic ways to party with the guys and celebrate the groom’s transition into married life. But you shouldn’t have to take max out your credit card just to afford an epic bachelor party. If you’re looking to party on a budget, say ‘I do’ to our budget-friendly bachelor party ideas and get ready to have a bachelor bash that everybody can afford.  

First, consider the bachelor’s interests: “Does he like sports?”; “Is there another state or city he’d love to visit?”; “Does he want to simply go camping?” Wherever you decide to go, stay on budget with some fun bachelor party tips from the travel experts at Metropolitan Shuttle, the leading charter reservation service and your answer to significant savings on travel expenses.

Plan Ahead

Going with the flow is great for yoga and meditation class but when it comes to an affordable bachelor party, you’ve got to have a game plan. Instead of going the way the cookie crumbles, make the most of organized fun when you book your travel arrangements in advance. When you reserve a charter bus a few months ahead, for instance, you get the best deals because you can lock in the cheapest possible rate. Advance notice also gives your pals plenty of time to budget for the trip.

Charter a Bus

Compared to ride-sharing services, car rental, and taxis, charter bus rental is significantly less expensive, especially when you consider the price per passenger. Whatever the size of your group, another benefit of chartering a bus is that everybody arrives together and you can party along the way. Our Party Bus, for example, can fit up to 40 passengers and also features luxury amenities for on-the-road comfort and convenience. At Metropolitan Shuttle, we make the process of renting a charter bus as seamless and efficient as possible. When you reserve your charter vehicle, you can expect a flat fee with no hidden costs—this way, you can divide the price between your friends without having to worry about surprise charges later on that can throw you off budget.

When you charter a bus, it also takes the stress out of traveling because the pack leader doesn’t have to worry about appointing a designated driver, finding parking, or figuring out directions. When an experienced professional is doing all the driving, everybody can relax and focus on what’s more important—quality time with your bros before the groom walks down the aisle.

Throw a Blowout House Party

It is common knowledge that alcohol is more expensive at a restaurant or bar than the liquor store, so make your shopping list and get ready for a legendary Bachelor-themed blowout. On average, bachelor parties cost every member involved anywhere from $700 to $1,500 (besides the groom). Much of the cost is attributed to food and alcohol. Instead of a formal dinner or heading to the bar, fire up the grill and cook a delicious meal that everybody can enjoy while also drastically reducing the cost of food. With the amount of money you’ll save on food and drinks, you and your friends can pool together your extra cash and rent a luxury beachfront house with a pool and all the trimmings.

Go Camping

You should never underestimate the fun you can have while camping. It can be a worthwhile trip to visit a natural spring or lake with campgrounds, plus it’s way cheaper than a hotel or Airbnb. Whatever the occasion, tubing is a great way to relax while wandering about the meandering twists and turns of a river, giving you an up close look at the great outdoors; it is a mesmerizing experience. You can also have an exceptional time grilling, swimming, hiking, and if the campgrounds allow it, partying! So, throw some burgers on the grill and have a good time.

Head to the Mountains

Or, you can travel to the mountains, but be careful because you won’t want to leave. The majestic cathedrals of Mother Nature, mountains are among the most beautiful wonders you’ll ever experience. Plus, you’re really missing out if you’ve never gone snowboarding or skiing. It is an enthralling way to challenge yourself as you weave through the scintillating snow-covered slopes. According to Mark Twain, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did,” and he was right. Even though this idea is a little pricier, nobody will regret the trip, plus, our Bachelor Party Bus will save you a ton of money and make the journey there even more entertaining!

Have a Boat Party

You can never go wrong with a party on the water! You can enjoy activities like water skiing and wakeboarding, or rent some jet skis and have a blast. Nothing beats water sports, especially if you visit the captivating crystal-clear lakes in the west like Lake Tahoe. When Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki visited Lake Tahoe he claimed, I have been fortunate to travel all over the world, and in my mind, Tahoe is still one of the most incredible places I have seen.” Once you arrive, you will know exactly why he praises Tahoe as such.

Place Your Bets on Casino Fun

You can’t go wrong with partying at the casino… unless you lose all your money! Plus, it’s is a terrific way to please everyone involved. You may spend as little as you want or as much as you would like. In turn, if played responsibly, everyone of any financial status can appreciate this flexible idea. It’s a great all-around emergency plan for a bachelor party that everyone can enjoy. You can also choose whatever you would like to place your bets on: Whether you play drinking games, poker, or blackjack, everyone will love the rush of winning big at the casino. If you’re on a budget, don’t overplay your hand by going to Vegas. Instead, choose a lesser-known city and get ready to place your bets on some affordable casino fun!

 

After a summer of love, head into wedding season with your wolf pack and get ready for the last big hurrah with all your bros—the budget-friendly version.

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September 11, 2018

Budget Friendly Bachelorette Party Ideas to Wow the Bride

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If you’re like most people, you’re probably totally pumped that your BFF asked you to be her maid of honor. But that coveted title also comes with lots of responsibility. Besides helping the bride look amazing on the big day, you also are tasked with organizing an epic bachelorette party that everyone can afford. Show your commitment to the bride and all your girlfriends with these helpful bachelorette party ideas from Metropolitan Shuttle, the leading charter reservation company serving the U.S. and Canada.

Set a Budget

Send out a mass email and take a survey to determine how much money you’ll need to pool from the group. Everybody will want to offer an opinion, so stay connected with group texts and document sharing services like Google Drive and Dropbox. Try using the divide-and-conquer approach, which allows everybody to chip in money for travel expenses while also helping out with planning and shopping for party essentials.

Plan Ahead

When it comes to planning a bachelorette party that rocks, planning ahead is essential for stress-free group travel. Show up to the party with a game plan, otherwise, you’ll find yourself going over budget while herding cats, a perfect storm of travel-related stress that’s further induced by great expectations. When you book your travel several months in advance, you can lock in the cheapest possible rate, whether it’s a charter bus rental or airfare. Pre-planning also helps you stick to a budget since the biggest expense is usually transportation.

Charter a Bus

Ride-sharing services and taxis might be the go-to choice for traveling short distances within a city or town but when you crunch the numbers, the price per passenger is significantly less when you charter a bus. When you consider the high passenger capacity, our Party Bus is more efficient because it can fit up to 40 people. It also features luxury amenities like comfy reclining seats and a state-of-the-art sound system and festive lighting, which allows you to sit back, relax, and have a party on the way to your destination. Whether your party is a few people or a large group, our fleet of charter vehicles can fit any size and budget. At Metropolitan Shuttle, you pay a flat fee upfront, which means there are no hidden costs that can throw you off budget later on. And because transportation is often the biggest expense, knowing the amount in advance gives you and your girlfriends enough time to put aside some bachelorette party funds.

Clothing and Accessories Swap

Along with having an incredible night that you’ll always remember fondly, an Instagrammable outfit is another must-have for an epic bachelorette party. But that doesn’t mean you need to max out your credit cards for the perfect out-on-the-town ensemble. Chances are, your girlfriends share your chic sense of style, so have everybody bring the best items from their wardrobes and join forces in a clothing and accessories swap. It also gives you and your pals an excuse to have a fun get together before the big blowout. Plus, it allows you and your girlfriends to coordinate outfits for a buzz-worthy Instagram post. So get to lending and borrowing and strike a pose!

Free Printable Party Invitations

An easy but very expensive way to wow the bride is with custom-made party invitations, but these can get pricey, especially if you go big with luxury details like gold engraving and hand-written calligraphy. Keep it simple and affordable with card design services like Canva, which features a huge database of invitation templates and free or inexpensive graphics. The user-friendly interface also makes it easy to add a personalized touch. Once you get the group’s approval on the invites, print them up and start saving money the bachelorette extravaganza.

DIY Mimosa bar

It is common knowledge that food and drinks are significantly more expensive at bars and restaurants verses buying it at the store. But if you decide to party at home, the maid of honor doesn’t have to do all the work. Instead, ask the ladies to each bring something from the shopping list, like a bottle of bubbly, fruit, and your favorite table snacks.

Make Your Own Pizza Party

Not only is making your own pizza a fun bonding activity with your princess posse, but customized toppings on fresh baked pizza makes for a memorable feast. It’s also significantly cheaper than going to a restaurant. Plus, making a pizza is easier than you think. Have someone bring the pre-made pizza dough, another person the tomato sauce, and the rest of the party can bring cheese, toppings, drinks, and desserts. Build a customized pizza with your gal pals, pop in the oven, and bon appetito!

DIY Photo Booth

The most important thing about a bachelorette party is having fun and posting Instagram-worthy photos. But with the quality of smartphones pics, plus a little creativity, your bachelorette party photos can have a personalized, professional touch that sets them apart. Make your own pom-poms out of crate paper for the background and string up some lights for a hint of warmth in the background. For a goofy photo session with your girlfriends, make photo props out of construction paper and popsicle sticks like kitschy mustaches, oversized sunglasses, and other slaphappy designs. Have fun with the girls while constructing your DIY photo booth and get ready for a selfie close up!

Go Glamping with the Girls

Hotels and Airbnb can get very expensive, even if you book your stay in advance. Instead, save a ton of money when you bring luxury amenities to the great outdoors. Glamping is everything you love about nature but without giving up the conveniences of modern life. Look for campgrounds with hot showers and campsites close to a body of water, like an oceanfront nature park or meandering river. Behind a stunning natural background, gather your girlfriends and strike a pose for #Sunset.

Say ‘I do’ to these money saving tips and get ready for a legendary evening that you’ll still be talking about long after the bride walks down the aisle.

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July 30, 2018

Best Cities for Fun Summer Getaways

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There’s something magical about summer; it’s more than backyard barbeques and pool parties. In order to really appreciate your vacation time, sometimes you have to get out of the house and go on a road trip to make memories that will last a lifetime. And to inspire your adventurous getaway spirit, Metropolitan Shuttle has put together a list of awesome tips from road tripping travel insiders to help plan your summer adventure.

For those wanting some Southern flavor, head to Charleston, South Carolina, a favorite travel destination of Kika, a travel influencer. While New York, Boston, and Los Angeles are popular cities will well-grooved tourist tracks, Kika prefers the old-fashioned charm of Charleston, South Carolina. According to Kika, “Everyone I encountered was friendly and made me feel welcome. The food is also very memorable. I went to the award-winning Hyman’s Seafood and the service was impeccable. I definitely recommend their hush puppies! Southern Coney and Breakfast is a great diner to go to if you are looking to meet locals. Charleston is a city that makes you feel comfortable when you’re walking around and the vistas are straight out of a storybook. For those seeking nightlife, I recommend The Boardroom. It has good drinks and the live band was very engaging and talented.”

When it comes to getting around Charleston, take the worry and hassle out of your holiday by chartering a bus. If you don’t feel like driving, it’s a surprisingly economical and relaxing way for groups to travel with confidence and ease. Another transportation option is a free trolley that operates throughout the historic Charleston Peninsula. Part of the CARTA bus system, it offers routes to sight-seeing highlights, including the Aquarium and the Riley Waterfront Park, an idyllic oasis that offers spectacular views of the harbor. With park benches, picnic tables, and a large lawn, the park makes the perfect spot for a lazy afternoon by the water. On the way there, stop by The Market nearby and peruse the exclusive specialty foods from Gita’s Gourmet, your picnic basket headquarters.  

Following the rays of sunshine along the East Coast, Cori Sue of Bitches who Brunch, suggests Savannah, Georgia, for a less traveled destination. It oozes Southern charm with incredible architecture and amazing cuisine, including Gerald’s Pig and Shrimp, a food truck that serves Deep South comfort food like Georgia shrimp po-boys and hand-squeezed limeade.  

Further north, she recommends Portland, Maine, for a different flavor of New England character as well as plenty of outdoor fun. Upstate New York has lots of mountains, rivers, and cute towns, villages, and wineries to explore. Woodstock, Vermont also is recommended for its “gorgeous views and killer, highly instragramable drive-in restaurants.” For a casual, on-the-go meal before your next adventure, stop in at The White Cottage Snack Bar, which has been proudly serving up classic diner food like burgers, sandwiches, and seafood since 1957.

Vanessa Valiente, a travel influencer, always makes time in her schedule for a pit stop in San Diego, Chicago, and New Orleans. For San Diego, Vanessa raves about the largest Little Italy in America – “You must go to the farmer’s market on Saturdays, and there are different neighborhoods for all preferences. With an average temperature of 72° and constant activity day or night, anyone can have an amazing visit here!” A must-see is Balboa, a sprawling 1,200-acre urban park in the heart of the city. Whether you meander through the gardens or stop in at the San Diego Zoo, the combination of culture and nature makes it a pleasant summertime destination.

Vanessa also recommends visiting Chicago. “Chicago feels as if Manhattan and San Diego had a baby. You get the hip hustle and bustle of Manhattan with the water lifestyle of San Diego. Folks are kayaking mere feet away from a skyscraper filled with $20 cocktails being sipped by people you want to know.

And everyone is insanely nice –All to a background of magnificent architecture, textured history, and teal waterways. I also love it for being a day city and night city. High energy people can find action at all waking hours in spring and summer.” For art lovers and intellectuals, a visit to the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) is the perfect place to cool off on the hottest summer afternoons. While staying cool and refreshed in the air conditioning, enjoy a dose of cultural enrichment when you peruse a rotating collection of modern and post-modern art.

She also can’t say enough about New Orleans, another popular destination for visitors. “New Orleans is amazing for drinking, air boating, dancing and eating – All set to a rich ambiance of historic balconies, lazing fauna, and soulful music. This city is so alive with a good time you can feel it on your skin, and like all my favorite cities, there is something to do, day or night.” First order of business is a pit stop at the French Quarter Market for a stylish hat, the must-have accessory for keeping you protected from the sun. After shopping for your party wardrobe, reward yourself with traditional New Orleans specialties like muffaletta and po-boy sandwiches.

Whether you’re planning on boozing it up on Bourbon Street in New Orleans or opting for a more elegant winery visit in upstate New York, consider hiring a charter bus for peace of mind for your summer adventure. You can have fun and bring the whole gang!

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July 26, 2018

Best Cities to Travel to in Fall 2018

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With cooler temperatures and the summer tourists back to work or school, fall travel is one of the best-kept secrets of the savvy traveler. While all of these locations make ideal summertime travel destinations, the highlights are even more spectacular with a refreshing crispness in the air, a signal that the hot and sweltering dog days of summer are officially over.

Vancouver

With a reputation as the outdoorsy capital of cool, Vancouver offers everything you could want in a modern city – a cosmopolitan vibe, excellent public transportation, and easy access to surrounding natural wonders. Start your introduction to Vancouver with a mix of nature and cultural highlights, including a tour of Stanley Park, a 1,000-acre green space with inspiring ocean views. If you’re up for it, get in some exercise with a bike ride along the seawall path. After you’ve had enough fresh air for the day, make a stop at Robson Street downtown for some Vancouver-style retail therapy.

How to Charter a Bus in Vancouver

If you’re traveling with a group, booking a charter bus is a convenient and affordable way to safely get to your destination. When you plan your Vancouver trip, make a budget for travel costs, food, and accommodation, which gives you an idea of how much your group can afford. Prices for Vancouver charter buses vary based on time of year, availability, and location. If you break it down, the price is always much lower per passenger when you compare it to airfare and taxis. For a larger group, it might be more affordable to fly in to Seattle, and charter a bus for the short trip over the border.

San Francisco

With moderate temperatures and fewer crowds, the best time to visit is September or October. Against a backdrop of modern and historic architecture, San Francisco offers world-class museums and galleries, lots of green space, and forward-thinking shops and restaurants. If the weather is cooperating with sunny skies and a pleasant temperature, head to Dolores Park for an epic picnic spot overlooking the city. With a range of habitats, plus a state-of-the-art planetarium, the Academy of Arts and Sciences is also a favorite with tourists and locals.

Insider Travel Tips:

For a stress-free trip to the city, San Francisco charter buses are a comfortable and hassle free way to transport your group safely and efficiently. If you’re wondering how to charter a bus in San Francisco, contact the travel experts at Metropolitan Shuttle and get a quote for your next Northern California group adventure. San Francisco charter buses offer many benefits, including less travel-related stress and a significantly lower cost per passenger.

Washington, D.C.

When you visit the nation’s capital in the fall, it gives you the chance to tour the monuments but without hordes of school groups and tourist buses. But there’s more to this city than Capitol Hill and the White House. After a day of sightseeing, stop by Georgetown to peruse a variety of sophisticated shops and gourmet restaurants. For the best in live music, check out the rock scene at the iconic 9:30 Club or become cultured at the world-class Kennedy Center. Appealing to its cosmopolitan charm, the city also features historic luxury hotels like Four Seasons and the Ritz-Carlton, plus international boutique brands like Hotel Monaco and Mandarin Oriental.

How to Charter a Bus in Washington, D.C.

One of our most popular destinations for charter bus travel, the nation’s capital is a must-see for school trips and other group events. Book Washington, D.C. charter buses for your next trip and leave the hard work to a professional driver who knows the lay of the land. That way, you can concentrate on more important things, like viewing historical monuments, visiting museums, or participating in a peaceful protest for issues that resonate with you and your group.

New York City

No rest for the weary in the city that never sleeps. In the Big Apple, the cuisine and cultural experiences are second to none. From the Statue of Liberty to the Empire State Building, you’ll find a historical hotspot on every corner. Along the way, take a cue from the Sex and the City playbook with a romantic rowboat or carriage ride in Central Park. For a feast of the senses, try a sample of the city’s best old world cuisine in Little Italy and Chinatown. You can also catch striking city views at the top of the Rock Observation Deck. If you’re an art lover, try the astounding works of art at the MOMA or Guggenheim. Also, make sure to stretch your Subway legs with a walk over the Brooklyn Bridge, a national landmark that features some of the best views of the city.  

Travel Tips for the Big Apple:

If you’re traveling with a group of 6 or more, consider booking New York City charter buses, a budget-friendly alternative to driving yourself or paying for expensive airline tickets. If you want to know how to charter a bus in New York City, consult the charter reservation experts at Metropolitan Shuttle and receive a quote, plus all the information you need for your upcoming itinerary.

San Diego

The combination of pristine beaches and the best Mexican food north of the border makes San Diego a top vacation destination in Southern California. With legendary beach towns, impressive surf spots, and a world-famous zoo, there is never a shortage of things to see and do. Make sure you include Balboa Park on your sightseeing checklist, especially with San Diego’s year-round mild weather. Bring a picnic and make a day of exploring the lush gardens and green space. For a night out on the town, the Gaslight district features a slew of classic and inventive restaurants, shops and cafes.

Are We There Yet? San Diego Travel Tips:

Bring along the whole gang when you book San Diego charter buses for your trip. If this is your first time considering charter bus travel, you’re probably wondering how to charter a bus in San Diego. Pricing depends on several factors, including availability, time of year, and number of passengers. Contact Metropolitan Shuttle for a quote and get ready for an epic group vacation.  

Miami, FL

Fall marks high season, which gives Miami a rest from summer budget travelers that crowd local hotspots like South Beach. In autumn, Miami Beach is in the pleasant mid-70s with an abundance of sunny weather, making it a tropical oasis when the temperatures start to drop in other parts of the country. After enjoying a day at the beach, explore the hottest artists of the moment in Wynwood, the art district known for contemporary and street art. The trendy neighborhood also features craft breweries and gourmet food trucks for hungry travelers.

One of the most distinctive architectural styles found in the world, the Art Deco district is worth a tour either by foot or bicycle. For retail therapy, Lincoln Road features all of your favorite brands in an outdoor promenade dotted with restaurants, cafes, and nightclubs.

How to Charter a Bus in Miami

Miami charter buses are a safe and budget-friendly option for group travel. At Metropolitan Shuttle, we offer 24/7 support throughout every part of the process – from the initial booking until the last passenger has left the bus.

Charlotte, NC

Put on your sweater, point your compass towards Charlotte, and get ready to discover a landscape dotted with the rich earthy colors of fall foliage. Because of its close proximity to the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Appalachian Trail, Charlotte makes an ideal hub for exploring the mountains at the peak of their dramatic foliage shift, a natural phenomenon that can be seen from space. With an abundance of shops, restaurants, and cafes, Charlotte is a great place to gear up before you hit the mountain trails.

How to Charter a Bus in Charlotte

With hundreds of destinations throughout the U.S., Metropolitan Shuttle offers Charlotte charter buses and other destinations in North Carolina. If your group is headed to the mountains, contact Metropolitan Shuttle today for a customized travel itinerary and a quote for the price of the trip.  

Celebrate the change of seasons with a trip to one of the coasts, America’s heartland, or another hidden gem off the beaten path. Wherever you end up this autumn, let the world be your oyster.

 

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July 23, 2018

Music Festival Hacks

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Music festivals are a great way to have fun with friends and family, especially because many of them are open to all ages. Whatever your musical preference, you’ll find a festival that celebrates it. Whether you are an EDM fanatic, a country music lover, a jazz aficionado, into bluegrass, or prefer classic rock, the iconic music festival is the place to be.

Music festivals happen all year round, in many scenic places around the country. Also, many of them offer on-site camping, a magical way to reconnect to the great outdoors while jamming out to your favorite tunes.

With all the fun to be had, here are a few hacks to make your festival experience the best ever.

Set a Budget and Book Ahead

When it comes to planning, it’s all about the Benjamins – how much is it going to cost? Once you have a set budget, it’s time to book your transportation, and the further in advance, the better the outcome, especially when it comes to savings. This is especially true with charter bus rentals, which vary in price depending on the season. When you book in advance, it allows you to lock in the best possible rate.

Also, popular festivals often sell out way in advance, and the only chance you have of getting tickets is through overpriced ticket scalpers online or at the show. Make a list of the festivals you can’t miss and get on the email lists to get updates and notifications when tickets go on sale. Secondly, make hotel reservations or campground reservations well in advance. These may also book up quickly, especially for groups.

Look for Lesser-Known Festivals

Another often-overlooked hack is going to lesser-known music festivals with free admission. Oftentimes, these events feature something special that other festivals don’t offer. For instance, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival often sells out quickly and scalpers sell any remaining tickets at an inflated price. Instead, consider attending the free French Quarter Festival, which is held throughout the French Quarter of New Orleans. The fest features popular local bands that are often staged in the heart of the French Quarter, giving you ample opportunities for dancing in the street.

Be Prepared for Weather

Do not forget to prepare for all kinds of weather. Festivals are typically outdoors, so gear up with a hat, sunscreen, a water bottle, and a rain jacket or poncho. Make sure you check the festival website for rules regarding what is allowed to be brought into the festival. Many festivals have specific rules regarding items like water bottles, backpacks, umbrellas, food, and drinks. If the festival does allow you to take a backpack and water bottle, take advantage of it and bring a refillable water bottle as well as a rain poncho and sunscreen. If the festival doesn’t allow food or drinks, consider bringing along a cooler for a tailgating picnic in the parking lot, which can save you even more money.

Transportation

If you are going with a group of friends or family, consider renting a charter bus for these special events.  Chartering a bus is not just for rock bands on tour. You can book your own charter easily online and it is surprisingly economical when sharing the expense with a group. When considering the high cost of gas, the wear and tear on your vehicle, plus the cost of parking, it’s a no-brainer to charter a bus.

Even better, you have the added luxury of getting to relax and have fun with your group while a professional does the driving. The fun isn’t just the destination, but also the journey when you charter a bus that has all the modern amenities to make your road trip comfortable and relaxing.

How to Book a Charter Bus

First, look for a company that has a reputation for high safety standards and excellent customer service. Many charter companies such as Metropolitan Shuttle feature safety-certified vehicles and only work with vendors and operators that are in good standing with the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration). This government agency requires companies to comply with routine safety checks and maintenance on buses, which prevents any mishaps on the way to the show.

Drivers must also have a commercial drivers license and adhere to strict quotas on the number of hours behind the wheel. These regulations ensure that drivers are always alert, a must-have for getting precious cargo to and from the festival.

Once you find a reputable company to work with, request a quote online or by phone. Charter reservation companies often require a refundable down payment after the contract is signed, which secures the buses for your specific dates of travel. At Metropolitan Shuttle, full payment is due thirty days before departure for your convenience. Then, you will receive a travel itinerary and driver details approximately 24 hours before your trip, which can also be accessed with the MetroTrac® app.  

Types of Charter Buses

Summer is the season for good tunes and good times, so gather your pals, lace up your Chucks, and head to the festival in the best charter bus for your needs. Charter buses of the modern era have many options, depending on what your group requires. Whether you have a large group and want to book the most affordable choice in the form of a school bus or concert party bus, or you have a smaller group but want to fly high in a luxury bus rental, there are a range of options to consider.

If you’re getting the band back together, the shuttle van is ideal for a group of 6 to 15 people. Another way to transport a small group to the festival is with the minibus, an economical transportation option for short trips. It also seats 24 people, and in the festival world, the more the merrier! At Metropolitan Shuttle, we offer customers a range of buses that fit any budget, including 60 seat charter buses with luxury amenities designed for the long haul.

Charter Bus Pricing

A local area charter typically charges between $125 and $150 an hour with a four to five-hour minimum. For longer trips, interstate charters cost $3 or $4 per mile, plus a “deadhead rate,” which applies to one-way charters that includes the return trip of the empty bus. Keep in mind, that it can be cheaper to have the bus wait for you at the destination than have it return earlier empty. When you break it down per seat, however, the price is significantly cheaper than airfare, plus it gives you a chance to hang out with your pals on the way to the show.

To help plan your budget, check out this page for pricing of the different options!

Travel on a Budget

Sometimes you have to fight for your right to party, which includes sticking to a budget. Attending your favorite festival is important because nobody wants to get a case of #FOMO (fear of missing out), but you also don’t want the event to break the bank. By sharing costs with a group, you can still have the time of your life and save money at the same time.  When planning a group trip, figure out what all the shared expenses will be, such as hotels, meals, and transportation, and then divide it by the number in the group.

To save money on accommodations, try booking a campground or hostel instead of a hotel, or consider renting a house for your group on a vacation rental site such as AirBnB.  As mentioned previously, a charter bus is a great way to save money on transportation when traveling with a group. To save money on airfare, consider using a travel rewards credit card, which can earn you a free ticket when you sign up – just make sure you pay off the total balance of the card so that you don’t rack up credit card debt.

Volunteering at a Festival

Another way to save money is to volunteer at a festival. Often, festivals offer free admission to participants who offer to volunteer at the festival for a certain number of hours. Volunteering can save hundreds of dollars on the ticket price, plus you often get a backstage pass, which allows you to get an up close glimpse of all the action. Not only is it a rewarding experience, but you might even get band merchandise like a free volunteer t-shirt or other memorabilia. Check the festival website to find out if they accept volunteers, and as always, make plans to apply early at your favorite festival, because spots fill up quickly.

Make the most of the summer festival season with a well thought out plan that fits your budget and needs. That way, once you arrive at the fest, all you have to do is put on your dancing shoes and enjoy the show.

 

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