How to entertain people on a bus ride?
July 22, 2015 3:16 PM   Subscribe

I will be taking a trip with 20 customers and their wives in a bus. We will be riding on the bus about 3-4 hours daily. I will have access to the bus microphone as I am the pseudo tour leader. What are some great ways to keep them entertained ? Creative game ideas?
posted by djfreex to Work & Money (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
An essential part of entertaining them will be keeping your entertainment periods brief, and giving them breaks between entertainment.

I've been a hostage on a tour bus before. It's torturous when you're just getting back into your book and the tour guide pipes up again with something else he thinks is entertaining.
posted by JimN2TAW at 3:24 PM on July 22, 2015 [29 favorites]

Think like an airline pilot -- always setting expectations and delivering time estimates.

"Our estimated time of arrival is XYZ. We'll be flying over the Grand Canyon. We are about 15 minutes away from XYZ, so please prepare for..."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:30 PM on July 22, 2015 [4 favorites]

Are you gonna do the stuff where you point out historical spots and other interesting things along the roadside? If so, maybe look up some weirder, funnier stuff. And I'd agree that you have to pace this stuff. Feel out the crowd.

You could ask if anybody has an unusual talent or ability, and award a prize for the one the crowd picks as the best. You could also do trivia questions, or play a bus version of Family Feud or something. You can give out silly prizes like a bag of fun-size candies or mini-crossword books or something.

Singalongs are corny, but they can be fun. People expect the usual campfire-style songs, so I'd mix it up with unexpected, goofy but beloved stuff like Don't Stop Believing or Total Eclipse of the Heart. (Definitely stick to stuff everybody has heard.) You could hand out photocopied lyrics. Or everybody has smartphones now, so you could direct everybody to a site that has the lyrics for some popular tunes. On a related note, maybe look into group smartphone games.

FYI: As an introvert, I loathe anything where we all have to take turns introducing ourselves to the crowd and "tell us a little something about yourself" and all that crap. Extroverted people often fail to comprehend just how much introverts hate being suddenly made the center of attention. It's not that we NEVER want attention, but having a mic shoved in your face and a spotlight suddenly turned your way is basically poison.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 3:45 PM on July 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

A lot of coach buses now have screens with DVD players and/or audio players. I had a great tour of Route 66 in Oklahoma once where the guide used this very effectively - played a clip, asked for responses, then said a few words, then played a curated playlist to go with the countryside for a while as we sat back and looked out the window, then came back to talk now and then.
posted by Miko at 3:56 PM on July 22, 2015 [3 favorites]

Yeah, go very, very sparingly with the entertainment when it's over a loud mic and the listeners have no escape. I used to be a tour guide, which meant talking for most of the two hours people were on my bus. Even though I was the guide, I heartily sympathised with the women who told me simply, when asked what she enjoyed about the tour: "I liked x, y and z. The times when you didn't say anything were nice, too."
posted by penguin pie at 4:31 PM on July 22, 2015 [9 favorites]

I get motion sick reading stuff on a bus/car/train. Make sure whatever you come up with doesn't require reading (like song lyrics).
posted by mon-ma-tron at 5:09 PM on July 22, 2015 [2 favorites]

Pub-style trivia would be fun.
posted by LyndsayMW at 8:32 PM on July 22, 2015

I also get motion sickness, and also use long bus rides as a time to plug in my iPod and nap. So, realize that people may want to do this instead of listen to trivia or interact with the other passengers.
posted by spinifex23 at 8:38 PM on July 22, 2015

depending on the group - when we did long bus travel days we played a game where players had to do karaoke, but without being able to hear their own voices (really good headphones that played the song). it was funny.
posted by andreapandrea at 9:41 PM on July 22, 2015

Three to four hours is such a short time, and I assume there's always the scenery. Personally, I'd prefer if no one attempted to keep me entertained in this case. Bus speaker systems are always loud and hard to ignore. Please please no games! And if you gotta do games, then at least allow people not to join.
posted by Too-Ticky at 2:20 AM on July 23, 2015 [2 favorites]

Interesting and funny facts about the regions you're driving through.
posted by PenDevil at 3:36 AM on July 23, 2015

I wouldn't mind a sort of overview of highlights of things we're going to see on the road that day at the beginning of the ride, and then just little reminders when we're actually about to encounter them, so I could pay attention when the time comes.
posted by briank at 6:52 AM on July 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

If you're set on doing interactive things, consider letting people know in advance and designating the back of the bus as the non-interactive end, and the front of the bus as the interactive end. And then don't use your microphone. That way, the people who want to play trivia or whatever can choose that experience, and the people that want to zone out and listen to podcasts can choose that experience.
posted by craven_morhead at 7:43 AM on July 23, 2015 [3 favorites]

Please don't try and keep people entertained.

If people want to be entertained they'll do it themselves through music, books, iPads, phones or even card games. Those that don't can sleep or enjoy the scenery.

If you start trying to get people to do things by bellowing down a microphone it's going to be a horrible place to be in very quickly for your passengers.
posted by mr_silver at 2:27 PM on July 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

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