What is a Party Bus?
At its core, a party bus is simply a vehicle intended for a large group of people (usually 10+) to have a great time while traveling somewhere. While party busses are not used exclusively for drinking, many advertise inclusion of a minibar. Some party busses are also used for pub crawls, which only adds to their intoxication.
So, a bunch of people together in a moving vehicle, often with low lighting, where everyone is often intoxicated–what could go wrong? While there are certainly ways to enjoy a safe, fun night out in a party bus, there are also many things you should keep in mind before you hop on.
What are the Dangers of Party Busses?
It’s very easy for friends to view drinking as a competition. You may feel awkward if you bow out after one or two drinks when everyone else is having more. This problem is exacerbated when you are using a party bus on the route of your pub crawl. It is all too easy to go past your alcohol limit.
The dangers of alcohol aren’t merely that you’ll have one too many drinks, but what happens afterward. Because alcohol lowers your inhibitions, you may be more likely to do something reckless, such as inviting a stranger into your party bus.
Even though you won’t be the one driving, alcohol use does mean that accidents are likely to happen. For example, some party buses have a pole upon which its denizens can dance for one another. The chance of falling or otherwise injuring yourself is higher when drinking–for instance, if you happen to think it’s a good idea to stick your head out the window.
Keep in mind, too, that by its nature, a party bus requires a lot of people to be crammed into a small space together. You may keep yourself relatively sober, smart, and safe, but if the people around you are behaving recklessly, you may get caught up in all the flailing limbs.
Hard to escape
From the above, it’s not hard to see how a person might not be having a great time if they aren’t enjoying the company of those they’re with. If you feel anxious or unsafe, it’s difficult to ask the bus driver to pull over and let you off; and indeed, the driver may be contractually barred from doing so. Even if they drop you off, how do you make sure you can find a safe place to call and ask for a ride?
Staying Safe on a Party Bus
Party busses aren’t without their risks–but neither are most forms of entertainment. If you’re planning a night out in a party bus, here are some precautions you can take.
Know your people
If you’re the one organizing the trip, make sure you know everyone that’s going to be there, and don’t allow for any last-minute additions to the party. You may seem like a stick in the mud, but when you have a group of people stuck together in a moving vehicle, it’s imperative that you trust everyone involved, and keep tabs on all of them.
If you’re a passenger, you may not know everyone at the start of the trip–but the more you get to know the people around you, the more comfortable you’ll be.
Know the destination
Where is the party bus headed? On what route? What stops are you making along the way? And–perhaps most important of all–how are the partiers getting home after their trip?
If you’re the organizer, it may also help ease your patrons’ minds to know whether they can get off the bus if they’re not having a good time. As a patron, try finding out this information. Keep your phone charged and let someone know where you’re going in case you need a ride home.
Know your limits
Don’t let anyone pressure you into drinking more than you can handle! The CDC defines “binge drinking” as 4 or more drinks on a single occasion for women and 5 or more for men, but this isn’t the only factor.
Certain medications can interact poorly with alcohol, especially anti-anxiety medication, antidepressants, medicine for allergies, colds, or the flu, and antibiotics. Your rate of alcohol absorption can also depend on how much you’ve eaten that day, your weight, and how quickly you consume the alcohol.
Make sure you stay mindful while you’re drinking so that you know how your mental state is and know if it will really make you feel better to keep drinking. Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to poor judgment and accidents–a very bad situation when you’re on a bus full of other people. And those that drink heavily over a long period of time (the CDC defines “heavy drinking” as 8+ drinks a week for women and 15+ for men) are at greater risk of developing alcohol use disorder (AUD).
If you are the party bus organizer, please keep the safety and limits of your attendees in mind. Keep track of how much everyone is drinking, and don’t be afraid to cut someone off if you’re worried about the safety of the group. (Checking to see if the bus has a first aid kid and keeping your patrons hydrated will help, too!)
Party busses can be fun, but–like any form of recreation–require caution. The better-prepared you are for your trip, the more fun everyone will have.