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Wi-Fi on Tour Bus

Can any tell me if they have Wi-Fi on the group tour buses? Also do they have plug-ins at your seat similar to airplanes? USB, etc thx Larry

Posted by
4836 posts

Our tour bus in Turkey had neither. The other bus appeared to have power via USB but I couldn't tell about wifi. It depends on which local bus company is used, so tour buses in other countries will be different.

Posted by
2479 posts

Rick Steves doesn't have their own tour buses, they use local companies/buses, so it varies. I bring a power bank on tours.

Posted by
6361 posts

We've been on a number of bus tours, and have not noticed wifi on any of them. I do remember power jacks on one, though.

As someone noted, there are several companies that RS uses for buses; amenities vary.

Posted by
1259 posts

WiFi in what sense? The bus may have a WFi router that hooks into internet hotspots at service stations or the like but that would be temporary when docked, so to speak. It is unlikely the bus has a router onboard to provide 30 guests with always-on high speed internet since that would be a wide bande cellular device. Expensive. They may have a router that allows guests to communicate via WiFi but easier to get up and walk to their seat.

Posted by
14157 posts

On my Best of Italy in October the bus had plugs but the driver had to activate them. There were a couple of tour members who were needing to keep medicine cool so always asked at the beginning to have the plugs turned on. I never needed the plug so didn't look to see if it was plug (would need an adapter of course) or USB.

This bus also had wifi and we were given the password. I, personally, could never get on although I know some people did. The coverage was spotty and any time we were going thru tunnels service was lost.

If having power is vital, I recommend a power bank as suggested by Liz.

Which tour are you considering?

Posted by
2479 posts

I think there has been wifi on the coach on at least half of my RS tours.

On the Southern England tour earlier this year the bus driver rigged up wifi with his personal account (or something?), because the coach company had let their system lapse during the pandemic.

bogiesan
Wifi routers on public transportation are pretty common here in the NE US.

Posted by
14157 posts

Ohhh, Larry. That is a wonderful tour! Really, really awesome. I learned SO much, not just about the locations we visited but about how to manage myself during travel in Europe and how to be an independent traveler.

I do suggest that if the guide offers any extra activity, meal, hike, etc that you do it. RS is not one of the companies that has "optional" add-ons for the good things for an additional cost but sometimes the guide will organize something extra - maybe a wine tasting in Bacharach, a hike in Muerren, a gondola ride in Venice, an extra meal in Rome which you will pay for out of pocket. Do it!!

Also for your nights in Venice consider taking in just the bare minimum you'll need for 2 nights in a day pack or tote and leaving your suitcase on the bus (perfectly safe). You'll take a vaporetto or water taxi in to the hotel from the bus parking lot on Tronchetto and you may have some of the ubiquitous bridges to go over to get to your hotel which are steps not ramps. Just easier with the minimal amount of stuff with you.

I'm excited for you! BTW, definitely take a power bank. I have a new-ish phone and nearly ran out of battery in Venice in October (Best of Italy) when I was walking on my own. Yep, power bank is on my Christmas list!

Posted by
6530 posts

WiFi in what sense?

Wifi as in allowing the passengers to connect their devices to the internet.

It is unlikely the bus has a router onboard to provide 30 guests with
always-on high speed internet since that would be a wide bande
cellular device. Expensive.

Expensive or not, wifi on coaches are pretty common nowadays. Although you should not expect to be able to stream 4K-movies.

Posted by
65 posts

Thx Pam that’s a good tip on Venice never thought about leaving what we don’t need on the bus. We’ve been to Venice a couple times and know the drill. What year did you go?

Posted by
14157 posts

I went in 2014 and had Dimitri as a guide. I still stay in the Paris hotel we used on that trip, lol. Honestly, it feels like yesterday!

Packing cubes are a key as you are moving every other day and need to stay organized. Also having clothing you can wash and that will dry in 24 hours is key. If I needed to wash shirts or pants, I'd put them in a big 2 gallon ziplock as soon as we would arrive, let them soak during dinner and hang them out before bed.

Here is a link to my Trip Report from back then. I just scanned it and it is still pretty relevant. I did have to laugh at my packing list as I've cut down a lot from then and changed from the backpack style bag to a 2 wheeler. I was actually gone for 8 weeks. I started out in London to see a special exhibition at the Tower of London then took the train to Amsterdam. At the end I did Best of Paris for 7 days, then a week in Paris with a friend, then flew back to Italy to do the Village Italy tour.

https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/tours/21-day-best-of-europe-8-26-14

Posted by
65 posts

Wow great trip. We are taking the Eurostar from Paris to London after the trip and will spend 2-1/2 weeks in the UK and Wales

Posted by
27347 posts

I haven't taken a bus tour in Europe but use public buses a lot. It's pretty common for them to have Wi-Fi, but in my experience, it doesn't usually work all the time. Neither have my cellular connections, for that matter.

Posted by
5687 posts

Yes, WiFi on buses and trains (and ferries) is quite common now. Sometimes it works great, sometimes it's spotty or unreliable, given that it's using mobile networks.

But you might also consider having mobile data e.g. buying a European SIM card so you don't have to worry about whether the bus has WiFi or not. These SIMs don't cost a lot usually for a short trip.

Posted by
8501 posts

4 RS tours, never had wi-Fi on bus.

I would like to make the case for having a data plan of some sort. There are so many useful apps for travel available now that it would be a shame not to be able to use them.

Posted by
1259 posts

Badger: Expensive or not, wifi on coaches are pretty common nowadays.

Seems from the responses here that having WiFi on the bus is not even close to actually having internet om the bus. Most of the RS tour's coach routes I rode in Scotland were out of cell range which is the same thing as not having WiFi.