Travel: Consider the Bus

Before you stick up your nose to this, read a little more and find out how taking a motor-coach for some longer trips can save you big time cash and take just as long to commute as an airplane!

Traveling by bus is not as uncivil as it used to be. If you are thinking about a trip that is four to six hours away by flight, check out MegaBus and BoltBus. The buses are fairly new and clean. 

When I lived in Charlotte, NC and my family lived in Atlanta, GA (a four hour commute by car and 3 hour by airplane [because, note, you must arrive at least an hour and a half before flights these days, plus park, etc]), after three years of driving home once a month, I was introduced to the MedgaBus. Luckily, my apartment was down the street from the stop, so most trips I walked to the stop!
The MegaBus on average cost me $40 round trip, and took the same exact time to commute as when I drove. When I drove the trip on average cost me $100. In 2010, I could sometimes find a flight that was $110. But, since that time, I had not been able to find a round trip for that flight plan at that rate. That was the way I justified a flight: if it was the same price as my drive.
Also, for me, I tend to get bored and sleepy during road trips. I am not really a road trip girl. I would prefer to be driven, and unfortunately, I am a poor co-pilot, because I tend to fall asleep. Also, I get car sick (never throw up, but, a killer headache.) So, I take motion sickness pills, which also tend to make me drowsey.I know...there are a lot of factors here...

That's why the bus was a big benefit for my trips home, and allowed for me to make more of them!

Here's some more perks 

  • Most buses offer free wi-fi and outlet access. *but from my experience, most times it wasn't that strong or good.
  • BoltBus, which is part of Greyhound, connects major Northeast U.S. cities (New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Washington), while MegaBus has a larger route map, traveling throughout the Midwest and Northeast as well as Eastern Canada and the U.K. 
  • Tickets rarely cost more than $30 each way, and sometimes cost as little as $1, with some pre-planning and advanced booking.

Although, I never smelled know..."bus smell", you will be traveling with "bus people." It's nothing dangerous, but keep in mind there is a range of these types...including me...the TV person, on a budget. There were students, want-to-be rappers, older folks, and commuters (professionals who lived in Atlanta, but worked in Charlotte.)

Also, some trip routes are better than others. So consider that, too, when you are booking. I know some girls who took the MegaBus from Houston to New Orleans for The Essence Music Festival. They hated it. Although, it was a short commute, there was a rowdy crowd. For them, it was all about BAD timing.

I know a kid who to took the bus from DC to Charlotte. It was 13 hours, with a stop in Raleigh! At the stop, the driver made everyone wake-up. It is understandable as the driver needed everyone to be aware and safe as new passengers boarded the bus; but, it was also incredibly inconvenient.

Also, the timing of the trip is important.
From my own experience, there are some trips that were absolutely full, in particular, around the holidays. There were also trips where you could have a row to your own. 

Where the bus wins over the airplane is that, you can pack a big suitcase (they say no more than 50 pounds, but as long as it wasn't too big, the driver really never checked), then a carry on bag...for free. That's way more than you can bring on any flight these days!

And of course, as long as you prepare, bringing your own entertainment and snacks, then before you know it, you are at your destination.

Another warning:
It got extremely COLD on the bus. The driver will always announce that he can't control the temperature on the bus. So even in the summer months, I'd recommend bring a sweater...even a blanket and pillow for the ride.

So...would you ever take the bus for a trip? Let us know and we'll post it here!


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