Sunday, April 7, 2013

Traveling By Bus Makes a Comeback

Recently on CBS's "Morning Show," the network's news travel editor, Peter Greenberg talked about the financial advantages of traveling by bus. Among the points that Greenberg made was that travel by bus is most economical for trips below $400 miles; after that, it becomes a less-bang-for-the-buck endeavor, especially in relation to a plane ride of the same distance (view video). 

In addition, Greyhound, the nation's premier cross-country bus line, has several options to make bus travel even cheaper. Most of these advantages can be capitalized on if you book through their website. Discounts are available for students with a Greyhound Student Advantage Discount Card. The card costs $20 to buy, and can pay for itself if you’re going to be making regular journeys across the country. The discount card earns users a 20% discount on bookings. Other discounts include a military discount (10% discount) and a senior discount (5%) for those aged over 62.

Other affordable bus travel alternatives include those that have less extensive, but more fixed routes to major cities include:

Megabus is a location-to-location bus line. It's somewhat upscale, offering free amenities such as free Wi-Fi and reclining seats. The fares can be more expensive than other budget bus services (see below) as a result of this, but there are some real bargains to be had if you travel on the right day and perhaps at less convenient times, such as early morning. Some fixed routes among its most traveled routes are priced as low $1.00 for a trip that lasts several hours, such as its New York to Washington DC run.  However, not all runs on this particular route leave or arrive at the most undesirable times.  As a result, a search of its site might be advisable in planning a trip through Megabus.  

Chinatown Bus is a budget bus company that services routes between the larger U.S. cities, mainly Seattle, Miami, San Francisco, San Diego, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, Chicago, Atlanta, Orlando, Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore. Current fares include Philadelphia to New York for $10 and Washington DC to New York for $18.

Boltbus is similar to Megabus in that it offers Wi-Fi and extra leg room on its buses and fares start at just $1 dollar. After every eight trips made using the service, you’ll receive one free trip (one-way only).

Granted, long bus rides are not always the most pleasant of experiences, the prices for short and intermediate-length routes compared to airplane trips of similar duration and distance make it more-than-affordable for even the most price-conscious traveler.


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