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Across the country...by bus. HELP! Thoughts?

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Nov 21st, 2011, 01:08 AM
  #1
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Across the country...by bus. HELP! Thoughts?

I'm planning to take a trip out east this summer with a friend. We're both students so money is pretty tight. Because of this, we're considering taking a Greyhound bus across the country instead of flying. That'll save us $400 each roundtrip but will turn what would have been a five hour flight into a three day excursion.

So the question is: is it worth it?

We're both pretty stingy.

We've discussed it and both of us think it might even be fun. We love to fly, but we couldn't see the country the same way from the air. It might also be valuable bonding time. We're spending the summer working and taking a course, so a cross-country trip at the end of August could be just what we need. We've both stressed the adventure and potential fun when discussing the idea of taking a bus, but everyone else we've talked to has tried to talk us out of it.

Their concerns are probably valid: we'd be stuck in a bus for three days, with one transfer in Calgary. Obviously there will be stops along the way, but that fact remains that we'd be on a bus for THREE DAYS there and THREE DAYS back. That's SIX DAY TOTAL, for those of you who struggle with math. As a friend of mine so kindly pointed out: we probably wouldn't be able to shower or anything during each trip. It might also be uncomfortable to try and sleep on the bus, and we'd be spending two nights in transit. And buying food along the way could get really expensive. (Although, if we did go we'd back some meals and snacks to take ahead of time.) Not only that, but there are no electrical outlets on these buses, so we couldn't recharge laptops or iPods. We get along very well, but even the best of friends can get on each other's nerves when they spend three days in a confined space. The general consensus seems to be that we'll end up launching WWIII against each other by the end of the trip. However, I feel confident that we're good enough friends and have the right kind of dynamic to resolve any issues that might come in a reasonable fashion.

SO: what's the verdict? Cross-country bus adventure or quick flight?
norma_jean is offline  
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Nov 21st, 2011, 02:06 AM
  #2
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Telling us which country you intend to cross would help a lot...
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Nov 21st, 2011, 02:59 AM
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If you're young it should be an adventure - on one five week trip in the 70s, I travelled on a Greyhound Pass through parts of 33 US states, DC and 6 Canadian provinces (some might say a tour of bus stations in 40 separate jurisdictions), with only local newspapers and the idiosyncrasies of fellow travellers to keep me entertained - and had a great time, but just the first overnighter let alone the three-nighters I did twice - would kill me now.
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Nov 21st, 2011, 03:12 AM
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discoverypass.com not bad roadtripusa.com worth it

is an experienced traveler who likes adventure/dodgy/druggy

around bus stations...

amtrak.com pass better choice for less experienced folks

who want an overland US experience.

Wise to stay south in winter for better weather2travel.com
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Nov 21st, 2011, 03:14 AM
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Do realize u will not save due to food/lodging costs

So no real savings of any kind compared to flying usually.

southwest.com web fares from $100 best if it is just about $$

also spirit.com if they are going your way can save a ton.
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Nov 21st, 2011, 11:48 AM
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[email protected]: We're travelling from Vancouver, Canada to Toronto and then from Montreal to Vancouver.
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Nov 21st, 2011, 05:55 PM
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I'm sure I saw something on TV one day about busses now have outlets for charging electronic devices. Might want to investigate that.
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Nov 21st, 2011, 07:57 PM
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Even if the fares were the same, I always choose the train over the bus. You can take the Amtrak bus from Vancouver to Seattle, take the Empire Builder to Chicago, the Lake Shore Limited to Buffalo and the Maple Leaf Buffalo to Toronto. The fare is only $359US for a 3 day 5 hour trip. The same trip on the Canadian (ViaRail) is over $600CDN.
The advantage of the train is availability of food and nicer restrooms. The Canadian only leaves Vancouver 3 days a week.
The Empire Builder runs every day with the exception of when there is severe flooding.
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Nov 22nd, 2011, 11:32 AM
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I'm another fan of train travel. More comfortable than buses (generally speaking- not always!), and access to a toilet all the time, not just at stops. Your bags are under your eyes instead of under the bus. VIA may have student discounts, worth checking. That's actually one of the world's greatest train rides - I'm hoping to finally do it next spring.
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Nov 22nd, 2011, 11:54 AM
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For me it goes:
plane
train
car
absolutely last resort ... bus
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Nov 22nd, 2011, 01:04 PM
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But plane = more expensive (mostly), worse carbon footprint, and worst, the TSA....
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Nov 22nd, 2011, 02:30 PM
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I have no issues with the TSA.

If these girls really think 3 days on a bus would be fun, what the heck, have at it. To me I can't think of a worse nightmare.
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Nov 22nd, 2011, 08:54 PM
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norma_jean: I'd post your questions over on the Canada board . . .
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Nov 29th, 2011, 06:54 PM
  #14
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Yeah, it might be better to post it there...Thanks for all the input everyone. This will definitely help me make a decision.
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Dec 2nd, 2011, 03:10 PM
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look into www.megabus.com for a lot of your east coast travels then to midwest.. then southwest airlines or spirit.. fly the longer stretches maybe.
check all flights on www.kayak.com You may be surprised how inexpensive some one way flights are.
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Dec 26th, 2011, 02:26 AM
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I've done the overnight NY-Cleveland Ohio several times.....And if you can cope with being crammed in with a high percentage of smelly, drunk, drugged or augumentative fellow-travellers, crying babies, spending hours stuck in bus stations waiting for delayed connections, frequent bus breakdowns, locked toilets, ridiculously-priced poor-quality food, then go for it, it's certainly going to be an education to you!
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Dec 26th, 2011, 02:28 AM
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Sorry that was blocked toilets not locked LOL
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Dec 26th, 2011, 05:32 AM
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I now have train tickets for New York to Chicago and Chicago to San Francisco for May. Couldn't believe how quickly the cheapest sleepers were selling out! Then I'll train up the west coast - Portland, Seartle, Victoria - before taking the train back across Canada to Montreal and New York. So I'm definitely voting for train over bus!
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