Amtrak or Greyhound for cross country trip?

Old Jan 8th, 2006, 10:22 PM
  #1  
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Amtrak or Greyhound for cross country trip?

I have a friend looking to take either the bus or train from NJ to Vancouver,WA. I was pleasantly suprised that the Greyhound option was 3 days and only $139.00. However, neither of us has ever traveled either method any great distance. I would love to feedback on either option. Thanks!
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Old Jan 8th, 2006, 10:31 PM
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I don't mind riding a bus all day, but one overnight trip and it's more than enough. Very uncomfortable for sleeping. A trip that includes 3 nights on the bus is downright torture. Please don't do it.
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Old Jan 8th, 2006, 10:56 PM
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That's kinda what I thought...but Amtrak is even longer- 4 days,6hrs to Greyhound's 2d,23h,45m(OK call it 3d!. If he did a "roomette" on train, the price jumps from a comperable $177 to $602. (including meals- assuming airplane food, by the way??) I'm thinking he's going to need a chiropractor and a good shower either way!
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Old Jan 9th, 2006, 02:30 AM
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If your friend won't fly and can't drive, then I suppose Amtrak. It's not cheaper and he/she WILL be delayed; arriving on schedule is not an option.
At least on the train, your friend would be able to get up and walk around. The bus sounds about as unappealing *legal* way to see the country as I could imagine.
Could your friend split it? Catch a cheap flight to Chicago, for example, and train from there?
If your friend has time to spare and wants to see the country (a worthy goal), drive. Otherwise, fly.
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Old Jan 9th, 2006, 07:38 AM
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I've done long distance by bus (12hours) and train (2days), and I vote for train.

On Amtrack you can get up and walk to the snack bar, sit at a dining table and play cards; the bathrooms are way more spacious and the seats are a little roomier. The snack bar food is better than airplane food, but pricy; more like airport food (you get a choice, and they microwave to order).

You can survive without a roomette, but yes, your friend will be cranky and smelly.

But you can't move at all on the bus. It is way worse. I think my back was permantenly ruined.

Bus terminals are dismal nasty places; Amtrak terminals are marginally better .

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Old Jan 9th, 2006, 09:16 AM
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I've done the trip by bus, train, and air plane. Suggestion: grit your teeth and fly--cheap flights are available.
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Old Jan 9th, 2006, 11:09 AM
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Either way you will see very little, waste a lot of time, be forced to eat some very bad food - and IMHO have a quite unpleasant experience. (You will be seeing either all highways and bus stations - usually the far wrong end of town - or nothing much from the train most of the time (which also goes through the wrong end of town).

Just do some reearch and you can fly for very little more. (I've done NYC/LA RT for less than $250.)

If you really want to see anaything of the US you need to rent a car and take at least 2 weeks - preferably more - coast to coast.
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Old Jan 9th, 2006, 11:12 AM
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my method of choice would be in order:
plane
train
drive
grayhound
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Old Jan 9th, 2006, 11:23 AM
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My choice would be:
plane
drive
stay home
Amtrak
greyhound
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Old Jan 9th, 2006, 11:24 AM
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Suggest your friend watch that Sex and the City episode where they trained from NYC to LA. Might help push him/her toward the fly or drive options.
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Old Jan 9th, 2006, 11:27 AM
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It is not my intention to hijack this thread but I was reminded of the time I wanted in college to go north and did not have any funds. A family my parents knew hired me to drive the "old lady" to Boston in her car because she drank too much to drive herself. We arrived three days and three bottles later. A bus ride would have been heavenly compared to that adventure
 
Old Jan 9th, 2006, 11:34 AM
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When you are doing the train vs. Greyhound cost comparison, keep in mind that if you have a "roomette" on the train, all your meals are included. They're decent meals, with wine and service, and certainly much better than anything your friend will find at a bus station! You also have access to showers on the train. If this will be a winter trip, I would personally prefer train to a long snowy road.

We did a cross-country train trip a few years back, and enjoyed it. Trains aren't for everyone (certainly not any of those folks on that recent FL to NY trip) but we had a great time.
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Old Jan 9th, 2006, 12:50 PM
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Is there a reason this person does not want to fly, other than ticket cost?
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Old Jan 9th, 2006, 01:37 PM
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I think that for certain areas of the country, the train is probably a good choice for scenery - ie. the section of the California Zephyr route through Utah and Colorado. If the point of the trip is to actually get someplace though, the train is horribly inefficient.
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Old Jan 9th, 2006, 01:46 PM
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I liked wliwl's preference. I had to wipe the spit off my monitor from my laugh!

"My choice would be:
plane
drive
stay home
Amtrak
greyhound"

Now that's funny!
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Old Jan 9th, 2006, 02:50 PM
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I wouldn't want to do it regularly, but I enjoyed our cross country Amtrak trip. The food is pretty good, and the western scenery is gorgeous.
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Old Jan 9th, 2006, 03:03 PM
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It can be painful (delays, delays, delays) taking the train to DC, I can't imagine going x-country!!
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Old Jan 9th, 2006, 03:12 PM
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Is this one-way travel? Southwest may have comparable prices without charging a one-way penalty. He can fly into Portland, OR and from there take a bus to Vancouver. Can he fly from New York?
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Old Jan 9th, 2006, 04:20 PM
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Thank you everone for your responses! Cost wasn't the issue,but without going into details, he came to his senses after just a few of your posts and booked the CO EWR-PDX flight today.
Incidentally, if I ever move back to the East Coast, I already swore to myself I woulnd't do that drive again! I personally can't imagine a bus or train! Thanks again!
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Old Jan 9th, 2006, 05:28 PM
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Whew, that was a close call
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