7 Tips for a Frugal Hassle Free Road Trip
The Frugal Road Trip
Hassle-Free Road Trips with Kids
I'm well-acquainted with Greyhound Bus Lines, but we aren't best friends. I've spent more days on those lumbering buses than I care to count, crossing the continent more than once as I shuttled between home and college, graduations and weddings. Yet, I must admit, Greyhound always got me where I was going.
Should you go Greyhound? Here are a few pros and cons.
You can't beat the price! This, of course, is the main reason that I've relied on this method of transportation. More than once, I've purchased a one-way ticket from Virginia to Montana for less than $70. That's right-seventy dollars to cross the continent. You can't drive for that price.
Since rates change, I won't try to quote the going prices, but purchase your ticket three weeks in advance for the best deal. Other discounts are also usually available.
In spite of all these positive factors, there are horror stories.
On another occasion, I traveled across the continent in weather so cold that Amtrak wasn't running and northwestern airports were closed down. Greyhound was the only major transportation system still running in that part of the country. My schedule got changed numerous times and I spent hours huddled in a tiny bus station someplace in Wyoming-I arrived twelve or more hours later than I expected. (Hey, I got there, though!)
Even on less dramatic occasions, bus schedules have a fluidity that can be unsettling to an organized person. It's entirely possible that you'll end up unexpectedly changing buses, stopping for unanticipated layovers, etc. Again, the bus drivers are usually very helpful.
Yes, if you want to save money and don't mind the long, tiring trip. Just keep in mind that your route may change and you'll have to be patient with frequent stops and less-than-ideal sleeping conditions.
Women traveling alone should take reasonable precautions-dress inconspicuously, don't flash expensive jewelry or luggage, don't walk alone outside the stations, don't confide personal information to strangers, be sure that someone reliable will be meeting you . . . You get the idea! (HINT: Being absorbed in a book or listening to music on headphones is a useful way to avoid unwanted conversation.) I would never, however, send an unaccompanied child on a cross-country bus trip.
If you don't mind these inconveniences, Greyhound can get you where you want to go in a reasonable amount of time for a reasonable price.
Anne Clay Cernyar has taken Greyhound more times than she cares to count, but admits that she'll probably do it again. Comments can be addressed to Anne at upWrite@juno.com.
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