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THE CHATTER BOX

 
  
  
  The Chatter Box : Travel
  
  
  
 
greyhound buses across the US... yay or nay? by kid juxta on 31 December 2003 9:33pm
 
Hi, I'm intending to travel around the US next summer using the Greyhound bus service. I was wondering if any of you have tried this method of travel before and if you would recommend it or not... or would anyone alternatively recomment using the Amtrak rail service? Thanks, Steve Rudd, 23, Yorkshire, UK
 
Re: greyhound buses across the US... yay or nay? by JimR on 4 January 2004 1:44am
 
In my limited experience, I'd say they're not too bad. Probably the cheapest way of getting around. The main downside is that you sometimes get a few salubrious (sp?) types hanging around the stations (police boarded my first bus and arrested the passenger sitting behind me before it had a chance to leave, believe it or not)

Car hire also makes a lot of sense in the US, particularly if you're travelling in a group. Some friends of mine got a great deal driving a car from New York to LA over a week for a relocation company. I've not tried Amtrak so can't comment there, but I'm looking into rail trips across Canada at the moment and they seem extremely expensive.

Another alternative is a flight pass. I don't even know if you can still get these, but 12 years ago I got a month's stand by pass for Delta air lines for 250 quid. (as many internal US flights as you want within that month)

Hope that helps a little, I guess it really depends on which places you want to visit really...
 
Re: greyhound buses across the US... yay or nay? by George on 4 January 2004 11:15pm
 
Greyhound, the bus company, is a lot better than it used to be. Good, clean equipment, frequent service, and it goes everywhere. Since it's the cheapest form of public transportation you see lots of students, families, and everything else, too. You see, 9/11 (or 11/9 as some say) stuck a dagger in the heart of the American airline industry and may never fully recover. Stories of security delays, unreasonable searches, and detentions are legion. "Spur of the moment" traveling by plane is practically non-existent anymore. I pity the fool who comes to any airport here without a reservation, valid picture ID such as a driver's license or a paasport at the ready and expect to just "hop a place" to Chicago or somewhere in less than an hour. With Greyound all you need is cash or a credit card. Or traveler's checks.
 
Re: greyhound buses across the US... yay or nay? by George on 4 January 2004 11:35pm
 
Amtrak can be a wonderful way to travel if you've got the time. However, outside of the northeast their service is much less frequent, only once-a-day to most cities. They have a website. The staff is quite competent and your fellow passengers are very friendly. People who travel by train here mostly do it for the experience, not just to get someplace.
 
Re: greyhound buses across the US... yay or nay? by pauli on 7 January 2004 5:47pm
 
Recently I went around the world with only 2 flights from London (Tokyo-Anchorage and New York-London)in an attempt at a Palinesque pilgrimage.

I took the Greyhound 3 times; from North California to San Francisco (9 hours), and from the Texan border to New Orleans (20 hours) and from Norfolk Virginia to Richmond; I was intending to get it to New York, but...

Good points: It is cheap, it is regular, it is a true US experience as a living version of the Jerry Springer show - you have to see it to believe it.

Bad points: Greyhound depots are normally in the dodgiest part of town and they can overbook the bus. This means no matter what your ticket says you can be stuffed if it is full until the next bus (this happened to me - in a rage I changed to Amtrack instead of an 8 hour wait for the next bus). As the cheapest way to travel they just don't care about you at all. The staff are also very rude; part of this is due to the Jerry Springer show effect and means there are some dangerous folk as well. After all in the land of the car you have to wonder why they aren't driving??

Where it is available Amtrack is great, a much nicer place to meet people, but costs more.

Good luck
 
Re: greyhound buses across the US... yay or nay? by kidjuxta on 7 January 2004 10:58pm
 
Thanks for all that info, i'll take it on board (lol). I can imagine travelling by Greyhound being an experience, but i really am travelling on a budget, so much so that i'll probably resort to sleeping on the buses at night as much as possible to save money that i would otherwise spend on accomodation. Is it easy to sleep on night buses does anyone know, or would that be asking for troubling, i.e., asking to be mugged or attacked, or am i just being paranoid. Having never been to the US before i really don't know what to expect. As i say, i don't have much money but really want to see as many places as i can so i just assumed a 60-day bus pass would be the best way to do this...
 



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