Greyhound travel: When cheaper isn’t always better

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Melanie Buer
OPINION EDITOR

Just this past week, I found myself in a rather uncomfortable situation. I was suddenly in desperate need of a means to travel to North Carolina to see my sister and had very little money to do it.

A plane ticket would have run me over $400, and the Amtrak didn’t even have a stop in the city I needed to get to. After a day or two of agonizing, I finally settled on shelling out the cash for a Greyhound ticket. The bus isn’t ever my first choice, but I needed to be there and this was the only option I had left.

The reality for a lot of students is that sometimes, the money for more comfortable travel accommodations isn’t necessarily there. I know I can’t be the only one who has bit the bullet and bought a Greyhound ticket because it was easier on the wallet. The issue is that Greyhound bus lines, God save them, are simply an incredibly uncomfortable way to travel.

I sat on that bus for 36 hours straight, afraid to sleep in case I missed any one of the five transfers I was scheduled for on that trip. By the fourth transfer, I was crawling out of my skin and wanting desperately for the trip to be over. There’s something about the cramped feeling of a Greyhound seat that gives me the shivers.

All uncomfortability aside, I only spent $156 for a ticket. 1,700 miles for $156. That’s incredible. The gas alone if I were to rent a car would be double that amount. Megabus, another cross country bus service, offers rides to Chicago for less than $50. For the penny pinching college student, it might be worth the 10 hours in closed quarters.

So the question is this: is it worth the extra money for efficiency and comfort? I suppose that’s up to each individual student. It helps that I’m terrified of flying and prefer driving to my destinations, so I’ve always taken a train or bus when I needed to get anywhere out of state. Due to my phobias, spending more doesn’t necessarily mean more comfort.

It may mean something to some-one else, though. Before deciding on how to get home for fall break, I recommend that students check out all the options. If the cost of a plane ticket is too much to justify seeing family over the holidays, then maybe a Greyhound ticket will be the right solution.

It’ll definitely be one of the more interesting trips of your life.

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