We've had our share of train and bus journey's, but never in the US. So loving this helpful and great advice from Sarah!
If you plan a trip to the US and have more time to spare, then the best way to see the country is to get a train or a bus. While these transportation means aren’t as popular among Americans, they are cheap and provide you with a great way to actually see different places rather than just taking a plane. Here are a few tips and pointers regarding train and bus travel in the US as well as few things to know.
Why take a train or bus?
Most people in the US would probably advise you to take a plane, as it’s the fastest and most convenient way to travel. That might be fine if you only plan to spend a few days in one or two big cities, but if you want to get to see different parts of the country, talk to locals, and experience the real America, then you want to take it slower and travel by bus or train. Plus there are so many rules on a plane!
If you take an alternative method you can use regional trains or take coast to coast tickets, and buses are really cheap, especially the short distance ones. Some bus tickets might be as low as $1, so you can save a lot of money and see a great deal more places on a tight budget.
The importance of planning ahead
It is a good idea to sketch a plan in mind. Check bus and train routes and see which are best suited for your plans. Want to take a coast to coast train or do you wish to take buses from one location to the other and spend more time with the locals. Accommodation is cheap, especially if you find camping spots or hostels. Make sure you plan for the routes, check prices and make an itinerary that you can follow. That doesn’t mean you can’t change plans, but it’s best to have one to rely on in the first place.
Things to be careful about
A good safety measure is to never keep all the money and cards in one spot. Split the money in to various compartments, clothes and pockets, and make sure you always have the important documents such as ID cards on you. Another good idea is to make copies of important documents such as passport and ID card. Also try not to show off any expensive gear such as a DSLR camera or smartphone, as it might attract the wrong people. Also make sure to keep your bags in sight, as the last thing you want is to lose them halfway through your trip. Travel insurance should always be a must when travelling abroad.
Book your ticket in advance
Always book your bus or train tickets in advance. Besides making sure you secure a trip, you also get discounts and other bonuses the longer in advance you buy them. One of the best places to book your ticket is GoTicket. With more than 90,000 bus routes and lots of info on trains, you can check out routes between any two locations from any states in the US. You get an approximate price as well as departure and arrival times, so that you can accurately plan your trip.
Sarah Dumphey travels the world with a backpack. She is always looking the cheapest method of getting places even if it involves a chicken bus or sitting on the roof of a train.