Earlier this year, I was bitten by the travel bug: a lot of my friends were traveling, and it occurred to me that, at age 36, I could count the places I’d been to on one hand – and most of them were a few hours’ drive from my hometown in a suburb of Buffalo.
A major problem for me was lack of someone to travel with: in pricing a road trip, it wasn’t very cost effective for me to drive myself somewhere (taking into consideration gas and hotel costs). Another thing holding me back: I have never flown. Ever. While I’m not as opposed to it as I was a few years ago, I would definitely need someone to accompany me on that first flight – someone who is a flying veteran, and would be willing (and able) to keep me calm. So, again, back to not having a travel companion.
Luckily, I’m a pretty independent person – I go to movies by myself, I go to concerts by myself. So if the opportunity ever arose, I would have no problem traveling by myself. That opportunity presented itself in the form of bus trips.
I saw an ad in a local newspaper for a number of bus trips a local company was running – casino trips, New York City trips, and trips to wineries. I checked out the website, and was overjoyed to find a number of other trips – trips to shows in Toronto, local tourist attractions, and – these really peaked my interest – trips to New York Yankees games, both home and away. I’m a big Yankees fan, so the opportunity to check them out was very appealing – it was also an opportunity to travel to a couple of different places, Toronto and Cleveland.
Since going on these two trips, I’ve discovered some pros and cons to bus travel. On the “pro” side:
Leave the driving to someone else – no wear-and-tear on your personal vehicle, and gas is covered in the package price. Also, you’re free to catch up on reading or enjoy the scenery as you travel.
Affordability – I priced out the individual elements of the trips I went on (gas, tickets, and food) and other trips I was interested in (which in addition included lodging and sight-seeing opportunities), and these trips were very well priced. If you’re traveling by yourself, there may be an upcharge for a single room, but it is often worth the price. I’ve also priced some trips against flying (for example, to New York City), and if you don’t mind a longer trip, the bus trip is definitely more affordable.
Of course, with the pros, there’s always a couple of cons to go with them:
Length of the trip – obviously, a bus trip to New York City is going to take seven to eight hours – providing time to sleep, if you’re able to do that on a bus (they often leave around midnight for NYC). If you’re a light sleeper, this may not be for you.
Seating – if you’re going by yourself, you’ll be next to someone you don’t know, which can present all kinds of problems – the person won’t stop talking, snores, or just makes the trip very uncomfortable in other ways.
So, if you’re looking for a new adventure this summer, check out local travel agencies and consider giving bus travel a try.