Worldwide Bus Travel Tips

5 Reasons to Take the Bus in the USA

Taking the bus may not be the number one mode of transport that comes to mind when planning your trip across the US. From plenty of opportunities and open roads to drive on, to the convenience of taking a plane, why should you consider taking the bus in the US? Here are our favorite reasons why!

bus

Taking the bus is…

Eco-friendly
Buses have the smallest carbon footprint of all motorized transport modes, therefore, taking the bus is being environmentally conscious. In the midst of the car-less generation trend, where young travelers are taking environmental issues into their own hands, taking an intercity bus is not only smart, but logical. Did you know that buses use “60% less energy per passenger mile than Amtrak” and that “One bus can replace a minimum of 30 cars”?

Scenic
Snagging a window seat on a plane is different from getting one on a bus. Riding a bus in the US is perfect for visiting more than one city or town off the beaten path because they usually take routes that differ from those taken by the train. These journeys boast an array of mountainous panoramas, forests, lakes, and city lights, making it easy to unearth the many wonders that dot the US’ landscape. Think of it as having your trip start before reaching your destination!

Inexpensive
Intercity bus travel rivals other modes of transportation in terms of price when it comes to driving, taking the train, or flying. Taking the bus in the US is less expensive than both the train and plane. To give you an idea, a roundtrip plane ticket from Boston to New York City this holiday season will cost you an average of $250, $125 by train, while the same trip by bus will cost $60. That will leave you plenty of leftover cash to buy those holiday presents! But, whatever you do, make sure you know everything you need to know about bus booking in the USA. It’s important that you know what your options are

Comfortable
There’s no need to get to the bus stop three hours beforehand or go through daunting security. What’s more, most modern bus companies provide passengers with the same services they would get on planes and trains: Wi-Fi, leather seats, extra legroom, food and drinks served to you by an on-board attendant, TV screens with movies, and the option to ride first class, among many other perks.

Large in network
Buses cover a vast amount of ground. Did you know that buses take certain routes to cities that are difficult to get to by train? Not every type of landscape is ideal for railway tracks and not every small village has a train station, so choosing the bus can take you to local areas and unique countrysides. How’s that for off the beaten path?

What’s your favorite thing about taking the bus? Let us know in the comments section below!

Search and book your bus tickets to and from the United States directly on Busbud.com


41 thoughts on “5 Reasons to Take the Bus in the USA

  1. FIve Reasons you will love the bus! 1. – The diesel fumes, mixed with the smell of baby vomit from the crying toddler in the seat next to you. 2. – The ex-con, just released from prison, who keeps leering at you. 3. When you get up to use the smelly restroom in the back, everyone knows where you are going. 4. You can’t walk around, as you can on a train. There is no dining car, as there is on a train. And 5. – Yes, a bus can take you “local areas and unique countrysides” — like lovely Bakersfield, or Pecos, Texas – home to a Federal prison! And 6. – ALL of the above, together! Have a nice trip!

  2. This article reads like an advertisement for Greyhound. If a bus is my only way of getting somewhere, I’d rather just not go.

  3. Thanks for your comment Lee! It’s definitely nice not having to go through pat-downs or full body scanners when traveling by bus 🙂

  4. Hi Jackie, hope you’re not missing out on anything then! 😉 I personally think it’s important for everyone to find a mode of transport they enjoy, otherwise traveling will be a pain!

  5. Thoreau asked, “Who gets there faster, he who takes a train or he who WALKS?”
    (I paraphrased it, oh – and I’m giving you a moment to think of the answer)
    He who walks! He’s out the door and on his way!
    To buy a ticket, he must spend time earning money. Several days…a week or two?
    *
    I don’t know if it applies today…I’m like 20 hours from Australia by plane…but it’s still a good little mental exercise, for those who like mental exercise.

  6. “Think of it as having your trip start before reaching your destination.” Um…isn’t that the case for EVERY trip? How many trips start AFTER you reach your destination?

  7. may TRY it next time – – after all – – – RETIRED – – why NOT?
    Retired bus driver! – – now I can BE that BOTHERSOME OLD FART on the bus.

  8. Yes – – I shall TRY it as a PASSENGER – – for a change – – to SEE how it is from the “other side”

  9. Obviously, this writer has never riden a Bus. I recently travelled from Spokane to Portland on a national carrier. i am surprised they can remain in business. The trip of over six hours had no meal stops. The bus looked like a prison transport …incredibly dirty and vile smelling. The seats were almost as comfortable as seats on a plane. The wifi and the electrical outlets did not function.
    As for price, train tickets are about the same price, and with advance purchase even air tickets are about 15 percent more.

  10. I think they are talking about taking a Tour Bus Company. I have traveled with Starr Tours and they were great!! the bus was very clean, we stopped for several rest periods and the tour guide was great. The hotels that we stayed at were also very nice. I will travel again with them!

  11. Thanks for the feedback, Kelly, and I’m sorry to hear about your negative experience.

    Busbud partners with many bus operators around the world, and our mission is to make it easy for you to find the best bus trip for your needs. There may be a wide range of quality out there, but we only partner with the best ones and are actively making it easier for you to compare different departures (which include date, time, duration, amenities) for any given route.

    We’re also building a feature that will allow riders to rate and review the different bus operators so that your feedback can be helpful for other travelers out there.

    Finally, although we cannot change the experience that you’ve had on your recent trip, we’d encourage you to consider the bus again for future trips as the majority of carriers worldwide we’ve met and partnered with offer a better service than you have encountered.

  12. Hi Harry, thanks for commenting. This article does indeed refer to intercity bus operators like Greyhound, and not tour buses. Greyhound serves almost 18 million passengers each year and provides bus transportation for 3800 destinations across North America. It has interline partnerships with a number of independent bus lines across the United States, and the amenities may vary depending on the line you’re traveling on.

    Here is info from the Greyhound official website:

    “We’ve done some things to make the trip more enjoyable.

    Wi-Fi: Our buses are equipped with Wi-Fi hot spots. This technology is new, and
    there are spots on the trip where the service may be unavailable. We also do not
    advise downloading large files, as the speed will be relatively slow. The Wi-Fi
    service is free of charge…enjoy.

    Extra Legroom: We’ve taken the standard coach configuration and removed seats. This
    adds about three extra inches of legroom per seat.

    Power Outlets: Located throughout the coach are standard 110-volt plug-ins. To make
    the trip more enjoyable, plug in your laptops, iPods and portable DVD players, and
    enjoy.

    Standard Amenities: A restroom with a flushable toilet, air conditioning, panoramic
    views and the normal coach accoutrements, making riding Greyhound Express easy on
    your wallet and your eyes.

    * Wi-Fi and power outlet disclaimer: Greyhound Express makes every effort to provide
    these services free of charge to every passenger. However, if, for any reason, the
    service is unavailable, we are unable to supply a refund.”

  13. Thank you for your incredibly patronizing response. So tell me, just how long have you been a paid minion of Greyhound

  14. I’ve used all types of transportation many times; and depending on your schedule and time available, one type of travel usually outweighs the others. Travelling at night, definitely use a train if possible, seats are bigger and if necessary, you can get up and stretch your legs in comfort. Use buses if you’re travelling during the day and you enjoy scenery, and be sure about inquiring about travel/comfort stops beforehand. I only use an auto if my travels are to areas I enjoy driving through and I strictly avoid major interstates if possible.

  15. I had to laugh when I read this article.  Travel by bus is cheap because it’s uncomfortable and slow, among other things.  Then there’s the question as to whether the bus driver is competent, on drugs, intoxicated, texting, or just plain drowsy.  Of course, we can’t forget we are sharing the road with other drivers who may also be incompetent, on drugs, intoxicated, texting or just plain drowsy.

    Yep!  A great way to travel—if you’re desperate.

    As for being “green,” no highway vehicle can match a train in terms of fuel efficiency.  At best, a bus will average 80-100 ton-miles per gallon of fuel burned.  Even an ineptly-operated train can manage 300 ton-miles per gallon.  Commercial airliners are actually more fuel-efficient than a bus.

  16. Hi Tessa, so happy to hear you had a pleasant experience taking the tour bus! I also love taking tours whenever I’m traveling. But my favourite thing is to take buses from one city to another; it’s by far the best way to see a country in my opinion 🙂

  17. Thanks for your comment William!

    You make a good point; traveling by bus during the day makes more sense because that’s when you can really look at your surroundings. Many overnight trains also offer some sort of a bed option too, which makes traveling much more comfortable!

    When I was traveling around Central America, the distances between big cities were often long and I was taking night buses to save time; I preferred spending the night sleeping on the bus and the following day exploring my destination city! Not the most comfortable thing to do, but I managed to cover great distances and see a lot of things in a very short time 🙂

  18. Hey Peter,

    Thanks for the great comment! It is true that the man who walks should get there faster, as walking is completely free 🙂 Great mental exercise indeed!

  19. Thanks for the comment, Clyde.

    Buses actually consume less fuel than trains when you factor in the number of passengers transported. Check out the infographic here: https://www.busbud.com/en/about/why-we-love-the-bus

    To carry one passenger over 100km, it takes on average 0.6-0.9 litres of gas by bus or coach, and 2.6 litres by high speed train. Airliners are less efficient at 6.6 litres, and a gas-powered car are worst at 7.6 litres. You can find additional stats on the Smart Move website here: http://www.busandcoach.travel/en/green/green_resources.htm

  20. To carry one passenger over 100km, it takes on average 0.6-0.9 litres of gas by bus or coach, and 2.6 litres by high speed train.

    Excepting on some sections of the Northeast Corridor, there are no high-speed trains running in the USA, assuming that one uses the definition of high-speed train as one that routinely runs at or above 200 KM/h (125 MPH).  Most of the Northeast Corridor Amtrak trains are electrically powered, not Diesel, so coming up with a fuel burn per passenger number is difficult—the power source is a public utility.

    The numbers you quote come from your own website and are not in keeping with statistics produced by other sources.  For example, once airborne at cruise altitude, a modern airliner is very efficient.  As I recall from the days when I worked with Boeing on the 767 prototype, an east-bound coast-to-coast flight burned about 35 gallons of fuel per passenger, assuming a fully loaded plane.  Westbound was about 40 gallons per passenger.  No road vehicle has ever reached that level of fuel efficiency.

  21. On the first link referring to a page on our website, you’ll see the source cited at the bottom of the page as Smart Move/Union of Concerned Scientists: http://www.ucsusa.org/

    Here’s an additional data point from the DePaul University Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development: “Motor coach that is three-quarters full achieves more than 250 passenger-miles per gallon of fuel—several times the energy efficiency of airplanes or cars”: http://las.depaul.edu/centers-and-institutes/chaddick-institute-for-metropolitan-development

    Finally, from the International Council on Clean Transportation: “Planes are currently the most fuel-intensive transport option at about 43 passenger miles per gallon jet fuel, or a little over 40 passenger miles per gallon gasoline equivalent (MPGge). The most energy efficient option is actually an interurban bus, at an estimated 152 passenger MPGge. Interurban rail and cars have intermediate values of 51 and 53 MPGge, respectively.” http://www.theicct.org/blogs/staff/planes-trains-and-automobiles-counting-carbon

  22. Hello yanks, I’m Steve from Leeds, England, I thought you might want to see a real English bus. This is a British Leyland Atlantern “Jumbo” built for Leeds City Transport in 1974.

    Thanks Steve

  23. well explained and informative post…hire bus charter is always a best option if you travel in group..

  24. I think probably the best reason on this list is that it is relatively inexpensive. Bus’s are less expensive to run and you can fit a lot of people on them so you get a lot of people sharing the cost of running the bus with a little room for some profit and you still are looking at a much less expensive trip than alternatives. Plus, you aren’t driving so you can rest on a long trip. Another thought, you never know who you will meet on a bus you could make a long time new friend.

    http://rvsingles.org/events/

  25. I think bus could be convenient in case of many members. But If you are going to travel 2 -3 you can book shuttle service which can give you en joyful transportation experience.

  26. Hi. The favorite thing to take bus is the wonderful thing to be able to see the landscapes that the country has. Although I do not agree with being very comfortable, I think it is more comfortable to travel in your own car. You can make all the stops you want at any time you want.
    Excellent information! Thank you very much.

  27. Hello! the favorite thing to take bus is the wonderful thing to be able to see the landscapes that the country has. Although I do not agree with being very comfortable, I think it is more comfortable to travel in your own car. You can make all the stops you want at any time you want.
    Excellent information! Thank you very much.

  28. Hello! the favorite thing to take bus is the wonderful thing to be able to see the landscapes that the country has. Although I do not agree with being very comfortable, I think it is more comfortable to travel in your own car. You can make all the stops you want at any time you want.
    Excellent information! Thank you very much.

  29. Hi. The busiest thing to take is the wonderful thing about being able to see the landscapes that the country has. Although I do not agree with being very comfortable, I think it is more comfortable to go in your own car. You can make as many stops as you want when you want.
    Excellent information! thank you very much.

  30. Hi. The busiest thing to take is the wonderful thing about being able to see the landscapes that the country has. Although I do not agree with being very comfortable, I think it is more comfortable to go in your own car. You can make as many stops as you want when you want.
    Excellent information! thank you very much.

  31. Hi. The busiest thing to take is the wonderful thing about being able to see the landscapes that the country has. Although I do not agree with being very comfortable, I think it is more comfortable to go in your own car. You can make as many stops as you want when you want.
    Excellent information! thank you very much.

  32. Thanks for pointing out that one of the advantages of taking a charter bus is that there’s no need to get to the bus stop three hours early to go through daunting security. I am considering taking a bus instead of a plane to visit my sister who lives a couple of states over. I think it would be nice to be in an environment that is a little more laid back for the whole trip. Plus, you get a better scenic view than you would on a plane.

  33. I liked a few things you talked about mainly that using a tourist bus is a cheaper route and that it is scenic. My wife and I are usually pretty cheap with our travels and we want to make sure we aren’t spending too much just to travel somewhere. As well as expense, being able to see the journey and enjoy the views is important to us because it is part of the fun. We will have to consider using a tourist bus the next time we go somewhere.

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