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Hardcore Wanderlust: 10 Reasons Traveling By Bus Is Underrated

Have you noticed that whenever you browse through a travel blog or the “Weekend Escape” section of a lifestyle magazine, there are usually tons of articles offering advice on how to handle traveling by airplane?

With tips ranging from what to pack in your carry-on to whether you should have the chicken or the pasta, every minuscule detail related to flying is thoroughly explored and accounted for.

It almost seems like travel editors have forgotten about the wonder of the transportation evolution known as the bus. What's up with the motor coach discrimination?

The snub is quite astonishing, given the fact that each year, more people in the US end up traveling by bus than flying. Obviously, buses are still a very viable means of transportation and the demand for them is strong.

In a bid to turn the tables around, I will tell you exactly why traveling by bus is so much nicer than traveling by plane:

1. No Endless Security Lines

I know security checkpoints were not invented with the sole purpose of aggravating anxious travelers or to serve as an excuse to be felt up by complete strangers.

However, they can be quite stressful and tedious.

Not only are you required to completely mess up your outfit and walk barefoot on a questionable surface, but it gets worse (and even more embarrassing) if you are the “lucky” one whose bag is randomly selected for further inspection.

Fortunately, you don't have to go through all that when you travel by bus.


2. No Need to Arrive Hours In Advance

Often, people tell me the main reason they prefer flying is they can get to their desired destinations much faster than they would if they traveled by bus.

That is a valid point, to a certain extent. It largely depends on the destination in question.

Obviously, if I am traveling from Boston to LA and I am able to afford a plane ticket, I will do that.

However, if I want to get to New York from Boston or DC, taking a plane would mean setting aside two hours before my flight, in addition to the time I will need to actually get to the airport (for more on this one, see number seven).

Ain't nobody got time for that! If you travel by bus, you can show up at the station literally five minutes before departure and be happily on your way.


3. Buses Are Cheaper

Say what you want about buses, but at the end of the day, bus tickets are much cheaper than any airfare you will find.

Yes, some airlines will try to lure you in with really affordable deals, but when you add the fees they will charge for checked baggage, airport taxes, extra legroom and whatnot, you will end up cashing out majorly.

With buses, what you see is what you get; everything is included in the price you originally paid.


4. Power Outlets And FREE WiFi

The majority of bus carriers nowadays offer free WiFi for the whole duration of a trip, allowing passengers to fully utilize the time they spend traveling by getting important work done or catching up on the latest Netflix release.

In comparison, airlines continue to make you pay more than your monthly Internet bill for the grand luxury of spending an hour online during your flight.

What's even more interesting is many buses nowadays are actually fancier than most airplanes.

There are power outlets to keep your gadgets charged, cushioned seats and (once again because it is THAT important) extra legroom. What more can you ask for?


5. No Missing Baggage

When you fly, you are forced to hand over your suitcases containing some of your most precious belongings to complete strangers, and have to pray to the gods they will somehow emerge on the carousel after you land.

You have to shell out big bucks in checked baggage fees for the ability to potentially have clean underwear when you arrive at your destination.

Needless to say, very often, the bags don't arrive with you. Bus riders don't have to worry about that.

Usually, you are right there when the driver places your suitcase in the baggage bin and, maybe unless David Blaine is on the same bus as you, it stays there until you pick it up at the end of your trip.


6. No Need for Advance Planning

One of the most annoying things about flying is you have to plan your trips months in advance to get a good deal, as prices tend to soar the closer you get to the date of departure.

However, in today's dynamic world, who has the luxury of planning that far ahead?

Fortunately, it's a whole different story with buses. Even if you buy your ticket a day or two prior to departure, you are still very much likely to get a pretty decent deal.

In fact, statistics show the majority of bus tickets are sold mere hours prior to taking off.

But, even if planning everything in advance is actually your thing, buses are still the better option because many carriers offer $1 tickets to the very first person to book a seat for an upcoming journey.


7. Location, Location, Location

Have you ever landed in a new town, all excited and eager to start exploring this unknown territory, only to find out you have to spend two more hours commuting from the airport to the place you're staying?

And add to that some serious extra cash (plus tip) you will need to spend on a taxi or shuttle service to get there. It's not cool.

The good thing about bus stations, though, is unlike airports, they are usually located in a very central place within a city, and, normally, they moonlight as a main hub for the town's public transportation system.

This means pretty much any subway or bus line serving that particular town will have a stop there.

And, even if you have to take an Uber or a taxi, the price will be much lower.


8. Pit Stops

One of the best things about traveling by bus is that it stops during the journey for a short rest, allowing you to stretch, get some fresh air, use an actual bathroom and recharge your batteries by getting some food and hot coffee.

While you're able to get up and walk around on a plane, it becomes kind of a hassle when you're sitting on the inside and you have to make everyone else get up because you are suddenly in the mood for a stroll.

Then, as soon as you get out of that confined space, you have to play Pac-Man with the service trolleys and other wandering passengers.


9. No Anxiety-Inducing Turbulence

While bus rides can be bumpy depending on the road conditions and the current state of the driver's love life, nothing is remotely as scary as being trapped in a shaking metal box 40,000 feet above ground, with no knowledge of when (or whether) it's going to stop.

Needless to say, there's no turbulence on a bus, except for the occasional speed bump, but those can actually be fun — unless you're holding a cup of hot coffee without a lid.


10. More Places To Go

Bus travel is ideal for the adventurers at heart. There are so many small towns with a rich history and national parks that are just waiting to be explored and you can't easily get to most of those by plane.

A bus, on the other hand, will haul you directly to your point of interest and, on the way there, you can check out the route for future reference when you need to get back.

So, stop hesitating and book your next trip today to see for yourself how awesome buses have become and what you have been missing out on for the past few years.

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Polina Raygorodskaya

Contributor

Polina is co-founder/CEO of Wanderu.com, the largest ground travel search in N. America. Working with partner's including Megabus, Amtrak, Greyhound, Boltbus and more Wanderu helps travelers get where they want to go at the best price.
Polina is co-founder/CEO of Wanderu.com, the largest ground travel search in N. America. Working with partner's including Megabus, Amtrak, Greyhound, Boltbus and more Wanderu helps travelers get where they want to go at the best price.

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