Maybe it’s all the years I spent road tripping on summer vacations with my family speaking, but I truly believe there’s no better way to get a sense of place while traveling than to see a country, state or region through the windows of a moving vehicle.
Sure, air travel is great for transporting you to far away locales fast, but if you really want to get a wider perspective you can’t just stay in the city that is close to the airport – you’ll need to leave the cosmopolitan settings and see the surrounding area by road.
Road tripping, however, comes along with some high-cost parameters. First of all you need to have a vehicle, or rent one, and that can be costly. When you add in the price of gas and hotel stays, road trips can be an expensive option for solo travelers.
In my early-twenties I found bus and train travel to be a solution to these cost barriers and still reap the benefits of seeing new places via the road. After I finished classes on an exchange semester in Melbourne I bought a hop-on, hop-off bus pass and backpacking up Australia’s East Coast, ending in Cairns. Traveling by bus allowed me to stick to a budget while visiting many of my bucket-list locations like Canberra, Sydney, the Gold Coast and of course the Great Barrier Reef. Many of the bus rides were more than 10 hours, meaning I could sleep and cut costs on accommodation as well. The bus was also my primary mode of travel while living in Central America.
When I came back to the United States I found that bus travel wasn’t only an option while overseas – it’s also a good choice for domestic travel. With low fares and a consistent schedule, the bus quickly became my preferred method of travel to visit New York City from my parents’ house in Maryland. One summer I also found it to be the most cost-effective way to get from my apartment in Orlando to meet my family in Hilton Head for a family vacation.
Bus travel in the United States may not be the first option that comes to mind when you think of seeing the country, but there are so many factors that make it an excellent option. Bus tickets are often cheaper than plane tickets, and schedules are often more frequent than flights as well. If distances between cities are long, this may allow you to take an overnight bus and save on hotel costs. It can also be a good option to travel between smaller cities that don’t have airports.
And of course, bus travel in the United States allows you to see more of the country, whether you are doing multiple stops or just seeing the landscape as you roll by from the highway.
I drove across the country three times with my family growing up and it did a lot to teach me about what the country really looks like – from learning about the Civil Rights movement in Birmingham to visiting family in the farmlands in Nebraska to taking in the wonder of National Parks like Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon, traveling by road served as the greatest education for me.
Road trips aren’t exactly the ideal option for solo travelers. Bus travel allows you a similar experience to road tripping without having to drive or get tired sitting behind the wheel. It’s especially great if you don’t have a car or don’t want to put miles on your car, and with bus travel you don’t have to pay for gas!
GOTICKET is a new platform to search for bus and train tickets between more than 90,000 routes in the United States. GOTICKET makes it easier for ever to find and purchase tickets no matter where you want to go, whether you plan on traveling from Los Angeles to San Francisco, Sacramento to Denver or New York to Salt Lake City.
What are you waiting for? Get out there and see our beautiful country from the road and consider traveling by bus!