Taking the Greyhound for Short Trips

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I have what might be an embarrassing admission for a frequent traveler writing on a blog that features posts on things like luxury cosmetics, flying first class on foreign airlines, fancy champagne, and exotic trips to all parts of the globe: I’m a periodic Greyhound rider for short trips.

Taking a Greyhound for a short tripThe good: it’s cheaper (and probably safer) than driving, it takes about the same time (again, for short hauls), and you can use the time you would spend behind the wheel doing things like sleeping, reading, or writing. If you’re lucky, you can get one of the newer buses with gratis wifi and more leg room. I’m writing this post from just one such bus. It’s also a lot of fun to watch my periodic travel companion (Jacob, who will be five on July 31) enjoy it all. The Birmingham-to-Atlanta route also includes a stop in Anniston where you can get a sandwich or salad at Subway and/or high-priced snacks at the gas station. You can also meet some very interesting people on Greyhound.
The bad: Our bus to Atlanta was four hours late. This wasn’t a problem at first: when we knew we were going to be two hours late, Jacob and I walked to the Sheraton and Westin in Birmingham and rode elevators. I was a little impatient by the time we left because it wasn’t clear when we would be going. Jacob was a trooper through everything–perhaps more than I usually am.

The ugly: That brings us to the ugly. The Greyhound stations I’ve visited (Memphis, St. Louis, Birmingham, Nashville, and Atlanta) have been either extremely uncomfortable, filthy, or both. The only nice thing I can think of to say about restaurants at Greyhound stations is that the people who work there have been pleasant and helpful. Greyhound was kind enough to comp us a restaurant lunch because our bus from Birmingham to Atlanta was so late, but the prepackaged turkey and cheese sandwich–which was the best of a number of less-than-mouthwatering options–was one of the least-appetizing things I’ve ever eaten.
What do you think? What’s the best way to travel on very short hauls? Drive? Fly? Greyhound? Megabus*? Amtrak?
*-I haven’t used Megabus because their schedule is usually inconvenient. I’ll make a way to do it, though, and review appropriately.


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Heels First is the travels and tribulations of two twenty-something frequent fliers jumping into the world of travel. Join Keri and Jeanne as they tackle mileage runs, elite status, and of course–the perfect travel accessories.

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  1. DaninSTL

    June 17, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    I prefer Amtrak over Greyhound. I’ve heard Megabus is better than Greyhound. Meeting interesting people is an understatement 🙂

  2. Jeanne Marie Hoffman

    June 17, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    I’m a huge bolt bus fan and I’ll take Megabus when I can’t get Bolt Bus. One good use of Megabus for me is sometimes United does those combo Amtrak-flight fares (train from Philly to Newark; flight out of Newark), and the Megabus goes directly to the Amtrak station in Philly from here.

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