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Do You Really Have to Travel in Style?

Nancy Trejos

I grew up in New York City, and my parents and siblings still live there.

When I was a student at Georgetown University, I would take the Greyhound bus to visit them. But when I graduated and got a job at The Post, I decided to treat myself to Amtrak rides. Sometimes, if I could get a good deal, I would fly up. My family lives in Queens so flying to LaGuardia airport was quite convenient.

In the last few years, though, the train has gotten so expensive. I’ve dropped anywhere from $140 to $300 on a round-trip ticket. As for the plane, I can only find cheap flights if I plan way ahead, which I cannot always do because my schedule is so erratic. I simply can’t afford to spend so much money on a regular basis to go to New York.

This past weekend, at the urging of some friends, I tried the Bolt bus, which is owned by Greyhound. For months, I had resisted it. It’ll take too long and it won’t be as comfortable, I reasoned. But then I looked at my bank account and I looked at the Bolt bus fare. It would cost me $20 to get to New York for my nephew’s First Communion. How could I say no to that?

I was pleasantly surprised. This was nothing like the bus I used to take in college. There were leather seats and wi-fi. The driver was pleasant. And it took four hours and 15 minutes, just about an hour longer than the train.

Bolt Bus isn’t the only decent bus company out there that can take you to New York or other destinations along the Northeast. There’s also MegaBus and Vamoose, for pretty much the same price. And you can try the Chinatown buses, which can be even cheaper. More and more people I talk to, especially those around my age who are becoming more budget-conscious, are taking advantage of the increased bus service to New York.

“I take Bolt Bus whenever I can,” said my colleague Terissa Schor. “The train is nice," but it's too expensive. "Also, how can it not have wi-fi by now? Bolt Bus is pimped out, has wi-fi (even if it doesn't work very well) and pimped out seats.”

“I'm all about the MegaBus now,” said my friend Christina Davidson, a blogger. “Or sometimes the Chinatown bus, so I can go to the Chinese farmers market on my way home.”

If you’re trying to save a few dollars, but still want to splurge on a weekend trip to New York, does it really matter how you get there as long as you get there? Save yourself some money. Try the bus.


By Nancy Trejos  |  May 5, 2009; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Bargains , Nancy Trejos  
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Next: Getting on the Refinance Bandwagon

Comments

DC2NY bus leaves from Dupont Circle and is absolutely fantastic! I agree- train is too expensive these days. Bus is a much better deal.

Posted by: elham17 | May 6, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

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