Affordable Travel: Don’t Miss the Megabus!
Car trips aren’t my thing. Anything over two hours, and I’d rather not. To be clear, I have driven thousands of miles all over the Southeast, carting my kids to various events because, well, parents do what they have to do. So yes, I’m capable. Yes, I know I would be fine. No, I don’t wanna.
So what was I to do when I recently had the opportunity to visit my BFF in Atlanta for a long weekend, but didn’t have anyone to accompany me on the drive? Flights were too expensive. Then my friend told me about the Megabus.
I had never ridden a bus, except once on a Greyhound that took my church youth group on a ski trip when I was 14. However, I really didn’t want to make a six-hour trip by myself. After looking at the website and the reviews, I decided to give it a try. Granted, the Megabus reviews were terrible. But I thought I would give it a go and find out for myself.
My Megabus Review
If you need to get from point A to point B and are on a tiny travel budget, you will definitely want to give Megabus strong consideration. Fares start as low as $1 for a one-way trip. Tickets were available for that price on its website when I started searching.
My total cost was just $35 for a round-trip upgraded ticket from Jacksonville, Florida to Atlanta, Georgia. This included an assigned seat on the upper deck of the bus and all fees. I was shocked. Plus, the bus offers free Wi-Fi.
Instead of driving for seven hours, I can sit in a fairly comfortable seat and get some work done? For $35 bucks? Sign me up!
The trip was great. The driver was fun and friendly. I was able to completely focus on work for almost the entire trip. The one thing I didn’t expect was the level of quiet on the bus.
You can bring one piece of luggage per passenger reservation. It can’t weigh more than 50 pounds. Passengers are also allowed one small carry-on bag that will fit under the seat. They recommend locking your suitcase, as they do not “check” baggage. Need to bring extra luggage? No problem. Just purchase an additional travel ticket.
Most people had a backpack or travel bag of some kind. I had a tote bag for my snacks and my laptop, as well as a purse.
Disappointing. The company’s website does say that Megabus “will make a reasonable effort to make Wi-Fi services available free of charge to every passenger.” It also lets you know that, if the service is not working, you will not get a refund. Unfortunately, the Wi-Fi didn’t work during the entire trip.
Because many of the Megabus reviews said to expect as much, I downloaded the information I needed for work before I left on the trip. When I wanted to go online, I used my phone as a hot spot. Thankfully, my carrier doesn’t charge for that, and I used it for only a short period of time.
I asked a few other passengers whether they had any luck with the Wi-Fi, and every person I spoke with said it had never worked on any of the trips they had taken with Megabus. So be sure to download anything you need before you leave home if you plan to watch a movie or do work along the way.
I am thrilled to report I never had to use the bathroom on the bus. We stopped midway, about three hours into our trip at a truck stop for a 30-minute break. Passengers could get food and drinks, have a smoke, and use the restrooms.
If you don’t use headphones to listen to music, make sure to bring earplugs. On the trip home I sat among a group of talkative college students. They had a great time chatting with each other the entire way. I’d brought earplugs with me, so I wasn’t distracted by their conversation.
You’ll also want to put some wet wipes in your carry-on bag. You won’t regret it if you end up using the bus bathroom. And bring a snack or two with you and something to drink. (The wet wipes will come in handy with this, as well.)
When planning your trip, purchase your tickets as far in advance as you can. On the trip to Atlanta, every single seat was sold out. I booked early, so there were plenty of seats available when I bought my tickets. I was able to upgrade to a reserved seat positioned directly behind the stairs. Those seats had a lot more room than anywhere else on the bus.
You may also consider buying two seats if you don’t feel comfortable sitting next to someone. I bought two because I needed to be able to set up my laptop and work comfortably. Personally, I would have been miserable and wouldn’t have been able to work without bothering the other person if I hadn’t had both seats. Even with the purchase of a second ticket, my trip cost only $70.50 round trip. The cheapest plane ticket would’ve set me back by $261. How’s that for mega saving?
Another pro tip? You can use sites like Groupon to snag travel deals and save even more money.