Traveling back home for holidays can be quite a hassle when you go to school out of state. When you don't have a car or live extremely far away, travel can become tricky and expensive. A plane ride is often the best choice for some people because of the speed, but they can really break the bank - especially around the holidays. A train is another option, but those tickets can also get a bit pricey. A bus ride seems to be a happy medium.
Two popular bus companies are Greyhound and Megabus. I have used both to travel home and back, and while they ultimately aren't too different, there are some subtle differences that may help you decide which you want to go with.
Prices fluctuate and differ depending on dates and distances, but overall you can get a better deal from Megabus. They boast trips for as low as $1, but I have not seen this myself. You get cheaper rates the earlier in advance you buy your ticket, but even if you wait, they are very affordable. Average prices are $5-$10 on a normal day. During busy times however, prices shoot up and can get fairly high. I took Megabus home for fall break and paid $10 one way and $50 the other way. I did get $10 off though from a student coupon code. Looking to take the bus for Thanksgiving however, ticket prices were close to $100, so I looked elsewhere. Greyhound, surprisingly, was fairly cheaper for the holiday. I paid around $40 for each way, totaling $88. This price is about average for most of the year for Greyhound, so if you want to travel during the holidays, Greyhound may be your best bet. You can get a lot better of a deal through Megabus though if you purchase your tickets ahead of time and during less busy travel times.
Thankfully, I have not had to have much interaction with customer service, as my trips have gone smoothly. I can however comment on the service I have received from my drivers. The drivers I have had through both companies have been extremely friendly and efficient. They make sure everyone is on the bus before they leave a rest stop, and they answer everyone's questions, drive safely, and arrive on time.
Through both Greyhound and Megabus, you are allowed one carry-on and one piece of luggage to be stored under the bus. Additional luggage is allowed, but only for an additional fee. Greyhound is much more controlling of their luggage. With Megabus, I simply handed my suitcase to an employee and it was put under the bus with no questions. Through Greyhound, however, my bag was weighed and given a luggage tag.
Both bus companies are nearly identical when it comes to bus features. The only difference I noticed was that the Megabus was a double decker, and the Greyhound was not. Both buses had outlets at each seat, which was a lifesaver when your sole source of entertainment is your phone or laptop. They both have a bathroom, which I did not use, so I cannot comment on the state of them. Each bus company also claims to have Wi-Fi on their buses, but neither of them worked for me at all. Legroom is about equal, and even the seat designs are very similar. Overall, the buses have no drastic differences.
Both Megabus and Greyhound are very similar. I have had overall positive experiences with each company, and cannot speak bad about either. I personally like Megabus more, but that's only because I can get cheaper tickets through them. In making your own decision, I suggest visiting their websites and reviews from other customers in order to make your best informed decision.