The Ultimate Guide To Your Holiday Megabus Experience

The Ultimate Guide To Your Holiday Megabus Experience

It wasn't as bad as I thought!
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It's almost time for the holidays which means its almost time for travel! As a college student, I know how important it is to find cheap travel. I’ve been lucky enough to live two hours away from my hometown. However, I have a lot of families that live pretty far and I can’t really afford to fly or take the train. Luckily there are cheaper options out there! Coach buses!

Some coach buses can cost an arm and a leg, but recently I decided to try one of the cheaper coach bus options out there: Megabus. Megabus is notorious for obnoxious passengers, rude drivers, awful delays, and poor customer service, but I decided to take it to see my significant other in Memphis anyway because the tickets were so cheap. Am I crazy, you ask? No, I just appreciate adventure.

The first thing to keep in mind is how you pack your bags. Megabus requires that your bag is under 55 pounds. They state that they will not accept bags over this poundage. My personal advice is to weigh your bag once it’s packed. I used a personal scale which gave a semi-accurate weight. It won't be completely accurate since personal scales weigh people, but it'll give you a ballpark number. Neither of my trips involved the driver weighing the bags, so it might not be an issue if you're over a pound, but it's better to be safe.

Megabus also allows one small carry on. This rule is kind of lose because I've seen people bring large backpacks, a backpack and a purse, a backpack, purse, pillow, and blanket. Really it's up to the driver what is allowed on the bus and most drivers just want to get on the road and won't bother to nitpick.

The next important thing is your reservation number. After you purchase your tickets, Megabus customer service will email you your ticket reservation number which will be important for boarding. If you don't have this number, you will not get on the bus. I ran into an issue where my number was never sent because I gave the company the wrong email. However, Megabus customer service cleared it up within a day. The best way to contact customer service is via email because their phone line is usually backed up with inquiries and you will be put on hold for a while.

After you get on the bus you'll need to pick a seat. Where you sit will impact the rest of your trip because this is where you will be staying for the remainder of the ride. I was lucky to have traveled when it's not quite as packed and there are a few options to choose from and if you aren't a fan of your spot, you can look elsewhere. However, the holidays will be a busy mess and there might be slim pickings.

Ideally, you'll want either a seat in the front or the middle. While the upper level looks cool, it is technically one of the more dangerous places to be if the bus were to get in an accident. The worst seats are in the back near the bathroom mostly because of the smell and traffic but also because the seat is right over the wheel and trust me when I say you will get carsick.

A few more important things: Megabus usually takes one pitstop between destinations. Your driver will announce when these will take place and will announce when you are expected to be back on the bus.

Make sure you bring headphones and wear layers. Having headphones allows you to listen to some tunes on your journey and ignore obnoxious passengers or chatty children. The layers are great because they allow room to bring more clothing and prepare you for the varying temperatures on the bus from blasting heat to cold outside air at pit stops.

Despite the bad reviews, this transportation isn't as awful as one would think. The seats are a little uncomfortable but for what you are paying, it's quite a bargain. Megabus will also have tickets deals for one dollar. They sell out fast but if you follow their social media pages, you can get alerts on the deals. I hope this article was informative. Safe travels!

Cover Image Credit: @megabus

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12 Struggles Only Portuguese Girls Can Relate To

It's like "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" but Portuguese edition.
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As mentioned before in my "8 Ways You Know You're Portuguese" article, I'm 100% European Portuguese. Which means that if you're reading this, you're probably somehow related to me (see #5). You know these 12 things to be true if you grew up in a Portuguese household:

1. You're pressured to marry a Pork Chop.

A Pork Chop is a Portuguese person. The older generation feels that this term is derogatory, but Portuguese Americans self identify as 'Pork Chops.' Some families will probably disown you if you don't marry a Portuguese guy, but I lucked out and my family is pretty open minded. Let me put it this way, if you're not married by the time you're 28, your grandma and your mother are going to take you to the Portuguese club to find a nice Pork Chop to settle down with. You may not be forced into a Portuguese marriage, but it's highly preferred that you marry within the culture.

2. You're always too fat, even if you're skinny.

Portuguese people are a feminist's worst nightmare. They will body shame the hell out of you and feel no remorse. You could lose 20 pounds and look/feel amazing and a Portuguese person will still say "well, you could stand to lose a few more pounds."

3. You must remember your Portuguese classes that you took when you were five years old.

It is a crime against humanity to a Portuguese person if you don't at least understand the language. If you can speak it, read it, and understand it, you've automatically earned yourself the "golden child" title. Every time I move to a different state, my Grandma's only warning is "don't forget your Portuguese," because someone's got to carry on the culture.

4. Am I white? Mixed? Hispanic? Unclear.

I grew up thinking I was some kind of Latina just because the Portuguese language is so similar to Spanish. You probably feel comfortable in Hispanic communities because of your Portuguese background. I eventually realized that I'm white, but I still get told that I look racially ambiguous. Whenever someone asks what nationality I am, I give them three guesses. It's rare that people ever guess Portuguese, but upon finding out that I am, I suddenly become "exotic."

5. You have 55 first cousins.

This is not an exaggeration. My dad actually has 50 first cousins. I have 13, but I have way more cousins in Portugal that I've either never met, or I've met them, but wouldn't be able to pick them out of a line up. If you go to Portugal and visit all of your relatives, the faces and names start to blur together and it's safe to call every man "Joao" and every woman "Maria" or "Ana Maria" and they'll be delighted that you remembered their names.

6. You have to make sure you don't marry your own cousin.

Portugal is such a small country that if you meet a fellow Pork Chop in America, chances are, you're somehow related or your families are friends. I suggest drawing an extensive family tree before shacking up with a Pork Chop.

7. Somebody is always praying for you.

Portuguese people are devoutly Catholic, so it doesn't matter if you're temporarily down on your luck or a self made millionaire, you have a tia (an aunt) that you probably only see when someone in the family passes away, who prays on the rosary every night for you.

8. You must have a name that can be pronounced in Portuguese.

There are two criteria for naming a Portuguese baby: is it the name of a saint, and can it be pronounced in Portuguese? If your uncle twice removed that you see every six years when you go to Portugal can't say your baby's name, you need to pick a new one. Names like "Riley" and "Jackson" won't get Grandma's approval.

9. You're considered adventurous if you move out of your parents house before you're married.

It's rare that Portuguese women don't live with their mothers until they find a spouse, and even once they do get married, it's not uncommon for their mother to move in with her daughter and her (hopefully Portuguese) husband.

10. You've been given something with Our Lady of Fatima on it.

Fatima is Portugal's claim to fame. It's the city in Portugal where three kids claimed they saw the Virgin Mary in 1917 and it's now a popular, religious tourist destination. Your grandma has probably given you something with the Blessed Mary on it to put in your car or in your bedroom so that you stay '#blessed' all the time.

11. You're not allowed to be a vegetarian.

Portuguese people are fishermen and their specialty is codfish, so it's nearly impossible to maintain a vegetarian diet in a Portuguese household. You can be pescatarian though!

12. You have to warn people before you introduce them to your family.

Have you ever seen "My Big Fat Greek Wedding?" That's what it's like to bring a non-Portuguese boyfriend to a Portuguese family gathering. Good luck.

Cover Image Credit: CDMPHY / Flickr

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'Culling' The Bullsh*t; Taking A Deeper Look At The Antibiotics In The Livestock Industry

You want the truth? Here it is.

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As many people have seen around the internet, one of the hot topics is having cattle or other livestock antibiotic free. This has lead to a movement that is not only incorrect with their basic information, but they are hurting family farms across the nation. This stems from the idea that antibiotics contaminate meat products and will affect the consumer. In this article the main points that "justify" the antibiotic culture will be broken down and simplified. I hope by the end of reading this you will be more knowledgeable about this subject, and will make the best decision for you and your family.

1. "If you don't specifically buy antibiotic free meat, you will buy meat with antibiotics in it."

The FDA has control check on the processing line when livestock is processed. This means that the likelihood of any "antibiotic filled" animal to make it through is slim to none. If by chance a ranch or feedlot gets flagged by FDA, they will be fined with a bill in the thousands. This type of flag will make it difficult for that ranch to ever sell livestock in the normal market again. This is only one of the incentives for ranch owners to stay in the clear.

2. "Antibiotics are used to promote growth"

This statement is false. Antibiotics are used to treat an illness. Yes an animal might gain weight after treatment. But that is because when we are sick we tend to not eat as much. Once you start to feel better, it stirs up your hunger. Antibiotics are and have never been used to promote growth.

3. What happens to the animal on an antibiotic free farm when it gets sick.

Let's do a comparison example. If your child got sick what do you normally do? Take them to the doctor and if he prescribes a medication for them you would provide the correct amount to treat the illness. This is the same way with the livestock industry. Most antibiotics and medication in general are a prescription based. Therefore, a vet will need to sign off on the treatment of the animals. While most ranches will treat the illness and move on, antibiotic free farms need to move that animal off site to another ranch. Some of the time they have a secondary place where those treated animals go to live out their life. Not treating a sick animal is inhumane.

These are only a few of the antibiotic free lies that surround the livestock world. And I am not saying for someone to completely change their beliefs over one article, what I am saying is do your research. From both sides of the argument. Then base your final decision from what you have learned. The agriculture industry has many that oppose that will use fear-tactics to push their agenda. And although we are not a perfect industry, we are a very important part of society. And we hold high standards for ourselves because of that.

Thank you for reading,

if you have a suggestion of what I should talk about next leave a comment.

-Chrystal B.

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