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!