Bus Travel, Canada - USA
Travel by bus made cheaper
This section will outline some great ways to save, but before the
bus passes and discounted fares are discussed, please make a promise.
You must remember that rest is the basis of activity. The professor has paid his dues—he knows the importance of
what he asks. Dr. Voyageur has travelled many times across North
America by car and by train. And, he has journeyed thousands of
miles by bus using passes and regular tickets.
You should not attempt to sleep too many nights
on coaches or trains in order to save money and time. In addition, you must
promise not to try to sleep on buses or trains more than one or
two nights in a row. If not, you will surely become one of the zombie-like
travellers who populate coach terminal benches at nearly every destination,
too tired to enjoy what they have come to experience.
You also have to promise to read Dr. Voyageur's "Greyhound pros and cons" page, which will help you decide whether or not to travel by bus in North America.
Special fares and passes
For the zombie or non-zombie-like international visitor, Greyhound
Canada and Greyhound USA (They are owned by the same Canadian company,
but operate independently) offer a variety of passes, some of which
must be purchased prior to arrival in Canada or the U.S. Note, however,
that Greyhound USA may allow international visitors to purchase
its international passes by paying a little extra at the Port Authority
Bus Terminal in New York City.
Note that all of this information is subject to change.
Dr. Voyageur will not list all of these passes here, as rates and
rules change frequently. Check out the Greyhound
Canada and Greyhound USA Internet pages
for specials on both lines and for some coach travel tips.
In the U.S., student-oriented travel cards offer small discounts
on both Amtrak and Greyhound USA tickets, but better bargains are
usually found in Internet specials. Greyhound Canada and Via Rail
Canada have student specials for those holding the International
Student Identity Card (ISIC), and these may be better deals
in an environment of fewer Internet-type specials.
You may be better off not buying a pass
Frequently, Greyhound USA offers "knock-your-socks-off" fares like its $59 Winter or $69 Summer go anywhere advance purchase
specials that are much better deals than its passes. Beware that
these may not allow you to break journey (stopover) at places along
the way. Check out the rules before you purchase.
Specials sometimes include two for one price fares. These types
of bargains, which change often, are posted on the Greyhound
USA site. Almost always, these require advance purchase.
Also, be sure to check out the low fares from points
such as El Paso on or near the Mexico - USA border that can be purchased
at any time. Study the Amtrak
site too, as it often has super Internet only specials such as a
recent $59 fare from Chicago to Los Angeles. Amtrak Internet prices apply
between and two towns on the special route. Consequently, you could
pay the same price to travel from Kansas City to Flagstaff,
also a super deal.
Passes may be a better deal for travellers in Canada. Greyhound
Canada offers both regional and nationwide passes.
Because Greyhound Canada does not operate east of Montreal, some Greyhound passes include transportation
on other lines.
Especially good deals for international visitors are Greyhound
Canada's regular and deluxe New York City to Seattle (or vice versa)
passes "Coach Pass" and "Coach Pass Plus", which
include some of the most outstanding scenery in North America. These
include transportation on other lines between New York City and
Toronto and between Vancouver and Seattle.
The deluxe version "Coach Pass Plus" includes the stunningly
Transportation route between Jasper National Park and Banff
National Park via Lake Louise, a must see for any traveller.
With this pass, you can travel by Greyhound Canada and other lines
from New York City and Toronto and onward to Jasper National Park,
take Brewster from Jasper to Banff National Park, travel Greyhound
Canada from Banff to Vancouver, and then take Greyhound USA from
Vancouver to Seattle.
"Coach Pass Plus" also allows travel in eastern Canada,
from Ottawa and Montreal to Halifax on other coach lines.
An advantage of a Greyhound Canada NYC to Seattle pass may be that
you can often obtain a cheaper international fare into (or out of)
New York City and out of (or into) the West Coast of the U.S. than
you could get to or from Canadian points. Remember that many air
fares do not require you to arrive and depart from the same place.
Thus you may wish to fly into the west coast and depart from the
east coast or vice-versa to save time. Your choice.
Check out the excellent Greyhound
Canada Internet pages for the most current information on pass
use across Canada and to or from New York City and Seattle. Note
that your pass on Brewster Transportation applies to its express
coaches, not to its tour buses that stop frequently for photos between
Banff and Jasper.
If you plan to use this pass, keep in mine that you need a visa that allows two entries into the United States.
Compare to budget airfares
Travelling by coach lets you enjoy places like the Canadian and Colorado Rockies, but there may be times you want only to reach some place quickly.
You may find some single (one-way) airfares are cheaper than Greyhound, especially when purchased in advance.
Check sites such as Westjet, Southwest, and JetBlue to compare prices.
Dr. Voyageur has a Canadian
information page with helpful links to tourist offices, etc.,
as well as a mostly U.S. one. His home page links to additional information, including
many cultural tips for international visitors.
Finding budget accommodation
while travelling on Greyhound
Finding good budget motels and hotels near coach stations in the
U.S. can be a problem. Sadly, budget motel chains in the U.S. are often located far
from coach and rail terminals. In larger cities, terminals are often in
terribly deteriorated and possibly unsafe neighbourhoods. Other
than in Vancouver, this is not a problem in Canada.
Two very helpful budget accommodation guides are Hostels
Canada and Hostels USA , as they rate the quality of the hostels,
which are often near coach terminals. The U.S. version includes
hostels in Vancouver, Victoria, Toronto, and Montreal, Canada, but
not much elsewhere in Canada.
For inexpensive hotels, try services that do not tell you where
you will stay until you pay. You pick the neighbourhood,
you pick the quality, you pick the price, but
you do not pick a specific place. This really saves money.
The two best are Hotwire.com
(no bidding) and Priceline.com Hotels (bidding).
Go To >> Greyhound - Travelling
scenic coach routes
Go To >> Greyhound - Planning
an itinerary: Using schedules
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