MegaBus: Cheaper than Driving

Here at How to Travel for Free, we’re all about traveling for free or as close to it as possible, as much of the time as possible. When you’re going on relatively short road trips, most of us (myself included) just hop in the car. But recently I discovered the MegaBus, and it was a great find!

I was going to San Antonio overnight for a work-related event, which is about an hour and twenty minute drive from my house. As I said, normally I would just jump in my car and drive—but I found out that overnight parking at the hotel I was being put up in was $26 (and not covered by the client). With sky-high gas prices, I did a quick calculation and started looking up trains and buses for the short trip.

That’s when I found MegaBus. They don’t go nearly everywhere, like Greyhound does; here in Texas, their main routes are between Austin, Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio. But the great thing about them is they offer express, non-stop service. The cost of the fare when I looked it up the day before my trip, from Austin to San Antonio? $3 each way.

Yep, you read that right. $3.

I quickly did the math: gas alone to drive my own car the 82 miles (each way) would cost at least $23, not to mention wear-and-tear on my car. Using the IRS method of car travel costs of 50 cents per mile, driving would cost me $108 (including the parking). Versus $7 on the MegaBus (including the $1 online booking fee). It was a no-brainer.

Also, the total trip time was only one hour and 40 minutes—just slightly longer than my own estimated driving time, and I hate driving anyway. A bus (or train) allows me to sit back and read, work or play on my laptop, etc.

Click for the mobile app!

The MegaBus had a convenient pick-up location in Central Austin, and when it pulled up it was a very clean, very nice double-decker bus. Seats were comfortable, there were A/C plugs at each one (I charged my mobile phone) and free Wi-Fi. The drop-off location in downtown San Antonio was only blocks from my hotel.

I would highly recommend that travelers looking to save money—and the environment, as any time we take public transportation such as buses and trains it is much better environmentally—take a look at MegaBus. It’s basically like Southwest Airlines for the road; and I’ve heard that if you book further in advance, fares are as low as $1. Travel on!


About Shelley Seale

Shelley is a wanderer and student of the world, yoga chick, voracious reader and dog lover. She pounds the keyboard as a freelance writer, author and publication designer, based in Austin, Texas when she isn't traipsing around the globe. Shelley has written for National Geographic, USA Today, The Guardian, The Week, Fodor's, The Telegraph and Texas Monthly, among others. Shelley has performed a catch on the flying trapeze, boarded down a live volcano, and was once robbed by a monkey in India. But she doesn’t know how to whistle.
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5 Responses to MegaBus: Cheaper than Driving

  1. We have MegaBus here in Canada too, Shelley, and it’s a great deal. There are some times that you can go from Toronto to Montreal (or vice versa) for less than $10. We’re going to be doing a Montreal trip from Kingston soon, so I’ll definitely be checking out the MegaBus for that.


  2. Sandy Seale says:

    I’m planning to look into it for my next trip to Austin/San Antonio. Much more pleasant than dealing with traffic, weather, not to mention the cost of driving. What can be more enjoyable than sitting back reading, watching the scenery, & letting someone else do the driving. And doing our part to help lessen our negative effect on the environment. Kudos to you for putting us on to this great form of transportation.


  3. rogeratcacp says:

    Thank you Shelley for the shout out on Megabus. is a supporter of Clean Air-Cool Planet. Can you help spread the word today?

    On Wednesday November 28:

    Follow Megabus on Twitter, and Megabus donates $1 to Clean Air-Cool Planet!

    Friend Megabus on Facebook and Megabus donates another $1!

    For every new Megabus follower and friend on November 28, you and your friends and family will support Clean Air-Cool Planet. Two clicks, two dollars for Clean Air-Cool Plant, two thumbs-up for you and Mother Nature!

    Be a part of the solution!

    If you, or college students you know, are planning a trip home over the holidays, consider carpooling or choosing rail or bus. Every gallon of gas creates about 20 lbs of CO2 – that’s like 10 small bags of charcoal briquettes for every fill-up! is Green Coach transportation certified and recognized by the EPA for Green Coach Clean Engine Technology.

    Remember, on November 28 only every new follower on Twitter and every new Friend on Facebook means support for Clean Air-Cool Planet programs!

    Thank you!


  4. Thanks for sharing your info. I truly appreciate your efforts
    and I am waiting for your further write ups thank you once again.


  5. It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I’d definitely donate to this outstanding blog! I suppose for now i’ll settle for bookmarking
    and adding your RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to fresh updates and will share this site with my Facebook group.

    Talk soon!


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