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.
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!