Tag: transportation

Greyhound Bus Travel Tips!

Professional bus driver at steering wheel. Passenger transportation

Welcome aboard the bus!

Greyhound Bus Travel Tips

Time for more transportation tips: specifically Greyhound bus travel tips! A quick note to start off: this is not sponsored by Greyhound. More and more people are traveling domestically due to recent events impacting the economy, foreign government restrictions, and global health issues. I expect bus travel to become more popular in this environment. Greyhound is the most common and well-known bus operator, and there are ways of making sure you have a better experience traveling with them. Greyhound Bus can be a very cost-effective method of ground travel. (Note: this post is NOT sponsored by Greyhound.) As air travel security and health measures become more of a hassle, bus travel has become a more attractive option lately. If you’re not traveling too far it can be a more efficient and comfortable way to travel than air travel. And that’s not to mention much cheaper than air or train travel! So I’ll go over my top tips now. While I’m focusing on Greyhound, many of these tips will be applicable to other bus lines too.

Torontoservedbygreyhound

Toronto, Canada: Served by Greyhound

Greyhound Travel in USA, Canada, and Mexico!

Sure, it’s disappointing when you can’t travel the world for whatever reason, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t an abundance of interesting things to see in your back yard, wherever that back yard is. Greyhound now services the USA, Canada, and Mexico, so you have an endless number of options! At this time destinations are more limited in Canada and Mexico, but hopefully more will continue to be added. Be sure to check on current entry requirements to visit any foreign country, and be prepared so you’re not turned away at the border.

greyhoundbustravelwebsite

Greyhound Bus Website

Buying Your Ticket Early and Seat Selection

Buy your ticket as EARLY as possible. For some stations you’ll receive a boarding number on your ticket, and boarding will be permitted in order based on your number. Lower numbers, or those sold further in advance, will receive boarding priority – and have a chance to score a better choice of seat. Not all stations do this, but it’s worth a shot in case you get one that does.

bustraveltipsstation

Waiting at the bus station

Save Money on your Bus Ticket!

Prices are lower if you can book 3 weeks in advance, when you can save a quarter or even more off the full price of the ticket. If you can’t, then it may help to at least book 2 weeks in advance, which is still better than last-minute. Whatever you do, don’t wait until you get to the station. Book your trip mid-week if possible. Prices are lower if you can hop on on hump day! Note that discounts are available if you are a member of Student Advantage or Veteran Advantage; go to “Discount Options” when making your reservation to choose this discount. Finally, do a search for promo codes – there’s a good chance you can score an additional discount that way. You will have a chance to enter the code before submitting payment. REMEMBER: There is a surcharge to “gift” a ticket to someone else. If at all possible, the traveler should be the one to pay for the ticket on their own credit or debit card, rather than someone else buying it for them!

Screen Shot 2019-02-17 at 1.23.45 PM

I used this 25% off code – and it worked

When to Arrive at the Bus Station

Give yourself plenty of time to check in and find your bus; it will mean a less stressful trip for you if you’re not hustling. And those that arrive first, can line up and board first, if the station does not board by ticket number (as described above.) Your bus may already have seated passengers on it if your station is a stop along another route, making this even more important if you want a good choice of seats.

luggage

Let’s go!

Luggage Tips

Note that you are allowed 2 pieces of luggage at no additional charge: one checked bag up to 50 pounds and one carry-on that will fit in the overhead compartment. (Avoid placing fragile items in the checked bag – disturbance of bags due to potholes and bumps is not unlikely!) Be careful about leaving carry-on luggage on the bus when you disembark on breaks, and keep your eye on your bags in the stations. Don’t create a temptation for thieves! Instructions for claiming luggage at different stations varies – listen to the driver for directions each time you disembark. Place an identifiable marker on your luggage, such as a brightly colored tag, to help distinguish it from other suitcases that may be identical or similar in brand and color.

Group of Young People Boarding on Travel Bus

Travelers Boarding the Bus

Ticket Management Tips

You will be able to print out a ticket or pick it up at will-call at the station, or have a digital ticket sent to your mobile device. Keep your ticket through the entire trip – you may need it to change buses and collect your luggage en route and at your destination.

Bus Travel Comfort

If you need an outlet for your electronic devices, try to get a seat towards the front; not all seats have outlets. Free wi-fi is available on the bus. Keep in mind it may not work 100% of the time. Travel pillows and blankets can be a welcome comfort on overnight trips – both on the bus and during long station transfers. Make sure you set an alarm on your cellphone to wake yourself up before your next stop – just in case! Finally, try to limit your restroom breaks to the bus stations if possible. You will find them cleaner and more pleasant to use. And don’t forget to pack some snacks! Whatever you bring will probably be cheaper than anything you can find at the rest stops and bus stations.

Greyhoundbustravel

Greyhound Bus

Bus Travel Safety Tips

It’s safer to sleep on the bus than in the stations. People are less likely to give you any trouble with the bus driver and other passengers so nearby. You may be more isolated in the station, particularly at night. That said, having a seat closer to the front will keep you closer to the driver for added safety. Keep your purse, cellphone, and wallet in a safe place. You don’t want to have a phone loosely in your hand and inadvertently fall asleep on the bus, or be walking around the station with a wallet in your back pocket. Keep your guard up and protect your valuables. If you really want to be on the safe side, invest in a money belt to store these in. I recommend this belt for your money/wallet, phone, and identifying documents… It includes RFID protection, so people can’t scan your card numbers: RFID Money Belt on Amazon.

exerciseduringbusbreaks

Bus Break Yoga!

Stay Healthy on the Bus!

The most important of my Greyhound bus travel tips may be to be conscious of your health. Remember to wash your hands frequently and carry hand sanitizer. Avoid touching your face. Window seats are the best for minimizing contact from any potentially infected people, since you’ll be keeping your distance from people traversing the aisle and standing in the aisle managing their carry-ons. It’s also a good idea to carry along a small first-aid kit. You can pick up a good travel kit here: Travel First Aid Kit on Amazon. If you buy a pre-assembled kit, you’ll want to take an inventory before your trip to see if there’s any additional medicines or products you’d like to add. I always like to make sure I have some headache and antihistamine tablets. Also, make sure you get up and get some exercise during breaks!

Greyhoundroadrewards

Greyhound Road Rewards

Join Road Rewards

Join Road Rewards on the greyhound.com website. It’s free to join, and you can earn rewards like: 15% off your ticket, companion pass for a friend, and 10% off food at greyhound stations.

greyhoundbustravelapp

Greyhound App

Download the App

With the Greyhound app you can have easy access to your trip information, station location, and track your bus (and transfer bus) locations. And if your bus is running late and you may miss your transfer, you can find out when the next one is and make a bolt for the ticket window at the station to reserve a seat on that next bus before it fills up, potentially minimizing transfer time. Other customers may be clamoring to make the same alternate arrangements as you, in which case that next bus might fill up fast!

More Travel Tips

I hope these Greyhound bus travel tips have been helpful for those traveling by ground on a budget! When it comes to traveling on a budget by land, road trips and buses are by far your best options.

Need a money belt to protect your valuables? You can get one here:

RFID Money Belt

And for a travel first aid kit, you can head here:

Travel first aid kit

View more travel tips, tours of destinations, and hotel tours and reviews on my YouTube channel here!:

Ultimate Travel Adventures YouTube Channel

And check out my blog post on saving money on travel!:

How to travel MORE for LESS: Build Your Budget Travel Game Plan!

Landing a Great Airline Seat for Takeoff! How to Get the Best Seats for your Flight

airplane

Airplanes awaiting takeoff at Reagan National Airport

Your seat assignment can make or break your flight every time, and the longer your flight the even more important it becomes to score the best seat possible. You may be wondering how to secure the best seats for your flight. I wanted to share some tips on recognizing a better seat, and to give some information on how some of the different major airlines work with regards to seat assignment, to help you in this quest! Nobody wants to get their travel experience off to a bad start before it even begins due to a loathsome seat assignment!

Consider pitch and width.

Pitch and width are the formulas that will help you determine which seats provide you with more space. Pitch refers to how far away the seats in front of you and behind you are, indicating legroom. Width indicates how much room you will have in the chair. This can differ from class to class, airline to airline, and airplane model to airplane model. It is also important to remember that some seats recline while others don’t.

Not all aircraft are created equal.

Different aircraft have different seat configurations. Visit seatguru.com to view detailed information about the seats on any plane. Enter the airline, date, and flight number and you will be advised on the pitch and width of each type of seat and the layout with which they are installed on the aircraft on a complete map showing where the exit and bulkhead seats are, how many seats are in each section of the cabin, and how many seats across there are in each row.

Not all airlines are created equal.

Airlines differ in a couple of ways when it comes to what kind of seat you can expect to get. The first involves which actual seat models the airline uses on their aircraft. For example, you can expect seats with 28 inches of pitch that do not recline on Spirit Airlines. The aforementioned resource, seatguru.com, can advise you on the seat pitch and width for each type of seat, and whether or not they recline, before you book the plane you are considering.

The second way the airlines differ is in their policy on how seats are assigned. My preference, and I contend it is the best way to assure yourself the best seat, is to book with airlines that allow you to reserve a specific seat at the time of booking at no additional cost. This has consistently been my experience on Delta and United, even when buying economy tickets. JetBlue also allows advance seat reservations. American, on the other hand, assigns the seats in economy coach; you do have the option when checking in (up to 24 hours in advance) to reserve a specific open seat, however, expect in most cases to be charged to do so. Southwest has a completely different policy – basically a free-for-all when you board. No coach seats are assigned and are first-come, first-served when boarding the plane. Your best bet if you fly Southwest is to check in 24 hours in advance (the earliest you’re allowed to!) so that you are assigned an early group number… and then hustle when that group number is called! Group numbers determine who boards the plane first, and those first to check in are placed in the early groups. NOTE: early check-in, with any airline, is always a good idea since the airline may begin giving upgrades to certain members of their loyalty program – making fewer good seats available to everyone else… at this time. It’s another good reason to reserve a specific seat at booking if you can!

Of course if you are flying first class, business class, or as a high-level member of an airline’s loyalty program you will receive priority. These guidelines apply to coach travelers, and, in particular, economy coach travelers.

Book a premium seat.

Some airlines, like JetBlue and United, offer seats with greater leg or chair room for a greater cost (JetBlue’s “Even More Space” seats and, for United, “Economy Plus Seating”). Different airlines will refer to these seats by different names; keep an eye out for a reference to greater seating space, particularly if you notice certain seats that come at a higher price point. And for even greater comfort, you can consider business and first class seats, where there are always fewer seats per row, much more legroom, and far wider chairs. Of course, you can expect these to come at an even higher price point. If you need even more space, some airlines will also allow you to book more than one adjoining seat.

Arrive on time.

You don’t want to go to the trouble (and/or expense!) to reserve a specific seat just to see it given away to a standby passenger because you arrived late for boarding! Try to arrive a half hour before your flight is scheduled to leave, when the boarding process usually begins… or as close to that time as possible.

Consider placement of seats on the plane.

Of course window and aisle seats are more popular unless you are traveling with a companion you want to sit beside in a middle seat. But there are other considerations. Seats near the wings are notoriously less turbulent than those further away from the wings, if that is important to you. If you have a connecting flight, choosing one closer to the front of the plane, so you can disembark more quickly, could prove extremely helpful.

“Bulkhead” seats or seats in the first row of the section, with no seats directly in front of them, can offer greater legroom but no personal item storage (expect to place it in the overhead bin). This may be an advantage or disadvantage to you depending on your priorities. And exit row seats have more legroom, but children are not eligible to sit in these rows, and you will need to adhere to the responsibilities of the exit row passengers as outlined by your flight attendant during safety instruction. Also, the exit rows may have a greater shortage of room in the overhead bin due to the storage of safety equipment.

Confirm your seat assignment before check-in.

If you made a seat reservation ahead of time, double check to make sure your assignment hasn’t been changed. In some cases the airplane scheduled for your flight may be changed to a different aircraft, causing seat reservations to be re-assigned unexpectedly.

Other considerations.

Consider congestion factors on the aircraft, such as the seats near the lavatories potentially being high-traffic zones. Also consider that seats closer to the door may be cooler if the weather outside is cold. And if you want to be served earlier during food and beverage service, flight attendants often (but not always!) start in the front and work their way back, especially on smaller planes (on larger planes more attendants may be serving and start from both front and back.)

If you want easier access to the restrooms you may want to go for the aisle – and, conversely, if you want to avoid having to get up and move for others in your row getting up, then the window may be better.

If you need access to your carry-on in the overhead bin during the flight, the aisle will be most convenient. The wall of the window seat can serve as a makeshift headrest, but the aisle seat can give you more opportunities to stretch out when people aren’t using the aisle. Finally, you can expect the back row of seats won’t recline, but you won’t have to worry about unruly passengers kicking your seat!

What about the “dreaded” middle seat?

Often the least coveted seat, the middle, does have a couple of advantages too! These include better access to the personal light and environmental controls, and often easier access to an outlet. It also will be easier to snag a middle seat in the front of the plane or an exit row if that’s where you want to be for other reasons. And if you’re a social butterfly, you’ve got the potential to make two new friends (or, on the flip side, enemies!)

If all else fails, ask again at the gate.

If you couldn’t get the kind of seat you wanted, assuming seats are assigned on your airline, try asking again at the gate. Loyalty program members may have been upgraded and their original seat assignments abandoned. This can translate into new, great seats becoming available at the last minute. Note that some airlines may refuse to accommodate this request if you are flying with an economy fare ticket.

I hope these tips will help you get the best airplane seat possible for your next flight! There are a lot of different factors to consider!