November 20, 2017

Would You Take Your Kids on Vacation by Bus?

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Okay, this might seem like a strange question, but would you take your kids on the bus? I don’t mean on the cross-town bus through your town, but on a coach bus from say Washington, DC to New York. I guess I’d never really thought about it before (mostly because I never really thought of myself as a “bus” person), but what do you think?

I’m at the Macaroni Kid Family Travel Expo & Blogger Conference today in New York, and yes, I took the bus to get here. I rode up on the BoltBus from DC yesterday morning, and it was actually a pretty good experience. The bus was clean, there was free wi-fi and I didn’t have to sit next to anyone crazy. Plus, from what I understand, there was a clean bathroom on the bus.

The last time I rode on a coach bus was 12 or 13 years ago when I took the bus up to New York to visit a friend staying in a completely posh corporate apartment for the summer. Back then, my only option was the Greyound bus, and the bus station was every bit as shady as I expected. Today there are many more, dare I say, “luxurious” options when it comes to bus travel. I was pretty impressed.

While I didn’t see any kids or families on the 8:30 a.m. bus from DC to New York on a Sunday, it also wasn’t an optimal time to be traveling four hours by bus for sightseeing. I imagine most people would probably leave on Saturday morning to get more time in the city.

Oh, and I forgot to mention the best part. It was only $39 round-trip. I was originally thinking about flying until I saw it was $250+ for a round-trip ticket. Then I would have had to take a taxi into the city. The bus dropped me off about six blocks from my hotel, which was perfect.

My only complaint was that this guy across the aisle had his music up so loud that it was as if I was wearing his ear buds. Worse, I forgot my ear buds at home so I had to pay $11.99 for a new pair at the Chesapeake House rest stop. Blurgh. Stupid mistake on my part since I know how much I hate miscellaneous noises.

So, anyway, have you ever taken your kids on a family vacation by bus? How was your experience? Any do’s or don’ts you can suggest? Just leave me your thoughts in the comments below. Thanks!

Photo Credit: kenudigit

Comments

  1. This is great information for families who want to travel via bus. I haven’t traveled by bus with my family. It could be an adventure of a lifetime if everyone has an open mind.

    Traveling via bus is a great way to see the U.S. and leave the driving to someone else. It’s important to bring snacks and toys for the kids — keep them comfortable. I’m not sure if I’d travel with toddlers or even a baby for that matter. Parents may want to wait until their children are a bit older.

    In general, I believe travel, no matter what form of transportation is a good experience for the entire family. Travel with an open mind and patience and you’ll enjoy a nice family vacation.

    • Erin Gifford says:

      Hi Amandah — Thanks for the comment. I may go back to NYC over the summer and may take one or two of my kids, so we’ll see. It’s so cheap, and it really wasn’t a bad experience. I think they’ll find it fun too.

      Erin 🙂

  2. Our family of five took this exact trip last month, and it was WAY more enjoyable than I’d feared. Comfy seats, not completely packed, and a perfectly placed rest stop half way made it an easy trip. I would have liked to take the train, and I think the cost is comparable if you book in advance, but I’m not that organized. Of course, if you book way in advance, you could get in on those $1 Bolt Bus tickets. It won’t get cheaper than that.
    Union Station in D.C. was actually a lot nicer than I’d been warned too. The bus station part anyways. It’s still pretty scary out there at night.

    • Erin Gifford says:

      Haha…”more enjoyable than I’d feared.” Yeah, it wasn’t bad. I like how you can catch the BoltBus in the parking lot inside Union Station too so I felt very safe. It used to be you’d have to catch a Greyhound Bus *behind* Union Station down the street. Talk about scary. The train is nice, and not too crazy expensive, but nothing compared to the affordability of the BoltBus. I’m going to have to look out for those $1 fares now too!

      Erin 🙂

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