Over the years I have put many miles on my personal vehicle to cover travel. Although I have had the privilege of using airlines and cruise ships, one method of travel I have yet to experience is bus travel. In my recent #BayouTravel post, I mentioned travel alternatives like Bus Travel. I listed Pro’s and Con’s but did not mention various my recent bus experience. Today I’m sharing my recent adventure aboard Megabus.
Megabus is a low-cost express bus service that travels throughout the U.S, Canada and the U.K which offers customers the opportunity to purchase tickets as low as $1! No, not a typo, ONE Dollar. In 2012, Megabus launched servicing the New Orleans area and offered the opportunity to visit places like Houston, Atlanta, Orlando and more for a fraction of the cost. I waited for the right time to “jump aboard” with $1 tickets, complimentary wi-fi, at seat receptacles, and comfortable seating, it was hard to pass up.
Megabus reviews are hit or miss. I have heard (via social media) stories of bus breakdowns, rude drivers, being 2 hours late and then stories of buses leaving early and don’t forget stories regarding the clientele. For my recent Orlando trip I decided to use Orlando and form my own opinion regarding Megabus.
I purchased my bus ticket several months in advance. The Megabus calendar opens up several weeks at a time. When the new calendar is release, tickets are extremely affordable. Yes, I purchased a $1 ticket from New Orleans TO Orlando. When you book your bus ticket you are offered various departure times. I chose the 11:59p.m departure which gave me an additional day to work at my FT job and the option to travel while I slept. This is a huge advantage for me since my Orlando trip requires me to travel alone.
I wanted to receive prime seating (limited reserved seating is now available through Megabus) so I arrived over an hour prior to my departure time. Once I entered the bus I looked around for the best seating available. I instantly chose the 4 person table seating. As you can see by the picture above, a table is perfect for handicap ticket holder, laptops, books, and has 4 cup holders for your beverages. This gave me additional room for my carry-on below. Keep in mind that handicapped ticket holders have the option of sitting there first. As you can see by the picture below, overhead lighting, electrical outlets and a/c vents are also available as stated on their website. Notice the seating: Considering you are traveling by bus, it was fairly comfortable. The seats are somewhat narrower than a personal vehicle but also reclined up and down for your convenience.
I noticed several key elements while traveling recently aboard Megabus. We had 2 bus drivers which alternated at each bus stop. Each of our bus drivers were very friendly and professional. The bus itself was well-maintained and clean! Megabus offers a bathroom in every bus. Like many public bathrooms, I would use that option for last resort.
We traveled from New Orleans ~~> Mobile, Alabama ~~> Tallahassee ~~> Gainesville ~~> Orlando and took 2 additional 20 minute rest breaks at a Loves Travel Stop which offered clean bathroom facilities, an Arby’s and various food options within the gas station. We were on time or within 5-10 minutes for each arrival including my final destination.
Almost every stop (with the exception of New Orleans and Orlando) had Megabus pickup passengers at a dedicated Megabus/local transit stop. New Orleans and Orlando offered a large parking lot for arrivals and departures.
I felt safe throughout the entire trip. The New Orleans temporary bus stop is not in the safest area but (like Orlando) Megabus had 4 employees who helped direct you to the right line and monitored the area. Also, the New Orleans parking lot which is used as a temporary stop is well-lit and located adjacent to a large Walgreens. The Walgreens does offer security and perfect for picking up reading material and snacks prior to your departure.
Again, I paid $1 for New Orleans to Orlando and $30 for Orlando to New Orleans plus a $1.50 Megabus booking fee. For $32.50, my Megabus experience was a good value! My arrived on time, safely to Orlando. Listed below are some additional tips I have for your upcoming Megabus experience.
Megabus Travel Tips and Booking Tricks
In order to receive a $1 ticket, you will need to purchase your ticket in advance – $1 tickets are limited and once they sell-out prices will rise. You can find $3 and $5 tickets as well.
When booking your ticket, please consider travel time and the day of the week you depart- Sundays are popular travel days so expect price increases compared to traveling on a Wednesday.
Bring a blanket and snacks! The bus temperature is automated so bring a blanket to beat the chill.
Consider arrival time when booking transportation from your final destination- If you are due to arrive at 1p.m do not book your next stop, meeting or taxi for 1p.m There are chances for late arrivals. If you book a connecting bus and your arrival is behind schedule, there is a good chance you will be late for your connecting bus.
Dress comfortable – I wore a light sweater and comfortable clothes/shoes to travel. The more comfortable you are before you travel, the better ride you will have.
Check the luggage policy – Please check the luggage policy. Megabus drivers and attendants adhere to the luggage policy. There is limited space within the bus for carry-ons and suitcases within the bus. You are allowed to bring one suitcase and one carry-on due to space. I shipped some of my large Disney souvenirs home prior to leaving the hotel due to luggage restrictions.
Tickets for children – Depending on your child, you will need to purchase a ticket. I saw several small children in various car seats which require a ticket. If you have a child, please consider purchasing a ticket regardless of age. They will need a seat for themselves and/or a car seat.
Tickets available online only – Currently there are no ticket booths or call centers to purchase tickets. You will need computer access and a debit/credit card to purchase a Megabus ticket. You will also NEED your ticket reservation number, so be sure to print and save your ticket when departing or returning home.
Be an early bird! – Arrive to your each departure area early. Your ticket will state be there 30 minutes in advance, but seating is limited and the buses are booked to full capacity. In order to receive prime seating you will need to arrive early. I prefer 1st level seating but some may prefer 2nd level seating. Everyone has their own preferences.
Once you arrive to your destination, how will pick you up? Once you arrive to your desired city, keep in mind you will need someone to pick you up at your desired destination. If you do not have friends or family in the area, consider a taxi ($$$), hotel shuttle or public transit. When I arrived in Orlando, I could have taken the Lynx for $2.00 to Downtown Disney. Then take the Downtown Disney bus to your Disney Resort. The Lynx terminal is 2 block from the Megabus temporary bus stop and you will need exact cash.
Hope this helps!
Have you experienced Megabus? Is Megabus in your area?