The US is presumably one of the most noteworthy countries when it comes to travelling. It is picturesque, it is interesting, it is full of incredible things to do, and – what is important – it can be cheap. The following series of blogs aims at one question – how to travel every month with only the Fellow’s stipend in your hands? Based on my experience, it is more than possible – taken into account some budget tips.
One of them – how to find an accommodation (part 2).
The first part is at https://bit.ly/2ELQz4L
- Overnight buses
Well, whether it is good or bad, but the United States are huge. The road from one city to another may take the whole day which is definitely a waste of time. So, sleeping in the bus can save a lot of time and money – sometimes a way more than taking a flight. The only thing that matters is comfort; while some folks can flake out immediately, others will find challenging just to take a short nap. For those who find it hard – keep in mind following things.
Earplugs, headphones, eye masks are things that always should be on a trip. There is a number of psychological and physical techniques that make sleeping easier; for instance, using a white noise in your earphones, «eye rolling» technique, etc. Usually the major problem is a position – sometimes search for a good sleeping position can turn the whole night into some sort of Bus Kamasutra. It differs for everyone whether to feel comfortable on an aisle or window seat; so once you know what is better for you – check buses with guaranteed seats – like MegaBus (seat selection cost $1-5). For all the other buses, including the most expensive ones – like TripperBus, WashingtonDeluxe – it is better to come at least 40 minutes in advance to make sure you have an aisle or window seat.
Importantly – never take front seats for overnight buses. There is nothing to see outside anyway, but since there is no space to stretch out, your travel will be cheerless and painful. Finally – I am not a big fan of a neck pillow since it is always an extra load (except blow-up neck pillow). Instead, the pillow can always be made out of improvised stuff from your backpack.
Finally – when you have trip lasting more than 4 hours, you should check whether it has reboarding. For instance, if you use Greyhound from Boston to DC, from DC to Toledo, or from Richmond to Nashville, you probably will have one-two hours stops at NY, Pittsburgh and Charlottesville respectively. During the daytime it is a good way to walk around a new city, but in the night it will not contribute to the good uninterrupted sleep.
Why it is good: save time, relatively safe
Why it is bad: uncomfortable; no guarantee you fall asleep
- Sleeping in the car
If you are renting a car, it sounds reasonable to save some cash with sleeping in the vehicle. Well, in fact, it is not much better that sleeping in the bus. Especially with Compact or Economy cars, the comfort would not be drastically different from Greyhound or Megabus, and (in a case you are travelling solo) you are not saving any time.
Apart from comfort, there are also three issues that make overnight buses better than car.
First. If your engine is not on all the time (which in some cases might be dangerous), it can be freezing even during the summertime (especially in the Midwest, Mountain West and New England).
Second. The majority of states have certain laws preventing you from car nap. In certain states, it is legal to stay at rest areas along highways (however, sometimes these areas are in the middle of nowhere, which is not good in terms of safety). The general practice shows that the chance of being arrested is very small; in the common scenario you will be asked to move along. In reality, saying that you do not want to drive drowsy and need a 10-minutes nap usually works.
Last but not the least – security. Of course, it varies from state to state – for instance, car nap in places like Raleigh, Portsmouth or Jackson would be much safer than in Chicago, St Paul or some parts of Philly. But, in general, it is better to find a safer place. The best choice is 24-hrs businesses like Walmart that are usually fine with car nap. In other cases, it might be a good-looking residential area with lots of other cars parked nearby.
PS – if you finally make up your mind to sleep in the car – be sure that there is an appropriate ventilation. As I mentioned, engine on might be dangerous. It is not much about comfort, it is about life threat.
Why it is good: since you are already paying for rental, you can turn your car into your own private hotel
Why it is bad: uncomfortable; not very safe; might be freezing
TO BE CONTINUED