Timothy travels the U.S. full-time with only a small backpack and a suitcase. He spends his evenings writing and filming YouTube videos.
Everyday thousands of people travel across the United States on Greyhound buses.
And everyday many of these people make costly mistakes that adversely affect their trip.
Listed below are 10 of the most common mistakes that Greyhound bus travelers make.
By taking note and avoiding these mistakes you can ensure that your next Greyhound bus trip is a success.
1. Not Taking Advantage of the Road Rewards Program
Road Rewards is Greyhound's free rewards program that gives you some pretty cool discounts just for riding the bus. In fact, just for signing up Greyhound will instantly give you 10% off your next ticket purchase.
If you are planning a long trip sign up for Road Rewards right before you buy your ticket and you will be able to shave $10-$25 off you ticket price in a few seconds. Travel on Greyhound enough and you will be able to earn even greater discounts and eventually even free tickets.
2. Buying Your Ticket The Day Of Your Trip
When it comes to buying a Greyhound bus ticket one of the biggest mistakes you can make is to buy your ticket the day of your trip. This is because your ticket will have a much higher price tag on that day then it would have had if you had bought it in advance.
Showing a little foresight and purchasing your ticket 2 or more weeks in advance can save you a bundle of money. Greyhound offers some serious advance purchase discounts via Greyhound.com and the Greyhound mobile app. In some cases you can save up to 50% off the total price of your ticket just by booking in advance.
3. Not Checking Weight of Checked Bag(s)
You are allowed up to two checked bags with each adult ticket purchase on the Greyhound bus.
The first bag is free but there is a $15 fee for the second checked bag. Both bags must weigh 50 lbs or less apiece.
Your checked bags will be weighed at the station before departure and if they are overweight you will have to pay additional fees.
4. Waiting Too Long To Get In Boarding Line For Bus
The line to board a Greyhound bus typical starts forming 30 minutes or so before the bus is scheduled to start boarding. Sometimes a greyhound employee will announce that the line is about to start forming, other times the line just kind of starts forming on it's own.
Once you find out where the boarding line for your bus will form you want to pay attention and make sure that you are one of the first, if not the first passenger in line, when the line gets started.
Why? Because the passengers who board the bus first get a better pick of the available seats. The people who are at the rear of the boarding line end up settling for whatever seats they can find or in some cases not being able to find a seat at all.
5. Not Listening To the Drivers Instructions
Greyhound bus driver make periodic announcements to inform passengers of various information during their trip. You would be surprised at the number of people who ignore these announcements. For some reason they feel that whatever the driver is saying has no bearing on them. However, they are typically the same people asking questions 15 minutes later about the same subjects that the driver already covered.
Some of the things drivers routinely cover when they speak on the intercom are time until next food break, the next station that the bus will be pulling into, how long the bus will be at the next stop/station, what the driver will tolerate when it comes to noise, whether the is bus is on or behind schedule etc. All these are important issues that you'll want to know about so pay attention when the driver addresses the bus.
6. Using The Bathroom On The Bus
Just because there are bathrooms in the rear of all Greyhound buses doesn't mean you should take advantage of them.
Greyhound bus bathrooms are almost impossible to keep clean once they hit the road. And you don't want to have to deal with the stench and the filthiness unless it's an absolute emergency.
Take advantage of food breaks to use the bathrooms wherever the bus stops. Or you can use the bathrooms at the Greyhound bus stations. These bathrooms won't ever win any cleanliness awards either but they are typically cleaner than the onboard bus bathrooms.
7. Leaving Luggage Unattended
A common mistake Greyhound travelers make on a daily basis is leaving their luggage unattended at the bus stations. This mistake occurs most frequently during layovers when people get bored from sitting in one spot for a long time and they wander off to the bathroom, to get something to eat, or to explore outside.
This is perfectly understandable behavior, however, the problem is that they leave their luggage behind when they wander off. This makes their bags an easy target for thieves who hang around Greyhound stations waiting for someone to slip up. Yes, there are people who come to Greyhound stations on a regular basis just to steal.
And they will snatch up your luggage and be out the door in a matter of seconds if you give them the chance. So keep your bags with you whenever you are at the station. Even if that means taking them into the bathroom with you, toting them around when you walk outside, even taking them with you when you go to the vending machine.
Just make sure you or someone you trust is keeping an eye on your bags at all times.
8. Expecting Too Much From the Wifi
Greyhound makes a big deal about having free Wifi on their buses. This leads alot of passengers to expect more from the wifi than in actually delivers. Yes, there is access to Wifi on Greyhound buses now but it's probably not going to be what you're used to.
First off, video streaming sites like Youtube are blocked. You can use the wifi for music streaming, but don't expect to be able to pass the time watching movies and videos.
Secondly, don't expect the wifi to work on every bus. On some buses the wifi will work great, on other buses the wifi will be intermittent, and on other buses the wifi won't work at all. That's just the way it is, you can try complaining to the bus driver but in most cases there is nothing she/he can do about it.
So just don't expect too much from the wifi on your trip. If there is wifi on the bus then great, if not then just deal with it and find something else to do to occupy your time that doesn't require the internet.
9. Not Paying Attention To Connections
During your Greyhound bus trip there may be occasions when you will have to switch buses. This happens when you are changing routes, and it usually involves a layover at a Greyhound bus station. It's important to pay attention to when and where these layovers and connections are going to take place.
If your bus is running behind schedule and it looks like you are going to miss your next connection then it's important to know this so you can start planning on a course of action.
For instance you can use the Greyhound app to see when the next bus leaves headed in the direction you are going. Once you reach the station, if your bus has already left, you can go to the ticket counter and request to have your ticket changed to the next bus.
Knowing in advance the bus you want a ticket for will make the ticket rescheduling process go much smoother and will put you way ahead of everyone else who missed the same bus. Most of them probably won't even be aware that they missed their connection and by the time they realize it there may be no room left on the next bus.
They may have to end up waiting 8, 10, or 12+ hours at the station for another bus. That's why it's super important to know what station you are headed to, when you are supposed to be there, and when your connecting bus is scheduled to leave.
10. Not Having A Ride Lined Up When The Trip Is Over
When your Greyhound trip is over you'll want to have a ride already lined up and waiting if possible. Your goal should be to get away from the station as soon as possible.
Any time spent unnecessarily hanging around a Greyhound bus station just provides further opportunities for unscrupulous people who prey on travelers to try and take advantage of you.
It would be a shame to make it all the way to your destination just to get robbed or worse while you were waiting outside looking for a ride. If you do have to wait on a ride, especially at night time, wait inside the station until you are sure your ride has arrived and then go outside.
Uber and Lyft are great alternatives to cabs and public transportation when you are in a unfamiliar city because you can use the app to see exactly when your ride arrives. You can call an Uber and have it outside and ready to pick you up in a matter of minutes.
Be sure to never take a ride from a stranger or someone who you just met on the bus. Even if you have been traveling with that person for a few hours and have formed a 'friendship' remember that you don't truly know that person yet. It would be unwise to assume that just because someone is friendly and seems OK, that it's alright to leave in a car with them. Only accept rides from people you know or cab, Uber/Lyft drivers with verified credentials.
The Greyhound bus is an excellent low cost option for traveling. Hopefully you will be able to use the information mentioned in this article to ensure that your Greyhound trip goes smoothly and is mistake-free.