Confession: I really want to ride the MegaBus with my kids! I realize this might seem strange to some folks. Most families in my city would never consider riding a bus on vacation. I’ve had a hard time even finding blog posts and reviews of families taking the MegaBus with Kids.
In case you haven’t heard of MegaBus, it’s like a hipper, millennial version of the old Greyhound buses that traverse across the country. It services over 100 cities in the U.S.A. (see route map). BoltBus follows similar routes and similar pricing model as MegaBus.
My husband has limited vacation time from his job which we save for our big family trips. However, my job is more flexible and I can work ahead. My kids are still too young to have summer jobs, so I’d love to travel solo with them a bit more over their school breaks.
So why do I want to ride on MegaBus with kids?
$1 and $5 Fares
Yes, I’m a sucker for cheap fares! When MegaBus extends the schedule, $1 tickets are available. You usually have to book early to get one of the $1 fares, but I have seen them. Even the $5 fares are an excellent deal! Ticket prices increase as more seats are sold, with the average seat selling for about $20, depending on the route.
There is a $2.50 booking fee per transaction (not per person). So for me and my three kids, round-trip tickets at the $1 level would cost $10.50 and round-trip tickets at the $5 level would cost just $42.50. That’s even cheaper than the 9/11 fees you have to pay on airline award tickets!
MegaBus is extending its schedule through March 6, 2018 starting tomorrow, December 7, 2017! Visit the website early to snag these cheap seats.
From Dallas, we have the option of 9 destinations on MegaBus. We could hop on the MegaBus to Houston or Austin with the kids to explore the downtown areas of these cities. While we have traveled through and around Houston and Austin, we have never stayed and experienced the downtown areas.
One of the routes from Dallas is to Memphis, TN. It’s an 8-hour direct route, but it does have a brief rest stop in Little Rock. I traveled to Memphis on a business trip years ago, but I’d love to go back to see more of the area.
My ideal itinerary with the kids is this: Take the MegaBus to Houston and stay downtown for 2 nights. We could hop on the Houston METRORail to the zoo and also visit the Downtown Aquarium. Then, we could hop back on MegaBus from Houston to New Orleans. I had such a wonderful weekend in New Orleans last summer, and I’d love for my kids to experience that city (especially the French Market!)
Easy Access to Dallas Starting Point
MegaBus doesn’t have its own brick and mortar stations. It mostly shares stations with local transit companies or has stops without waiting areas (hence the cheap ticket prices). But getting to the Dallas starting point would be easy for my family. We can take the DART train from Plano to Downtown Dallas to get to the DART East Transfer Station, which is the MegaBus stop.
Better than Car Road Trips
Ever since I was a kid and my family took a never-ending month-long road trip in a station wagon with no radio and no air conditioning, I have detested road trips. I can’t stand highway driving whether I’m the passenger or the driver. I feel trapped in the car and stressed with the traffic. And if you have ever driven on I35 in Texas, you probably understand that feeling.
However, I’ve been on a few charter buses and by comparison I find bus trips much more relaxing. MegaBus has double decker buses with a variety of seat options. A few groups of four seats face each other with a table in the middle, which would be the perfect set-up for families. I could see me and my kids playing card games on the table.
MegaBus has WiFi and free onboard entertainment through a mobile app. Every seat has a power outlet for charging electronics. Now I wouldn’t want to ride overnight, but I think a 4 to 8 hour daytime trip on the bus would be quite pleasant.
I’m Low on Airline Miles but I’m Good on Hotel Points
Ever since Chase implemented its 5/24 restrictions, I’ve had a much harder time accumulating Southwest Rapid Reward points. Southwest points were my go-to for super cheap flights on points for several years. Although I’ve got plenty of American Airline miles, I just can’t get the same value with those as I could with my Southwest points. So taking a ton of “free” flights around the U.S. is now much harder for us.
However, my family does have some Hyatt and Hilton hotel points that are not yet earmarked for trips. We could also sign up for the Chase IHG card, which is not subject to the 5/24 restrictions. Using the MegaBus in combination with hotel points at our destinations would make for a very affordable trip!
My Kids Are Still Up for Adventuring with Me
My oldest kid will be 14 next summer. 14!!! Although he’s definitely got that tween/teen attitude, in my eyes he is still very much a boy. And like my younger kids, he’s not too cool to try new things with me! My kids were totally up for our cross-country train trip last summer, and I know they would be totally up for trying out a double decker bus with me. Especially if we get to do cool things at our destination!
MegaBus schedules are not yet available for late spring and summer, so I can’t plan too far ahead. But I’m seriously considering trying a short adventure on MegaBus with kids during a 3-day weekend school break in April or over the summer.
Have you been on MegaBus or BoltBus? Would you consider trying out a bus trip with your family?
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Nancy is a contributing writer for Miles For Family. She enjoys traveling to the beach and is a big fan of Disney. Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids.