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Why I Want to Ride the MegaBus with Kids

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?

Why I Want to Ride the MegaBus with Kids

Photo courtesy of MegaBus

$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.

Appealing Destinations

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!)

48 Kid-free Hours in NOLA plus Sheraton New Orleans Review

The French Market in New Orleans

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.

Why I Want to Ride the MegaBus with Kids

Photo courtesy of MegaBus

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!

Bottom Line

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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Author: Nancy

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.

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18 thoughts on “Why I Want to Ride the MegaBus with Kids

    • @Melanie I hope so! I plan to check out fares tomorrow for the new schedule to see what my chances for $1 or $5 fares are for the next round of schedule extention.

  1. I’ve been on Megabus alone, traveling to and from NYC. It is a great deal with convenient pickup / dropoff points for sure. It is kind of cramped though, feels less private than a regular train or plane for some reason. And I don’t know if it was just the fact that the bus was packed and mostly New Yorkers, but everyone seemed in a bad, “leave me the hell alone” type mood. I don’t remember any young kids, and no one was chatting with one another. So I wouldn’t exactly recommend that trip to families… but I bet trips to and from Dallas have friendlier passengers.

      • I guess I meant more that it seemed like anyone who dared to talk (a normal to do, especially as a family) on my Megabus trips would have gotten some major stink eye. But who cares about that, and it could well have been a NYC thing anyway. ; -)

  2. I enjoy the Megabus, but my wife doesn’t. When it first entered the Memphis market, we did several weekend trips to Chattanooga and St. Louis. It was a convenient trip when staying in downtown hotels. I don’t encourage overnight trips either, but it is because I couldn’t sleep because of the heat. It is a fun experience, and it does have a different clientele than Greyhound. Enjoy your kids while you can. They don’t require expensive travel to have great memories.

  3. I rode a bus by myself from Philly to NYC which was pretty easy. And recently did a 4 hour (?) ride with my son from Palmerston North to Wellington here in NZ. I enjoyed and would do it again! Both times it was out of necessity because I was without car. Seats were comfy and it was relaxing. It has never occurred to me to go out of my way to plan a “bus vacation” but now that you mention it I think it’s a GREAT idea (especially at those rates) and I’m a little jealous!!! Looking forward to reading the trip report upon your return.

    • @Talchinski I’m happy to hear that you’ve had positive experiences on bus trips! I haven’t bought any tickets yet but I will be checking out prices once the schedules are extended tomorrow.

  4. I think it’s a great idea! I’m in Dallas too! Plano actually, so it would be really easy for me. It would be a trip your kids wouldn’t forget, that’s for sure!

    • @loveyoumoretoo I definitely think my kids would remember the trip, good or bad! We don’t ride buses often. My kids actually love school field trips just so they can ride a school bus!

  5. I think the MegaBus is a great option for families to travel. It’s one of the most budget-friendly transportation options in the US. I’ve taken it to Chicago from Michigan and similar bus lines between D.C. and NYC. They even have wi-fi and if you book early enough you can sometimes reserve seats together around one of the tables. I’d definitely consider it for a future family vacation.

    • @erinklema I’m glad to hear you’ve enjoyed your experiences on buses! On paper, MegaBus seems like a no-brainer for families who want to get in some extra travel for not much cost.

  6. I have never thought about taking the MegaBus with my kids, but after reading this I can totally see why it would work. Anyway to get travel in is a good way to me.

    danielle

    momwifefoodie.com

  7. Sound like a fine idea. My wife and I use buses from D.C. to NYC. It’s much better than driving. We also will take them to Philadelphia and back same day for a semi-formal event but that’s only 2-3 hours.

    But I think megabus now charges for seat section so that may add a few dollars per person to your cost.

    • @Iolaire I’m glad to hear you’ve had good experiences on bus travel. Even with the added cost for those reserved seats, the MegaBus still makes for a really cheap trip!

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