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Guest Post: Traveling the States in 6 Weeks by Bus

Note: Today’s Guest Post comes from Matt Davids. Matt blogs about anything to do with traveling, from massive adventures like the six week Greyhound tour of the States that you’ll read about here, to little spur of the moment trips closer to home around London. His next upcoming trip is to South Europe, starting with his Greece holidays.

By Matt Davids

Traveling the states Coast to Coast in six weeks by bus is a situation you may find yourself in mainly because of two factors: budget and adventure. As a foreigner, the only other way to have a road trip adventure in the US is to hire a car, and that, for six weeks going from East to West, plus gas and parking, is incredibly expensive.

If you’re American, and have decided against using a car, that is likely due to you
not owning one, which also comes down to a low budget situation.

The second factor, adventure, is simply because you’re looking for one. If you’re purely looking to get across the States from point A to B then you would fly, unless you suspect that, because of a slightly questionable past you are lurking on a no-fly list somewhere.

So that leaves us with the bus, more specifically the Greyhound, and points C,D,E and every other stop-off between your start and end destinations. Here is a collection of lessons I learnt traveling on the Greyhound around America within a six week time frame, starting in NYC and ending in California.

Insider Tips for travel on the Greyhound

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Greyhound: The biggest mistake of my life

Once upon a time, I made the biggest mistake of my life.

I willingly purchased a one-way Greyhound ticket from Rockford, Illinois to San Francisco, California.

And then, after several weeks of absorbing all that San Francisco had to offer, I made the second biggest mistake of my life.

I willingly purchased a one-way Greyhound ticket from San Francisco, California to Rockford, Illinois.

My first thought upon arriving in San Francisco after a 52-hour bus ride was “I need a shower, and I need a shower now.”

Something, anything, to wash the Greyhound filth from my skin. I felt disgusting.

What I had just experienced was mesmerizing.

The child molester on the run.  The sobbing Vietnam vet. The toothless man trying to sell me acid.

The obese, smelly woman taking over my seat. The couple in front of me almost making love in the early morning hours. Sheriff’s deputies violently arresting a man as he stepped off the bus.

The old woman sitting next to me picking her feet, cackling like a diseased crow. The drunk parolee with a huge knife in his bag. The ceaselessly crying babies.

All this, and I was only 12, 13 hours into my journey.

Yet time and time again, one painfully long layover after another, I boarded the old rickety bus headed towards oblivion with no end in sight.

How about you? How many hours straight did you endure the torture of a Greyhound bus ride? What happened along the way? Would you do it again?