So I’ve been living at home in Erie, PA for the past couple months and now it is time to move again. This time to a location that I should have moved to a long time ago, Austin, TX. I love Austin, it’s a very active, young, progressive city where every day is sunny and the locals have no idea what cold weather feels like; yet one more reason why I am moving there. But, on my way of moving there I decided to turn this trip into a little project; a project to prove just how cheap I can travel. Here’s why I am doing this:
So many of you who know me know that I love to travel (obviously, I have a website) and that I always managed to do it on very little money. I have had several people ask me or just assume that I come from a wealthy family and daddy is the one always footing the bill. But, this is definitely not the case. If you ever met my dad, a blue collar man who is son of a hard working Italian immigrant, you would instantly know he would never write a check for me to gallivant all over the country. I’m pretty much just your average recent college graduate: a pile of debt, no idea what I want to do, and the whole world at my disposal.
As you may of read from my earlier post for the last month or so I have been living at home and visiting with family before I make my next move to Austin, Texas. I looked into plane tickets first, which ran around $162+ for a one way flight and of course you can’t forget about the airlines lovely $25 baggage fee that they conveniently always forget to mention when booking the flight. I knew I could make this trip for cheaper. I next turned to my favorite bus website: megabus.com. Megabus is probably my favorite way to travel; it’s cheap (sometimes tickets as low as $1 when you book early enough), there’s free wifi (that sometimes cuts out), and there are power outlets by ever seat (if you’re lucky enough to be by one that works). I have taken the megabus all over the country and yes I have gotten several tickets for the $1 price.
I have taken the bus from Erie to Austin before and it was a miserable 24+ hour experience on and off buses. An experience I definitely do not want to go through again. So I began looking at cities I could hit along the way to visit friends (it helps that I have friends all over America). I decided I would stop in Chicago, IL, St. Louis, MO, and Little Rock, AR, staying about 2 nights in each city. I then began browsing bus tickets; luckily I decided on this trip about two months before leaving which left me with very cheap tickets to choose from since I was booking so far in advance. I managed to snag every single ticket for only $1, that is except one. Of course one ticket had to throw off my perfect streak and that one was to catch a connecting bus from St. Louis to Memphis for $23. But, I still managed to get all my tickets for as little as $33.50, which isn’t too bad for traveling halfway across the country.
I knew I could do this trip for much cheaper than what it would cost to fly. So off I go: 3 cities, 7 days, and under $187 to spend.
Oh, and I also had to manage figuring out how to pack my entire life into just a suitcase and a backpack.
Let’s Make That 6 Days…
So even before I could take one step out the door I received an email from megabus informing me that due to poor weather conditions, my bus from Cleveland to Chicago has been cancelled. However I am able to reschedule for free. Which is great, but the only downside is I still need to get to Cleveland, which means I had to buy a new ticket for Erie to Cleveland for the next day, which ran me $9.50. Still cheap, but when you’re working with limited funds this is a bit of a hit, especially since I got nothing out of it.
Also, this tampered with my sightseeing a little bit. My plan was to have one day in Chicago where I could be a tourist. But, now I’ll be getting to Chicago late Tuesday night and leaving early Wednesday morning.
Damn you megabus!!!
So megabus decided to screw with me again and cancel my bus from Cleveland to Chicago again. I considered buying new tickets for the next day but that would throw off my entire trip. I decided to look into other bus services and eventually wound up with greyhound. This would run me another $50.50. Bringing my trip total to $93.50 and I haven’t even stepped out the door yet.