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Raileurope.com: See Europe by train
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Old 02-13-2006, 04:48 AM   #1
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Hey everyone,

My boyfriend and I are doing a "mini" round the world trip towards the end of this year. For the North America leg of the trip, we'll be flying into New York, and flying out of LA. We were thinking of getting a 30 day Greyhound Discovery Pass, and travelling to perhaps 8 - 10 cities over the course of the month, before getting to LA.

In Australia and New Zealand, I know there are some companies that does a set route, with the option to hop-on/hop-off when you fancy it. I was wondering if there is anything in North America along these lines?

I'm happy going with Greyhound if that's all there is (not too keen on rail travel, by the way) but was just wondering what the options are.

Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!
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Old 02-13-2006, 07:41 AM   #2
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Pity you don't care for rail travel, because amtrak (www.amtrak.com) does offer passes that allow the flexibility you're looking for. Greyhound is generally a pretty scuzzy experience, by all accounts! However, they do have a "Discovery Pass" valid for 30 days ($439 adult, $389 for students), but I'm not clear about whether it's available for foreign visitors. Though this would seem to make sense... Anyway, check out www.greyhound.com for details, and see if you have better luck interpreting than I did!
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Old 02-13-2006, 10:22 AM   #3
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I've said it in a million threads and I'll say it in a million more:

I avoid Greyhound at all costs.

Then again, some people do like traveling alongside schizophrenics and ex-convicts, all whilst taking in the lovely aroma of the onboard chemical toilet. Traveling overland in America can be a pretty miserable experience, especially aboard a lousy coach. If you can swing the train thing, I'd recommend it.
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Old 02-13-2006, 12:22 PM   #4
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people on greyhound can be a bit sketchy, but traveling together you should be fine. Amtrak would be my choice.
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Old 02-14-2006, 07:17 AM   #5
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Thanks very much. Tumblezweedz, yeah, I have looked into Greyhound before, and foreign visitors can use the Discovery passes.

I guess maybe rail travel wouldn't be too awful. If I had to choose between that and sitting near crazy people on a smelly bus, I suppose I'd opt for the train! And I imagine it would be quicker??

Thanks again!
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Old 02-14-2006, 07:53 AM   #6
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Don't know that it would be a whole lot quicker, I guess that depends on the route you choose. But the US is pretty big (even by Australian standards) and it just plain takes a long time to get from one side to the other, no matter how you do it.

The advantages I like about the train are: 1. it's much more scenic, the buses tend to stick to pretty boring motorways; 2. you don't stop in every little place; 3. you can get up and walk around; 4. the bathrooms are actually designed for use; 5. you can get a decent meal in the dining car (pricey) if you're so inclined; 6. you can get a sandwich in the bar car anytime; 7. there's a bar car; 8. people are much friendlier and more relaxed than on buses or planes; 9. the seats recline and are actually pretty spacious - much more so than a bus or plane.

Personally I love travelling by train, so I admit I'm biased. But I did travel 10,000 miles around the US by train one holiday, saw a ton of the country, and had a really great time.

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Old 02-14-2006, 08:35 AM   #7
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I will bring up the subject of taking the train with my boyfriend. I think I'm just put off by trains because the trains that go from my town into London are absolutely awful rackety old things. I assume Amtrak are nice modern trains.

I just looked up journey times, and an example is from NYC to Washington DC by coach is 4 hours 20 minutes, and by train it's just under 3 hours, which is obviously quite a bit shorter.
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Old 02-14-2006, 08:43 AM   #8
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They're fairly nice, not the newest on all the lines, but not ramshackle. There are some express trains along the eastern seaboard which are quite fast, although they aren't always included in the discount fares and can be quite costly. The long haul journeys will definitely be those across the midwest and the plains - that is big, flat country. You'd be cursing the buses for that portion of the trip!

Why did I think you were from Oz?

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Old 02-14-2006, 08:45 AM   #9
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Lol, I have no idea! Perhaps it's because I said that I know in Oz and NZ there are bus companies that do hop-on/hop-off?

Thank you so much again for all your useful info, it's really nice to find a place where people are actually willing to help out!
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Old 02-14-2006, 10:54 AM   #10
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Must be. Hope you don't think we're bullying you into the train!

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Old 02-14-2006, 05:45 PM   #11
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Haha, no, of course not! Like I said, I can handle trains, just so long as they don't feel like they're going to fall apart half way through the journey!

As it happens, by boyfriend prefers the idea of trains anyway (at least for America) so I think we will go with that in the end! Still a little while off yet though, so still got time to think things over!
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Old 02-15-2006, 07:43 AM   #12
 
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In this situation, I'd definitely go with rail travel...you are going to cities anyway, and almost every major city is accessible by rail (NY, Boston, Washington, Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles, etc).
Amtrak has a US pass that actually, US citizens can't buy!
It makes for a good deal for you, though...if your journey falls between September - December 15, then you'll get away with an off-peak pass for $385...otherwise, it's $550 per person, but still worth it in my eyes. I don't mind Greyhound so much, but I have only used it because I wasn't just going to major cities in my travels, I was going to middle-of-the-road places.
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Old 02-15-2006, 09:02 AM   #13
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Quote:
If I had to choose between that and sitting near crazy people on a smelly bus, I suppose I'd opt for the train!
Really?!! And miss out on all those crazy people? I bet they sing that song crazy, a la Dolly Parton.

I'd go train, I hate being stuck sitting in the one place for any amont of time. The buses in Ireland are about 20 years ahead of the trains but I'd still go on the train. It has a bar like, a bar! The bus can't compete.

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Old 02-15-2006, 09:54 AM   #14
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Traveling on a bus alongside either one of these is pretty unappealing to me:
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Old 02-15-2006, 12:40 PM   #15
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Awww, but the old guy looks sweet!
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