My First Greyhound Trip is Only Going to Make Me 100 Times More Annoyed at the Airport Next Time

Filed under funner times on the bus

I considered taking a Greyhound bus trip a few years back, but a friend warned me, “You wouldn’t like it.” I didn’t ask questions–just drove myself fourteen hours by car–but I remained curious about what it might be like to travel by bus. Naturally, I jumped at the chance when Greyhound offered me an exclusive ride last weekend on their new Lucky Streak line that travels from New York’s Port Authority directly to your choice of eight casinos. The trip also included a round-trip bus ticket for my guest, lovely accommodations overlooking the boardwalk and beach at the Hilton Casino Resort, a wine reception at the top of the Tropicana Casino & Resort, complimentary spa treatments at Bally’s, shopping certificates for any of the Tropicana’s upscale shops and restaurants, and free slot play vouchers for the Hilton and the Tropicana.

Greyhound’s biggest competitor is the automobile, but anyone driving a car to Atlantic City has no idea what they’re missing out on. Forget navigating, pumping gas, and parking; the biggest draw of public transportation for me is not having to pay any attention to where I’m going, so I loved being able to board the bus in NYC and spend the next two hours doing whatever I wanted, even if what I wanted was to nap. With service right to the casinos, you don’t even need to worry about grabbing a cab once you arrive in Atlantic City.

I don’t own a car, but I’m a frequent airplane passenger and find myself more annoyed with airlines every time I fly. Even before we left Port Authority, I noticed several reasons why I might choose Greyhound over an airline:

+ I didn’t have to arrive at my departure gate hours early just to sit around. There’s no ridiculous security line where you have to remove your shoes, put your laptop in a separate container, and empty your pockets of the dime you didn’t even know was in there. I walked in, walked right up to my gate, and boarded the bus.

+ Once on the bus, I was free to use electronic devices at my leisure. No one told me to turn off my cellphone for takeoff one minute only to inform me that we were actually going to be waiting on the runway for another hour the next.

+ Because there’s no single runway as with planes, buses can leave when they’re supposed to without regard to the schedules of other buses.

+ My luggage was with me through the entire trip. Carry-ons fit beneath the seat and overhead, while bigger bags are stored underneath the coach, so there’s no chance of my suitcase disappearing behind a check-in counter and ending up in Los Angeles when I’m in Boston.

The new fleet of Greyhound buses features free wi-fi and an electrical outlet at the base of the seat in front of you, so it’s easy for the entire trip to slip away as you tweet about how much you’re enjoying the supple leather seats and the smooth ride. The CEO and COO of Greyhound–David Leach and Bill Blankenship, respectively–rode the bus to Atlantic City with us in order to speak with each blogger personally, and I was impressed with their knowledge and passion, especially when it came to the reduced-emission design of their new buses. Truly, now more than ever, taking Greyhound instead of a plane or a car is a great way to lessen your carbon footprint.

The negative aspects to taking a bus are the ones you’ve no doubt heard a million times: it’s slower than other forms of transportation, and the lack of security inspections–while a real pleasure with a group of like-minded bloggers–could be worrisome otherwise.

Fortunately, now’s the perfect time for you to decide for yourself by taking advantage of Greyhound’s Lucky Streak $1 promotion. For a dollar, you can ride round trip between NYC and Atlantic City, and all Lucky Streak schedules have open returns, which means you can stay until your money runs out. Each of the eight casinos Greyhound services are offering a bonus to all Lucky Streak riders, so you’ll be awarded between $25 and $30 to play at the slots. I’m already planning my return.

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15 Comments

  1. karinya says:

    Swanky!

    Did you win anything?

    • karinya says:

      Ok, this has nothing to do with the post, but – I recently found out a friend’s boyfriend is from Circleville, OH, and I got all excited because I remembered seeing that name on your potato ribbons, and I started to tell them that, and then… well, it went about how you’d imagine a conversation about a picture of potatoes that you saw on a blog to go. I win at social interaction.

      • We mostly gambled with the gift cards the casinos gave us, so we ended up leaving with more than we came with. Which I feel horrible admitting here, since I’m sure the whole point of giving us gift cards in the first place was to get us warmed up so we’d spend all of our own cash later.

        Circleville is about ten minutes from my hometown! It has enough of a population that there’s a chance I wouldn’t know your friend’s boyfriend’s family, but there also a veryvery good chance that I would. I’m glad my potatoes contributed to your social awkwardness!

  2. Kim says:

    Nope, sorry. I hate driving with a passion, but my PRECISE definition of hell is being trapped in a window seat of a Greyhound traveling between Port Authority and South Station while a child shrieks and fidgets in the seat beside me, entirely indulged and/or ignored by its parent. There is also a continual loop of Dashboard Confessional playing and buffalo wings with Ranch as the only option of condiment available involved. And I have to wear a lingerie-inspired dress and wedges.

    I am glad you enjoyed yourself, though. How’d you go about getting to shill for someone? JEALOUS.

    • See, this is why much of life is a total surprise to me. I never imagine situations like that. I imagine well-behaved couples quietly using the wi-fi for three hours, no children in sight. If it’s old Dashboard, I’m okay with it, and OF COURSE buffalo wings come with ranch. I back you up on the dress, though.

      I am not a shill! Greyhound contacted me because of my unmatched love of public transportation and my ability to give entirely unbiased reports.

  3. Meredith says:

    Although it’s only a matter of weeks before those beautiful leather seats are gored by the blades of homemade knives belonging to recently released convicts and the new floors sticky with dried pee, I ‘d still love to take advantage of the $1 promo and fancy Atlantic City lifestyle. So let me know if you’re planning a return trip soon!

    • I think we need to go in the next couple of weeks for the $1 deal, but I’m down if you are. Maybe I can convince Beth to go, and we can split a hotel room 4 ways. It looks like they’re about $150. We can carve our own knives on the way to gore the seats with on the way back. Yay!

  4. Steve says:

    A press/blogger junket to Atlantic City casinos is one thing. Actually traveling on a bus – more than 4 or 5 hours, stopping in multiple cities, all sorts of sketchy types getting on and off, 3AM stops in middle-of-nowhere Oklahoma, bus stations in the worst part of the worst cities . . . entirely another thing. Thank goodness there is still a low-cost travel option. Double-thank goodness that I don’t have to avail myself of it.

  5. File this under “Phrases I Never Thought I’d Use”:

    I think I’m gonna go Greyhound.

    Now tell all the rest of us bloggers how you got this super-sweet deal!

    • Yippee! The CEO said most Greyhound riders are going on short trips but that a few thousand people go crazy and travel from NYC to LA every year. You can be that crazy person! I’m sure the trip from New Orleans to NYC is delightful.

      Greyhound’s PR firm contacted me a few weeks ago about this, and I swore it wasn’t real. Even halfway there, Kamran was still convinced they were kidnapping us. I guess my weird transportation fascination paid off somehow.

  6. spaghedeity says:

    SELL.

    OUT.

    • I used to accuse bands and authors of selling out all of the time back when I was in college, but I realized later that if I had the opportunity, I’d sell out in a SECOND.

      I wasn’t asked to blog about this, though, and I readily disclosed my remaining insecurities about future rides, so I feel okay about myself. And as these opportunities continue to arise, I may allow you to be a part of one of them if you play your cards right.

  7. spaghedeity says:

    oh, i wasn’t, like, criticising you. i was exclaiming “SELL OUT!” as in, “WE BOTH HAVE NO SOULS!”

    like soulmates but more like souldegenerates.