An Overnight Bus Trip Is A Way To Skip A Hotel Bill But It Comes With Some Caveats

If you've never taken an overnight bus, you've missed a trick. Overnight buses allow you to fall asleep in one city and wake up in another, saving you both a hotel bill and daytime travel time. That means you'll have more time and money to spend at your destination. Overnight buses are a total win-win for budget travelers.

There are tons of routes available in the U.S. Popular ones run between New York City and Washington, D.C., Boston, and Baltimore, as well as between Dallas and Houston. There are also international routes, including to and from New York City, Montreal, and Toronto. Outside the U.S., overnight buses are even more popular and plentiful and are a staple of travel in Europe, Latin America, and Asia, so make like the locals and hop aboard.

A major concern for many people on overnight buses is safety, so let's address that first. If you're planning on taking an overnight bus, read the reviews of the bus company and check sites like Tripadvisor to read what other travelers have to say about the route. You'll also want to keep your valuables close, so this is a great time to use your money belt: Put your wallet and ID in there, and you'll be able to sleep soundly.

Comfort and luggage

A night in a tiny seat on a bus that screeches to a stop every few minutes may seem like a nightmare. Luckily, overnight buses aren't like that at all. First, they stop as infrequently as possible, so you won't be awakened by other passengers climbing on and off all night. Don't worry about the lack of stops, though; there is a restroom onboard the buses — yes, it's small, but airplane restrooms aren't exactly spacious either. There's no turbulence on a bus and you won't be woken up by meal service, so you should have a better sleep on a bus than on a plane.

Next, almost every bus company has comfortable, reclining seats with generous legroom. There are also luxury buses available on many routes, which have lie-flat seats. If you can't afford business class on an airline, you probably can on a bus. Napaway, which runs buses between Washington, D.C. and Nashville, has buses like this, and overnight buses in Japan are renowned for their onboard bedrooms. This comfort means you can have almost as good a sleep as in a hotel for a fraction of the price.

Now let's talk about luggage. One of the best things about overnight buses is that they usually allow you to bring some items for free. With Megabus, you can take a large suitcase weighing up to 50 pounds plus some hand luggage. Your suitcase will be locked under the bus while you're on the road, with no chance of it being lost in transit. Buses: 1; airlines: 0.

Time and money

So, you will be able to sleep on the bus, but is it worth it? Of course, buses take longer than flights, but maybe not that much longer when all's said and done. When flying, you need to get to the airport, and then spend time going through security and waiting for the plane. At the other end, you'll have to get yourself back into the city. Traveling to the airport doesn't just add time to your journey, but money, too, as cab or rideshare fares add up. With a bus, there's none of that as they depart and arrive in the city center. Also, on shorter flights, you don't have the option of flying through the night and saving on a hotel bed.

Buses are often considerably cheaper than airfares too, and the price of a bus ticket doesn't fluctuate as much as airline pricing does. That means you can be more spontaneous when traveling by bus and not be penalized for last-minute bookings. If you add the price of a hotel room in your destination city to the airfare, you're looking at some serious savings by taking an overnight bus. This combination of saving time and money on both tickets and hotels makes overnight buses a great choice if you're on a budget. One last bonus: most bus stations are surrounded by reasonably priced places to eat. The same absolutely cannot be said of an airport.