Save On Long-Distance Bus Travel By Traveling At This Time Of Day

If you're looking to hop around to different cities, be it for a work trip, to visit family, or go on vacation with a friend, taking a bus can save you hundreds. While flying obviously takes less time by getting you further faster, busing is the scenic, flexible, and environmentally friendly option.

While the idea of being on a bus for hours might not feel glamorous, there are some perks that make it worthwhile. Advantages of choosing the bus beyond saving money include a lack of baggage fees, quicker boarding times, and less stress — there are no TSA or liquid restrictions, and you can also bring luggage. As for maximizing your savings, figuring out the best travel times can help you do just that.

You have multiple options for booking bus rides, and it's relatively simple to compare routes, prices, and companies online. Sometimes, bus lines have different deals that can help you save even more.

Best times to book

Busing during the week as opposed to the weekend can help you save on bus fare — it's not as busy if you leave on a Wednesday instead of a Friday. Booking for a morning ride or an overnight bus as opposed to an afternoon trip is also an ideal way to lower costs and avoid traffic. Plus, morning and overnight buses allow you to sleep and tend to be less crowded than ones that depart midday.

You can save about 15% if you get a ticket for a ride leaving between 6 a.m. and noon. "That's also the period that offers the highest diversity when it comes to bus travel options," director of communications at Wanderu Staffo Dobrev told Travel + Leisure. "Traveling in the morning would also help avoid a fully booked bus, as the vast majority of bus travelers tend to hit the road in the afternoon." If your bus leaves at 7 a.m. or earlier, you'll increase your chances of getting an extra seat to yourself at no cost, simply because there's a greater vacancy during early morning rides.

Booking in advance can also save you cash. With that being said, getting bus tickets at the last minute will still save you money if you compare the costs to flying at the last minute.

How to maximize comfort

After securing your tickets, you can begin to consider what you'll need to pack. Most buses allow for one luggage bag that will be stored and another to carry on with you. You might be able to get away with bringing an extra carry-on bag with you, as long as it doesn't get in others' personal space. Oftentimes, you also have the option to pay an extra fee to add another suitcase.

Next, you can bring a couple of items to increase your comfort. A neck pillow is a good place to start. A sweatshirt or a blanket can help keep you warm in the case of a blasting AC. Headphones can help you block out the noise, and an over-the-counter medicine like Dramamine can help combat car sickness. While some buses have outlets, not all do, so throwing a portable charger in your bag is a must, especially for long road trips.

Before booking, check out the amenities each bus line offers. Many offer free wifi and have bathrooms. You also have the option to find a luxury bus line that'll give you more space and often comfier seating.