Sunday, September 1, 2013

Best Summer Ever {2013}: Riding the Megabus

Phew! JAM survived his first full week of 2nd grade! If you ask me, this momma didn't do too bad herself as far as being a sap on the first day of school hehe. Honestly though, I think I'm having a harder time re-adjusting to the back to school routine than JAM is. I miss being able to sleep in until 10 A.M. if I wanted to ha ha. Eh, I'm just happy that JAM's teacher seems really great and JAM actually enjoys being back to school. It also gives me a little more free time to catch up on my blog posts. Flipping through my posts, I realized I didn't post much about my family adventures this summer. Reflecting back on it, I'd have to say it was one of the best summers I've had in a looooong time! Even JAM is still talking about some of the awesome things we experienced over the past 3 months.

If you follow me on any of my social media outlets, you know that the awesomeness of our summer began with our trip to California based on all the pictures I was posting. It's not uncommon for Las Vegans to travel to California and vice versa, but with school and life being so hectic, this mini vacation was WAY overdue. Sadly due to work scheduling, Mahal wasn't able to join us in our adventures this time around. I wanted to switch it up a little for JAM so instead of doing the usually road trip in our car, I booked two tickets on the Megabus. For those of you that aren't familiar with Megabus, here's a little description from their site:


"Megabus.com is the first, low-cost, express bus service to offer city center-to-city center travel for as low as $1 via the Internet. Since launching in April 2006, megabus.com has served more than 24 million customers throughout more than 100 cities across North America.  Our luxury single and double deckers offer free wi-fi, at-seat plug ins, panoramic windows and a green alternative way to travel. Meticulously maintained with professional drivers at the wheel, when you travel with megabus.com, you will be riding in comfort and confidence. We provide affordable and reliable bus services, offering the highest level of comfort and safety.  You can be assured of a great experience and overall satisfaction when you choose megabus.com. Our professional staff, and our fleet of clean, comfortable, well maintained wheelchair accessible, state-of-the-art double decker buses enable us to provide you with the dependable, quality service you expect." 

I've never traveled via bus before so I was actually a little nervous. Based on the stories I've heard about other bus companies, my expectations were fairly low for this roadtrip. Just like the description states, you can get a one-way ticket on the Megabus for as low as $1 if you book ahead (like 4+ weeks ahead). With last minute travel changes, I ended up booking my Megabus ticket 3 days prior to travel time so I got a one-way ticket for $25 per person. That's still not bad considering I'd spend way more than that on gas if I drove. Mahal dropped us off at the Las Vegas RTC South Strip Terminal and off JAM and I went to Bay #9. The seats are first come, first serve so we wanted to get there as early as possible. A little birdie told us that the front seats had a table so we wanted to make sure we got those seats.


As boarding time neared, a Megabus employee checked our confirmation number and then issued us a number based on our place in line. JAM and I ended up being #1 and #2. Yippie! Just a little FYI, you must buy your ticket for the Megabus online. Some people showed up to the bus station thinking they could purchase a ticket there, but Megabus only uses the Terminal Bay to board passengers, not sell tickets. Anyways, once it was time to board, I handed our luggages to the helper loading them under the bus as we boarded. The luggage rules are similar to airline regulations. Each passenger is allowed ONE 50 lb. luggage and one personal item that must fit under your seat. Shh, I brought a personal bag and my purse. It fit under my seat just fine. A carry-on sized luggage is still considered part of your one luggage allowance since it's too big to fit under your seat on the bus.



We headed inside to the front of the bus and there the table seats were. The front two rows were facing each other in a quad format with a table in the middle. As I was previously standing in line, I chatted with the lady behind me and she decided to sit across JAM and I. Across the row, the seats were set up similarly with a table as well. The bus appeared to be very clean. No odd odors or stains on the seat or floors. The overall space on the bus is similar to a Southwest airline airplane. Seats are set up two to a row. The aisles are just big enough for you to maneuver through. The stairway to go upstairs seemed a little snug as I watched passengers head to the second floor. The seats are comfy and averagely sized just like on an airplane. Having a table seat gave us a little extra leg room. I even was able to put my feet up on the seat across from me since no one was sitting there. If I remember correctly the driver said the bus holds 59 passengers and there were only 33 on this trip. The lady across from me said that for the night trip, low passenger count is common which is why she loves traveling at night.



Each row is equipped with outlets overhead near the A/C controls (similar to a plane). Free wi-fi is provided, but as the reviews I read advised, it never connected. My kindle and phone showed strong wi-fi connection but for whatever reason the wi-fi didn't want to connect. Luckily the app JAM uses on my kindle didn't need wi-fi to use. Maybe I'll bring my laptop next time to try again. As we waited for others to board the bus, I continued to chat with the lady across the table. She explained that she was basically a veteran Megabus rider. I asked how it's set up on the second floor since I didn't get a chance to check it out. She explained that the front row has nothing but a big window in front so you can see nothing but road and scenery in front of you. Behind the front row was a split for the front staircase, and then there were table seats set up just like the ones were were sitting at on the first floor. JAM and I thought that was neat and agreed that we'd try out the second floor next time.


The night bus route required a driver change about halfway through so we were informed that we'd be making a 10 minute stopover to do so. The back-up driver rode in the back of the bus with us. I also knew that there was a passenger drop-off in Riverside, CA before making our final destination at Union Station in Los Angeles. Since it was the night route, they dimmed the lights so passengers could get some shut eye. There was lighting available overhead if needed though. Another convenience that I noticed was a bathroom at the back of the bus. JAM and I never needed to use it, but I did see parents bring their child in the bathroom with them so I'm assuming it's big enough for that.

             Dim Lighting                 Personal Overhead Lighting


We made our 10-minute pit stop in Yermo, CA to do our bus driver change. JAM and I used that time to get off the bus and stretch. We also ran into the gas station to grab a few snacks for the remainder of the trip. Once we all boarded back on the bus, JAM and I managed to get a little sleep before arriving in L.A. Overall the bus ride was great! Previously roadtripping this route in my car, I knew that this route was a bumpy one so it wasn't a surprise when we hit bumpy patches on the bus. I'd definitely recommend trying out the Megabus, especially if you're on a tight budget or traveling last minute. Next time I'll try to plan my trip a little better to take advantage of the $1 one-way ticket. Regardless, they exceeded my expectations. It beats me having to make the 4 hour drive myself and it saves me a ton of money on gas. Our luggage was waiting there curbside by the time we got off the bus and we had no problem gathering our items. My uncle and cousin were there waiting for us at Union Station to begin our fun California adventure. Stay tuned for my future posts on the fun places we visited while in Cali! *hint hint* we may have visited a famous mouse couple ❤.


Have you ridden the Megabus before? How was you experience?