May 19, 2024

Opinion: How to survive the Megabus experience

Traveling this holiday season? The Megabus has the cheapest rates that are perfect for college students. Laurel gives tips on how to survive the experience.

The Megabus on the move.


The Megabus on the move.
The Megabus on the move.

With the end of the semester exams fast approaching and the holidays calling our names, nothing sounds more appealing than jumping ship and getting home for a meal that isn’t ramen or paid for with dinning dollars. But unless you’re one of the lucky ones that has a car or family members who love you enough to pick you up, you’re going to have to look for some different ways to get home. If you’re as broke as the rest of us this probably means the bus, and as far as college student funds get you, your best bet is probably the Megabus.

In case you have been living under a rock and haven’t heard of it yet, the Megabus is a double-decker, blue monstrosity that advertises trips starting at a dollar. While you’ll probably end up paying somewhere in the twenty to fifty dollar range, it’s still the cheapest way to get home.
As someone who has hopped on the great blue giant several times already this semester, I have some advice.

The bus advertises its low rate with its jolly little bus driver.
The bus advertises its low rate with its jolly little bus driver.

1. The bus typically smells like B.O., Cheetos and old people. Either this or like someone recently poured Clorox all over the floor and tap-danced around in it. There is no in-between so plan accordingly. Consider bringing some pleasantly scented hand lotion, packing some perfume or cutting out a dryer sheet mustache and taping it to your upper lip. Do whatcha gotta do to deal.

2. The upper deck is lacking in the temperature regulation department, but it has some very nice views. If you’re riding on a warm day expect to bake like a rotisserie chicken. If it’s cold outside expect it to be the arctic inside: do yourself a favor and bring a blanket. Last time I was on the bus I had to pull stuff out of my carry-on luggage and form a make-shift blanket out of multiple sweaters and a scarf to keep from convulsing from the cold the entire trip. You could also consider claiming a seat on the bottom and avoiding this problem entirely but it’s more fun to ride on the upper deck.

3. If you think you’re going to be able to sleep on the bus. You are going to sleep on the bus, but not for more than ten minutes at a time. Get a good night’s rest the day before and make the whole experience a lot less unpleasant for yourself.

4. The bus claims to have built in Wi-Fi and chargers, but I’m not convinced this is actually true. Other people seem to be able charge their phones and get on the internet, but for some reason the outlets refuse to work for me. Charge your electronics before and bring a book for when they inevitably die.

5. There are other people on the bus. For the love of all, bring headphones so you can drown them out. If you don’t then, you’ll end up listening to someone blast Pitbull out of their fancy reversible headphones for four hours in total disregard for the comfort and listening preferences of those around them. Bring headphones so you don’t have to be that guy, nobody likes that guy.

6. Do not underestimate the importance of snacks. Your bus will stop every three hour or so and allow you to get off and buy snacks. Do it. Snacks are what gets you through the smell, boredom and no headphones guy.

7. Enjoy your trip. This is a novelty sort of experience that unites you with your fellow passengers over the shared unpleasantness. Try to embrace it. Think of the food back at home.

Laurel Cooper is a freshman at UT.

Edited by Jessica Carr


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1 thought on “Opinion: How to survive the Megabus experience

  1. Lol! My husband and I are 74 and rode the Megabus from Knoxville to Just outside Joppa, Maryland last September. We had to change is Washington…it was a real experience for us, especially the 5 hour layover in the Washington train station…the loud banging of the restroom door, the foul-mouthed man on the upper deck hollering obscenities for hours, the size of the seats and the fact that mine was broken and would not adjust, the smells as you described…all convinced us this trip would be Genesis and Revelation. But if we had been younger it would have been fun. I enjoyed talking to new people very much. And it is economical. When you are older, you will find that life rolls in circles and you go back to ramens and oatmeal. Your article was so spot on and pleasant reading.

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