It was the fall of 2010 I believe. Howard University’s Homecoming in Washington, DC was only days away and I happened upon a Megabus.com ad online. At the time, the cost of a one-way ticket from New York to Washington, DC was only eight dollars. Having never heard of this bus line I was skeptical, but then decided to proceed anyway. After all, what’s the worst that could happen? It would be a bumpy, bouncy ride on one of those cheese buses. So I equipped myself with a two-liter bottle of ginger ale, some aspirin and a pillow.
Much to my surprise at the corner of 31st Street and 8th Avenue stood a new metallic blue painted bus with yellow writing complete with a uniformed bus driver who greeted me. I stepped inside of the plush-like, first level of a double decker coach to find upholstered seating, AC, at-seat power outlets, free Wi-Fi, and tables for eating, writing or using a laptop. Two different staircases (one in the front and back) lead to the second level with a balcony view for front row passengers (now reserved seating) and mustard colored curtains draped across the back window.
Not every ticket sold on the Megabus is a dollar. The ad clearly states: “Tickets as low as $1.00.” There are a certain number of seats allotted at that rate which must be purchased well in advance, and the price goes up from there. In an effort to inspire African American people to travel—particularly those who thought it was unaffordable—I set out on a 10-city tour to prove that I could travel to each of the destinations for a modest cost of $1.
THE TEN-CITY TOUR
The itinerary begins in New York. I stopped in Philadelphia for a quick visit with my mother and continued on to Washington, DC. I only stayed there a half-a-day and continued on to Charlotte, NC overnight. I spent the entire day there and headed to Atlanta, GA. While in Georgia I visited Athens. From there I rode to Birmingham, AL, Memphis, TN, Nashville, Knoxville and then on to my final destination—New Orleans.
I was quite comfortable traveling by night and waking up to a new city in the morning. Thankfully most of the Megabus stops are centrally located or inside of bus terminals equipped with restrooms and restaurant options. I quickly learned that for three to five dollars I would purchase a day pass which allowed me unlimited rides on buses and trains around each city. By the days’ end I was exhausted and ready to go to sleep. After six nights I treated myself to a beautiful hotel in New Orleans. For two whole days I luxuriated in hot tubs, fine dining and Bourbon Street magic.
THE THIRTEEN-CITY TOUR
The next summer’s challenge was to do a 13-city tour for $1 per city. Again, I traveled solo and unhindered to those same cities; only the trip was extended beyond New Orleans. The first stop thereafter was Houston, the second, San Bernardino and the third stop was Austin. A friend of mine picked me up and showed me a great time in the Live Music capitol of the world. Austin is beautiful city, by the way. For a hot minute, I actually considered moving there.
Who knows I may be up for another trip in the near future. Now that I’m blogging I can take you with me and you can understand what an exciting, empowering journey it is. Hop aboard and you, too, can travel throughout the United States, Canada and Europe on a dollar. So whether you’re a single adult or a single mom, there is a safe and reliable, affordable way to travel. Gotta ego and you don’t do buses? You’re missing out. Be it a private jet (which I travel as well sometimes) or the Megabus—I’m equally comfortable . . . and so are my billionaire buddies.