Friday, April 8, 2016

Dr. Thinker: Travelling in the USA

-          You would be spending a lot of money on this. So, always look for a couple of options and choose the best alternative.
Commute options:
Short distance travel:
1.      UBER: You can use the following code to get a 20$ off on your first ride. You can use it in your country, too.    Code: derw2
2.      LYFT:  You can use the following code to get a free ride. Only for first time users.
            Code: RAJACHANDR538695
It’s better (cheaper and safer) to use these apps instead of the local taxis. Both UBER and LYFT are equally good.

Long distance travel:      
1.      Greyhound:
                          Advantages: 
A.      Has got bus stations of it’s own, so you will have a shelter.
B.      Sometimes cheaper than mega bus.
C.      Even available in small towns or cities.
D.     Lenient with luggage. Sometimes, they will allow you to have 2 check in bags at no additional cost.
E.      You can register to accumulate points and get road rewards.
                           Drawbacks:
A.      Not as clean as mega bus.
B.      When you book it online, you must have a printout. They won’t allow you to board the bus if you show it on phone.

2.      Mega bus:
                        Advantages:
A.      Sometimes can be very cheap. It can come to as low as 1$ if you are lucky.
B.      Much cleaner than greyhound.
C.      Most people prefer mega bus.
                             Drawbacks:
A.      Don’t have a bus station. Yes, there won’t be any shelter. You will have to stand road side and they will drop you off on the road side, too. Doesn’t matter if it is raining or cold as hell. Doesn’t matter if it is afternoon or 2 am in the morning.
B.      Runs only between major cities.
C.      Strict with baggage policy. Only one check in is free. You will have to pay for the other when you buy a ticket. If you don’t pay before, they will make you wait until everyone is boarded and let you in only if there is space to accommodate your extra bag.
Common things: Power sockets for every seat (some greyhound buses won’t have it), free Wifi (though it will be slow), one free carry on in addition to one check in bag.
-          If you miss one bus, you can board the next one if there is space. Also, you can board a bus earlier than the one you booked a ticket for, if there is space.
( Note: In case of grey hound- If you talk to the person at the ticket counter in these situations, they will charge a 20$ fee. The best thing to do is to stand in the line to board the bus and ask the driver directly before you get into the bus. He will most probably let you in without any fee. Sometimes he may direct you to the counter.)

3.      Amtrak – It is usually expensive. So, try to book as early as possible. There will be a provision to keep your bags, though large check in bags could be a discomfort.

4.      Flights:  
A.      Southwest: Register to get offers and rewards.
a.      Allows free 2 check in bags in addition to a back pack and 1     carryon.
b.       Fares are reasonable and can be very cheap sometimes if booked during offer period.
c.       You can get a free flight depending on the points you accumulated.

B.      Spirit Airlines: You can get it for very cheap, sometimes as low as 50$
                           But, they charge for baggage and sometimes for the seat.
                The website I commonly use to book flights in the USA: www.kayak.com

                         (Gives all the available options. But, doesn’t show southwest prices.)

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