Traveling cross-country by bus isn't actually that bad

Let's debunk the myth

When one thinks of European travel, this is usually accompanied by the romantic image of the traveler on the train, looking out the window alone and thinking of their next destination. though there is indeed room for this kind of romanticism, the reality is that trains are expensive and public protests by transit workers common. If the trains are down, how exactly does one get from Prague to Berlin for a weekend trip, from Venice to Verona for a chance to see Juliet's balcony?

Some of you might not like the answer: traveling by bus is most definitely the way to go.

Now, I know what you're thinking: buses are smelly, buses are cramped, buses have no space. If you've lived in a metropolitan city for an extended period of time at any point in your life, the bus is not just a reality but a lifeline: this is how you venture around the city when the subway's down, when your friend lives far but not far enough to merit a trip underground. The bus has different vibes than the subway, despite a very similar cast of characters: the same man pissing on the N Train at 3 AM is most likely the same men yelling at you on the B52 to Ridgewood at dawn.

Now, put the bus in a traveler's context: this is how you get to Boston from New York for under $20. So why did I start this entire rant about the bus mentioning European trains?

Because I once took the midnight Megabus from London to Paris because it was the cheapest way to get to Paris. Because the bus was large, air-conditioned, and spacious. Because I didn't think twice about the fact that I was "taking a bus" from an island into mainland Europe. Because I was greeted by the most beautiful midnight stop at a boat. Because the bus boarded the boat. Because I found myself on a boat to Paris at 4 AM, breathing in the cold sea air, and an hour later boarded the bus that would take me into the city.

The night I got to Paris, I booked several buses across Italy, Spain, and France. I've now seen 12 European countries for less than $200. Experience is currency, and taking the bus cross-country is an experience I've come to treasure. So swallow your pride, and don't cancel your plans just because there's a train strike.


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