WEALTHY WEDNESDAY: Planes, trains and automobiles*
Planes: Airfarewatchdog is particularly useful if you’re looking to take off on a quick jaunt sometime in the very near future. You can even customize to receive emails with fare updates to desired locales.
Trains: I’ve never been a huge proponent of trains, at least not for longer trips. Amtrak can be costly — sometimes as costly as a flight — and a time suck, depending on how many stops there are on your route. Amtrak also seems much better suited to those on the coasts than to those in all that territory in-between. That said, I think there is a time and a place for taking the train and that’s typically for any trip less than six hours. For those looking to take a brief respite, Amtrak is currently offering 25% off select routes for the next three weeks. If you live in Indiana, you won’t
get a deal, but you will if you live in Chicago, St. Louis or New York state.
Automobiles*: There’s an asterisk here because I’m really more interested in talking about discount bus services, like Megabus and Greyhound Express, than cars. Let me also preface this by saying the first seven times I used Megabus, it was a hot mess. I took the Ann Arbor, Mich.-Chicago route several times over the course of one summer five or so years ago to visit my girlfriend who was interning in the Windy City. Without fail, the bus was always late picking up from Chicago for the return journey, including one memorable rain-soaked night when it showed up THREE HOURS late … oh yeah, and they only sent a single-deck bus when there were enough people to fill a double-decker. Oops. Well, I’m happy to say the Indianapolis-Chicago route seems much more organized, as does competitor Greyhound Express (although, our bus driver once waited 20 minutes for one person to get on the bus before departing. Personally, I don’t think one person should hold up 100 more.).
Megabus used to boast that some seats were just $1, although, it seems they’ve backpedalled on that, probably because it’s seldom true. Still, round-trip for one from Indy to Chicago around the Fourth of July will set you back only about $60. Greyhound Express will set you back about half that, plus, unlike Megabus, Greyhound usually has stations, which is a nice perk in inclement weather (many Megabus stops are outside on a street). Just make sure you book your Greyhound tickets at least 14 days in advance to get up to 25% off your fare.