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FAQ – Overland Travel In The Americas

What Is Overland Travel Like In The United States?

Unfortunately it’s rather poor. The US is huge, and most citizens have cars, so flying and driving is the preferred mode of travel for most Americans.

  • Amtrak has tracks all over the country, but it can be pretty expensive unless you book far enough in advance.
  • Buses are much of the same, though Megabus is a fairly new budget bus company which offers super cheap fares (as low as $10 each way) if you book far enough in advance (a few months in some cases). The downfall of Megabus is that there simply aren’t that many routes yet (Megabus primarily serves only the Midwest and East Coast).
  • Greyhound is the main bus company that serves most of the US, but it is typically more expensive than Megabus. The routes are much more extensive though.

What About Canada? Is It The Same As The US?

It’s pretty similar as far as options and costs. Traveling by train is a great way to see the beauty and vastness of Canada, but it won’t be cheap. VIA Rail is the main train company in Canada, while Greyhound is the main bus company serving the country.

I’ve Heard Horror Stories About Bus Travel In Central America. True?

Partly. The dreaded chicken buses are the preferred mode of transport in Central America for many backpackers, and some can be as horrific as you’ve heard. However, you do have more options for bus travel in Central America than the infamous chicken bus.

  • International and Luxury Buses are actually superior to Greyhound buses in the US and Canada, are typically air conditioned, and can be extremely comfortable. Don’t let the luxury tag throw you off. The price, while not nearly as cheap as a chicken bus, is still affordable for those not on a super dirt cheap budget.
  • Minibuses are another option for travel between cities in each country. They are small, they are crowded, and they are not terribly comfortable (mainly because they cram twice as many people in as it holds), but they are cheap.
  • Chicken Buses are the ones you’ve heard about-the old, beaten up, American school buses that have been repainted for use in Central America. These local buses are by far the cheapest and most entertaining mode of transport, and you’ll be sure to have a story to tell after taking one.

Is South America The Same As Central America?

Actually, overland travel in South America is surprisingly good in most countries, and it’s really affordable for the comfort you get. It obviously differs from country to country, with Argentina having the best bus options and Bolivia the worst (the infamous La Paz to Rurrenabaque is known as one of the worst bus rides in the world). Countries like Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru have spotty service, with some bus rides being fantastic and some, well, not so much. Overall, though, South America has it down when it comes to overland travel, and you will certainly have more great experiences than terrible ones, without having to shell out a ton of cash.

For more specific information about Overland Travel In The Americas, including resources to use and sample fare prices, be sure to check out this article.

It’s also a good idea to read up on the FAQ’s for specific information on overland travel in each region of the world:

FAQ – Overland Travel In Africa And The Middle East
FAQ – Overland Travel In Europe
FAQ – Overland Travel In Russia And Central Asia
FAQ – Overland Travel In India
FAQ – Overland Travel In China And Southeast Asia
FAQ – Overland Travel In Australia And New Zealand

Next RTW FAQ-Overland Travel in Africa and the Middle East »

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