by Britney Anderson,
When illness or tragedy strikes someone far away, loved ones are often faced with the question of how to handle the sudden expense of a long trip. Some have even had to miss funerals because of the high costs involved in the traditional methods of travel. Fortunately, there are many cheaper alternatives to standard plane tickets. Here are some of these alternatives, along with costs available based on a hypothetical trip from Houston, Texas to Atlanta, Georgia.
Known as bereavement or compassion fares, these rates typically offer up to a 50 percent discount over the standard rates.1 They’re only available to immediate family members, and require a proof to obtain. The catch is that it’s often possible to find even cheaper fares just by buying regular tickets online. Another catch is that not all airlines offer a good discount. United, for example, only gives five percent off. Also, you must call the airlines to find out their current policies and rates, which change regularly.
Amtrak’s fares are known for being affordable, and taking a train is a step up from riding the bus. The kicker is that some trips, like the one from Houston to Atlanta, will have one riding to all sorts of unrelated destinations. This trip, for example, starts with a bus from Houston to Longview, TX; puts you on a train from Longview to Chicago, IL; then puts you on another train from Chicago to Charlottesville, VA; and finally takes you from Charlottesville to Atlanta! 2 All in all, you’ll be riding for about 66 hours. The good part? The cost is $354. However, you may be thinking that a more direct route would be cheaper and more sensible.
Greyhound is a favorite for people with almost no money and a need for long-distance travel. The bus is the very opposite of fancy, and you can expect to meet some unique characters, but it’s the cheapest public transportation there is. If you buy tickets on the web, it’ll only cost you $150 for non-refundable, round-trip tickets.3 The standard, non-web fare is $268. Taking the bus is likely the best financial alternative for getting where you need to go. Since it isn’t limited to where the rails are, the trip will also be more direct. If you need any help check out the Texas loans.
If you have your own car, driving may be your first thought. If you have to rent one, you’ll want to look for a deal. Rent-a-Wreck, which serves Houston and other areas, is a good place to get a cheap rental. Cars there start at about $25 daily, but don’t forget to factor in gas, and any motel that will be needed during your trip.4 Whether driving qualifies as “cheap” depends heavily on which, if any, motels you use and how often you need to stop. This is true whether you own your car or rent, so be sure to factor it in.
These are the major ways for getting to a far-away location without having to come up with thousands of dollars. Greyhound is almost surely the cheapest public transportation, but be on the lookout for special deals on airfare, as well. Remember that your loved ones or family members don’t care how you get to them, so don’t feel limited to a particular method.