In 3 weeks, Josh and I are going to take a vacation. Not a big vacation or anything, just a day trip. We've done day-trips before, to Nashville, IN or Columbus, IN, or Parke County, IN. I thoroughly enjoy them- they involve lots of one-on-one time with my husband (in the car), no packing, and are relatively inexpensive, when gas prices are low and we go to these smaller cities. A day-trip to a bigger place, such as Chicago or Cincinnati, however, is a different story. The driving time is longer. Tolls may be incurred. We have to pay for parking. Attractions cost more. Big cities make for more major trips. When we want to take the adventure and not break the budget, what're we to do?
We're doing an experiment. we're going to use public transportation- a foreign concept to us Indiana-dwellers. There's a midwest inter-city bus service called megabus.com that has a few trips every day between Indianapolis and Chicago. How much would a trip from Chicago to Indy cost us, just in transportation, in our car? Google maps says it's 360 miles round trip to Union Station, not including driving elsewhere. 360 mi/30 mpg * $2.75/gal = $33. Parking AT LEAST once in downtown Chicago, probably a couple times would be... $15? I have no idea. I think we go through a toll road on the way (~$4? Again, I don't know.) These conservative numbers, added up, equal $52, without eating or going to any attractions. Now, to megabus.com. Their pricing policy:
Megabus.com one-way fares start as low as $1. Fares will vary by reservation date, day of travel and demand for seats. $1 fares are limited. Fares are subject to change without notice. ... Any change to your reservation may result in a fare increase. Megabus will offer its best prices to those who make reservations early or choose less popular trips. However, all trips will remain competitively priced offering excellent value for your money. Please note that due to the high sales volumes on our website, prices may fluctuate between searches.So, the answer: the price can be anything. But, if, like us, you make a May 5th reservation on March 23rd, you get pretty good prices. The trip there, for 2 seats, is $2. We'll get there by noon and be there into the evening, leaving late. The trip back, for 2 seats, is $9. A reservation fee of 50 cents is charged, bring our grand total transportation costs to & from Chicago up to $11.50, and we'll get dropped off at Union Station right in downtown. Online, we're going to purchase a $5 weekend unlimited train pass for Chicago, so we'll be able to get around downtown wherever we like. Grand total: $21.50, a savings of over $30 in transportation costs, freeing up our budget a bit to actually DO STUFF once we're there. I'll let you know how it goes.
Any sightseeing suggestions? We've been to the Sears Tower and John Hancock building (Anyone remember that story?!) Also, we'll be there on Cinco de Mayo, and it would be cool to get pictures of festivities in a big city. I've already been in Chicago's Chinatown for Chinese New Year, and THAT was a very-cool adventure, for sure.