52 States in 8 Months

University of Delaware Directions — and getting around in the US!

Posted in Newark, USA by Ulf on June 20, 2009

At first, there are travel suggestions on the homepage of the UD Office of Foreign Student & Scholars. However, they’re not really complete. Here are the options which I’ve used during my stay here. I wrote this in Summer 2009. I hope that it helps you finding your way around in the United States!

Philadelphia Airport <–> Newark. A very expensive but flexible option is Delaware Express. This is a shuttle service between Philly airport and where ever you live in Delaware. It costs about $50 (including tip) if you make a reservation. I once took them without a reservation, there I paid more like $55. Go to the Ground Transportation Desk at Philly Airport.

septa_logoPhiladelphia Airport <–> Newark, but also: Central Philadelphia, Wilmington. A very nice option is to take the SEPTA R1 train between Philly Airport and “University City”, and the R2 between “University City” and Newark. Some R2 trains don’t go all the way to Newark, in that case you can use the R2 to Wilmington. The ride costs $9, you can buy the ticket at the station.

dartWilmington <–> Newark. There are a number of DART buses going all through Delaware. I often used the Route 6 because it stops close to where I live. That bus takes me directly to the Amtrak Station in Wilmington. Greyhound and the Double Happiness are at the same place. Cost: $1.15, buy the ticket in the bus, have exact change.

Greyhound_logo_right_sizeWilmington <–> Washington, DC. Greyhound offers about 6-8 buses around the day. If you make an early reservation (three weeks in advance) you’ll pay $15.50, otherwise it might be $20 or so. Amtrak has trains running every 30 minutes. They cost $32.00. Once in a day the trains even stop in Newark, so you don’t even have to come to Wilmington. If you take the train in DC or in Wilmington, you can pick up or buy your train tickets at the station. In Newark it’s enough to buy the tickets after boarding the train.

fungwahNew York City <–> Boston. Yes, you could use Amtrak, but you don’t have to: Fung Wah will take you either way for $15. You can buy your ticket in advance, but that’s not necessary. The tickets can be used for any bus, so if you’re early or late, don’t worry.

Wilmington <–> New York City. Although you could use Amtrak for $39.00 (running every 30 minutes), I used Double Happiness for $20 (or $35 round trip), and I was completely satisfied. It is a Chinatown Bus service. You could use a combination of Septa and NJTransit to go to NYC by local trains only.

AK_SPVOther destinations in the US? This is how would I start planning my travel:

  1. Check if gotobus.com has some offer for you.
  2. Check out some other companies such as Megabus.com, Boltbus.com, Jefferson Lines, CoachUSA, … Wikipedia has a good list of intercity bus companies.
  3. Go Greyhound on greyhound.com. They have a station locator which might help you finding the closest station. You can buy tickets online (make use of their 7/14/21-days in advance offers!) and pick them up at any Greyhound station (“Will-call” tickets).
  4. Want a more comfortable ride than a bus? Go Amtrak! They have a PDF with all active train routes (Please note that not all stops are listed — they forgot Newark, for example *g*).
  5. I didn’t want to mention it, but if there are no other choices, you can also look for a flight. For example here, here or here. Sometimes it’s worth booking the flights directly on the websites of the airlines. Keep in mind that many flight routes in the US are subsidized — I don’t like that, therefore I wouldn’t buy tickets on those services. All other airlines just burn a lot of kerosene and pollute the planet.

4 Responses

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  1. Pingu said, on June 20, 2009 at 11:03 am

    Don’t forget kayak.com, they check all the official airline sites at once. And there’s another very convenient way if you stay for a longer time: buy a car :)

  2. Ulf said, on June 20, 2009 at 11:18 am

    Well, a car performs roughly as badly as a plane, so I wouldn’t really consider it as an option. Plus, it’s not as comfortable as a bus or a train on long distances, at least not for the driver. All cities I’ve visited in the US have really a nice public transport system, so you don’t want to have a car in a city. The only point where I would agree: It’s nice to have a rental car to explore larger areas such as a national park or so. However, in the Yellowstone for example, a bike would have been much nicer than a car. (In the South West however, a car was a good decision.)

    Regarding the different flight search engines: To my experience, the results are usually very similar. I just tried to find a flight from PHL to STL on 07/23/2009. Priceline and Cheaptickets offer a US Airways flight for $99, the same flight costs $100 on Kayak, and they all have a bunch of options for $108. It might be a bit different for international flights, I haven’t booked many of them.
    Oh, did I mention that Greyhound does the same route for $66.00? And for more comfort, Amtrak does it for $169.00 (both offer Student Discounts, but I haven’t made use of them).

  3. Pingu said, on June 20, 2009 at 11:24 am

    Ulf, come to the south! Public transport? Not here :-). And it depends, driving for longer distances can become boring, but on the other hand you have the freedom to stop when and wherever you want. And driving is not that exhausting – cruise control and you’re set :).

  4. Ulf said, on June 20, 2009 at 11:31 am

    The Greyhound buses also stop every 2 hours or so, and on most routes in the US there simply is nothing in between to stop for *g*. Also, you can sleep very well both in the Greyhound buses and in the Amtrak trains, which is something you can’t do while driving. Not even with cruise control ;-).
    And: Does your car have a power plug next to every seat and free Wifi? (I have to admit, only the Greyhound buses on the East coast have Wifi so far, so they still have to improve in the mainland…)
    Oh, and spending nights in Greyhound buses also saves motel costs *g*.

    Ok, I haven’t used the public transit in Atlanta (since you were my driver *g*), but what’s wrong about MARTA?

    Greyhound seems to have three stations in Atlanta (at the airport, at the university and in downtown). If you want to get to the Downtown station by public transport, here is your option:
    It takes you 23 to 30 minutes altogether, and the bus stop is less than 300m away from your door. The buses run every half an hour. I would say that this is a very good public transport system!

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