Travel has always been an amazing opportunity to expand your experiences, to learn about the world and to have an adventure. Once upon a time, it was pretty easy to hop on a flight and see the world. Long before you had to worry about potential terrorism or planes disappearing, air travel was stress free and maybe even fun. But now, with security lines, minimal legroom, maximum price tags, crowded airports and snack-free flights becoming the norm, it’s a little less enticing to travel at 30,000 feet. The good news is that you can still see the world; you just have to travel in slightly different ways—namely, on the ground. Which is exactly why train and automobile travel is booming these days.
Polina Raygorodskaya, Co-Founder & CEO of Wanderu, a website and app that makes it easy to find and book bus and train travel across North America, explains that more and more young people are avoiding plane trips and instead finding other modes of travel. “Statistics show that almost 80 percent of bus travelers in the U.S. are Millennials, whose most challenging need is their constant desire for instant gratification,” she explains. While you might have to book airline travel months in advance, “with Wanderu you can literally book your ticket and be on your way within minutes and still get an awesome deal!” Now that you know booking travel can be easy and affordable, even in 2015, you can skip the stress of airline travel and just get right to the good stuff. Here are 7 trips on bus lines or trains that can change your life. Peace out, airfare!
Read Related: 15 Great American Train Rides You Cannot Miss
1. Grand Canyon, Arizona
The Grand Canyon is one of the most breathtaking sites in the world and it’s actually more impressive than you could ever imagine, which is why you have to see it in person. But why simply fly or sit in a car for hours, when you can explore the canyon region by rail? The Grand Canyon Railway has been operating for over 100 years, and it provides a fun and luxurious way to tour the canyon, including an optional overnight stay in a lodge on the canyon rim. The views en route to the canyon aren’t half bad either.
2. Northwest Passage: Oregon to Vancouver
Most people associate the Pacific Northwest with rainy weather and gray days. But the Northwest also boasts amazing sites, great cities, and wildlife experiences you can’t see anywhere else. From mountain peaks (think Mt. Rainier) to orca whales in the Puget Sound, you’ll see some pretty breathtaking sights. As far as cities go, Seattle and Vancouver are two of the best in the world, and the Willamette Valley in Oregon is known for it’s Pinot Noir (among other delicious wines). Bonus: you can travel this area by train or bus, and you can bring your bike so you can explore your destinations one pedal stroke at a time.
3. Napa Valley, California
Wine lovers unite; Napa Valley is a must-see destination for oenophiles and also for regular people who happen to love beautiful scenery, amazing food and delicious wine. And one of the best parts about touring Napa is that you have options for transportation, and none of them involve you driving or any airfare. The Napa Valley Wine Train allows you to explore the Napa region, including wineries and restaurants, via beautifully restored vintage rail cars. Talk about a romantic adventure…wine, gorgeous sites and riding in style—doesn’t get much better than that. This is a trip that every foodie must experience.
4. The Canadian Rocky Mountains
If you’ve never seen the Canadian Rockies, now is the time to visit this gorgeous mountain range, and what’s more fun than experiencing this epic destination by train? The Rocky Mountaineer company has been helping people explore the Rockies of 25 years, so it’s safe to say they know what they are doing when it comes to luxury rail travel. You’ll see amazing wildlife and breathtaking views, all from a beautiful train cabin complete with gourmet indulgences and first-class amenities.
5. Las Vegas, Nevada
A life-changing trip doesn’t have to imply a serious and educational voyage—it can simply be an adventure that is all about fun, indulgence, and, well, a little sin. A trip to Vegas is a must for anyone looking to experience over-the-top shows, shopping, nightlife, the best restaurants, and of course, some casino action. And if you aren’t into all that crazy energy and action, you can escape to one of the many national parks nearby, to Lake Med or to famous Red Rock Canyon, which is only about 20 minutes away. And the good news is that this trip to remember is easier than ever thanks to round-trip bus service from cities like Los Angeles, Phoenix and San Diego.
6. Disney World
Disney isn’t just a dream vacation for kids…the big kid in all of us will love the magic and fun of visiting this world-famous park. It’s a must for any family with kids—just watching the expressions on your kids’ faces is well worth the trip (and the long lines, the crowds and the high price tags for souvenirs and snacks). And the best part is you don’t need airfare to get there. If you live on the east coast there are plenty of bus options to get to Orlando , and there is a great public bus and monorail service around the park once you arrive.
7. California Coast
One of the most beautiful drives in the world is up the California coast, cruising along the Pacific Coast Highway, with ocean as far as the eye can see as you travel between San Diego and San Francisco. The Starlight train makes this trip easy…no traffic jams or road rage necessary. You’ll enjoy unsurpassed views of the Pacific Ocean, all while relaxing in a luxury train. You’ll get to actually enjoy the views since you won’t have to focus on the road, and these views of the ocean will soothe your soul and change your mood, guaranteed.