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Greyhound Tips

You will soon realize that the Greyhound bus will be your second home in the USA. It would therefore be useful to know how to best handle your trips:

•    If you intend to do most of your traveling by Greyhound, buy a “Domestic Ameripass’ (description may be found at www.discoverypass.com). If your interview calls are in double digits then this will be the most economical way to travel. However if you think you’ll get lesser number of calls and all of them are not in a particular geographical region, then do consider other options like Amtrak or flying. Greyhound offers you a lot of convenience. It allows you to change bus schedules with utmost ease, whenever you like. Very useful for sudden changes in plan. However, since most of the people who give the tickets don’t know what to do with it, it sometimes causes problems and confusion. You may travel on any bus service. However, if it is non-Greyhound, make sure you show your pass at the ticket counter and get a proper ticket (for free).
•    Domestic Ameripasses may be purchased at the greyhound station immediately before you begin your journey. They may even be bought in advance, but then don’t forget to tell them to label it with the correct starting date, i.e. the date of your first trip. I would advise buying it in advance because, again, not all the people at the ticket counter are very familiar with Domestic Ameripasses.
•    If your trips will be infrequent, buy individual tickets, well in advance. This way, they are cheaper.
•    Stand in line as early as you can. You would hate to miss an interview because you missed the bus.
•    Although you may have a ticket, there is no reservation. If there are fifty people in front of you in line, you will not get on the bus. Thus, get in line early. A bus may already be carrying passengers, and may only take a dozen more. Again, get in line early.
•    NEVER leave baggage unattended. NEVER let documents out of sight, even when you are sleeping! People have lost important documents. Keep them next to you always. If baggage is being unloaded at a stop, be vigilant. Here is a time tested granny tip… stitch a pocket to your vest and keep your passport, money and greyhound bus pass in that. That way even if you lose your entire luggage you will have your ID, $ and bus pass to get back to home base. Make sure it is stitched properly and yet comfortable enough when you wear it with everything in it.
•    Leave all important documents (including your return ticket) at your home base. Interviewers almost NEVER asked for proof of anything; some places ask for ECFMG certificate or degree at the most. Again unless they specifically ask you to bring along a document don’t take anything. 
•    You are allowed four bags in total: two may be loaded under the bus, 50 lb each; two may be taken on board with you, 45 lb each. If your bags weigh any more than 52 lb, they will not allow you to take it with you, even if you just have one bag. Best is to distribute the weight. If you remove the extra weight and put it in a plastic bag to take it on board – that will make them happy.
•    Travel Light! The greyhound will let you carry quite a bit but you will have to carry it everywhere. It is no fun dragging it in snow and up and down subway stairs. So if you pack wisely all you will need is one bag on wheels and one hand carry. All you need to carry is a interview suit, a leather folder, dinner night clothes, shoes and socks, three shirts, one pair of pants, one sweater, alarm clock, phone book (even if your mobile phone has one), something to keep you busy on the bus (iPod, novel, step 3 book), some dry snacks, a water bottle. You would already be in your most comfortable jeans/ warm sweater and coat (buy a woolen coat so it works even on interview day). Anything else that you might need in particular – Makeup? Shalwar Kameez?
•    Before starting your journey ensure that you have your interview itinerary, address and phone numbers (and yahoo/google maps) of your hosts and the program where you would be interviewing at.
•    All bags which are loaded under the bus must be tagged at the ticket counter. Tag all baggage, even the hand carried ones. If you lose a tagged bag they take it to the baggage claim of the destination city and give you a call as well as send a notice on the address you put on the bag.
•    Make sure the conductor tears the right tickets!
•    When you get on the bus (and if you are early) do a quick survey of the bus. There are some  places which are better places to sit than others:
o    The best place is only due to good fortune – about midway along the right side of the bus is a door which allows wheelchair bound people to get on the bus. There, the seats are mobile and can be pushed in front to make room for the wheelchair bound person. Sometimes the conductor forgets to push it back, and there is all the leg room in the world.
o    Next would be the seats immediately behind the front most seats, the latter being reserved for the handicapped. Since a handicapped person is not always there, and the bus is not always full, there is a minimal chance of someone leaning back on you and cramping your sitting.
o    If neither of these are available, stay as close to the front as possible. The further back you go, the louder and nastier the crowd gets (because they are further from the bus driver). Furthermore, the seats are arranged two by two. People tend to look for empty seats. If they see you occupying one, there is a good chance that they will move towards the back. When they realize that there are no more empty seats, they will be at the back of the bus, and will just occupy one there.
o    Know that the seats are not regularly placed. There are slight differences in the amount of leg room available. Sometime you may strike quite lucky!
o    Buy neck rests. You can sleep anywhere without getting a cramp with them on. If not take a window seat; use your sweater as a pillow against the window.
•    You can silently tell people that you do not want company by placing your bag next to you. However, if the bus starts to look full, then, be nice and move your bag.
•    There are some stops where you can get off at, but you cannot get on (‘limited service bus stops’ are suffixed with a (B) on the website for greyhound).
•    Although rare but if ever you get stranded in a greyhound terminal, call up your friends to let them know where you are and how long you are expected to be there/ call up anyone you know in the city to get rescued from the terminal/ call up a cab and go to a well known hotel (no cheap motels). If all else fails and you have to spend a very long time in the terminal you can go the help desk and ask them to keep your luggage at a safe place (bigger bus terminals might charge you a bit for it). With no luggage to take care of stretch your legs and maybe even sleep a bit.
•    Regardless of what impression you may be getting, it is not all that bad! I still recommend the Ameripass as the most economical way to travel.


Note: This article has been derived from "Roadmap to Residency" authored by AKU graduates, with permission from few of the authors. Name of the original author, has purposely not been mentioned on request of one of the authors, for privacy reasons. If you are the original author of this article and want your name to be mentioned or wish this article to be modified/ removed from this website, please contact us and we would be more than happy to entertain your request. We fully respect your privacy, acknowledge your efforts put in authoring this article and appreciate your hard work involved in it.

 I think they discontinued

 I think they discontinued the discovery/ ameripass. 

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