Getting to your Casino Job
Traveling across the country can be expensive, but some forethought should make your trip less stressful, simpler, and cheaper. The following section includes not only suggestions for low-cost accommodations while en route should you choose to drive, but also a list of airline ticket discounters and other low-cost travel alternatives. Remember, there’s no substitute for sound planning. Don’t gamble on the unknown. Instead, work ahead of time to ensure that the transition is as easy as possible.
The most common way for people to relocate is by car. Auto travel has the advantage of being fairly inexpensive and allowing you the freedom to set your own timetable for departures and arrivals. You also can load much more into a car for your big move than you could traveling by other means. However, if you doubt that your 1967 rustbucket will make it across the Great Divide or you lack wheels of your own, there are alternatives.
Many people take advantage of auto driveaway companies, which are based in major cities all across the country. These firms can be found in the Yellow Pages, usually under the heading “Autos, Driveaway.” Such companies transport cars over long distances for owners who don’t wish to make the trip themselves. Car owners pay a fee to the company, which finds drivers willing to make the trip. If you sign on with a driveaway company, the only charge to you will be the cost of gas for the journey, although you will probably be asked to pay a refundable deposit of one or two hundred dollars to ensure that you don’t skip off with the borrowed car. As you can imagine, most people who can afford to hire someone else to move their cars tend to have expensive tastes, so you may find yourself behind the wheel of a Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, or BMW. Minimum age requirements for drivers vary from company to company, but normally you must be at least 18 or 21 years of age. You will be expected to turn the car in at its destination within a certain time limit, depending on the distance involved, and there are also mileage restrictions to prevent you from taking too many detours along the way. The disadvantage of using driveaway companies is that you might have trouble finding a car that needs to go the same place you’re going at the same time. If you keep a flexible schedule and register with several companies you should find a suitable situation.
Flying the friendly skies is the quickest way to get around for those who can afford it and don’t mind traveling relatively light. There are a few ways to minimize the expense of flying, if you’re concerned about cost. One way is to make your travel plans as far in advance as possible. Generally, if you can purchase your tickets two weeks or more before your trip, your savings will be considerable. Sometimes there is even a price difference with a four-week advance purchase, so consult a travel agent or the airlines themselves to find out about their policies.
Another option well-suited to students in particular is to buy tickets with a credit card. It is usually easy for students to acquire credit cards, and often the credit card companies offer travel-related incentives to new customers. These can be in the form of travel vouchers that enable you to purchase an airline ticket to any American destination for a single discounted fee, perhaps $250 or so. Of course, you will have to buy the ticket using the new card, so pay close attention to your level of debt and don’t fall behind in your payments.
Finally, you may want to consider purchasing your plane ticket through a consolidator. Consolidators contract with various airlines to offer discounted tickets to retail agents and individual customers. They typically offer flights for 20 to 30 percent less than normal economy fares. Although this is an economical way to travel, be aware that ticket deliveries are notoriously slow, and refunds can be made only through the consolidator. To obtain consolidator tickets, contact your travel agent or one of the many discount brokers we have listed in the Travel Center by clicking here.
Train and Bus Travel
Most people don’t consider trains an option for long-distance travel, but recently rail travel has rebounded in popularity. Trains get you where you want to go as fast as buses, but usually with more comfort and style.
They offer roomier seats, better views, and amenities such as dining cars to attract passengers, so getting there can be half the fun.
Amtrak, the American national train service, divides the United States into three zones and charges according to how many zones you cross on your trip. Thus, coast-to-coast travel costs the same regardless of the specific point of departure or arrival. Train fare is generally somewhat cheaper than plane fare but more expensive than bus fare.
Buses are slow and uncomfortable in comparison with other forms of travel, but they have one critical advantage – they’re just about the cheapest way to go. Greyhound buses also go almost anywhere, so we recommend them if you’re low on finances or need to travel to an out-of-the-way destination.