Friday, September 21, 2012

Inexpensive Getaways by Bus

If time and/or money for overseas or long distance travel are in short supply (a situation that is pretty common in our current economy,) consider the benefits of an inexpensive chartered bus excursion to lift your spirits. These trips, which usually last one to four days, are available leaving from most major cities and the cost is usually very modest.
Often you can take a bus trip for less than the cost of gasoline if you drive your own car, and you have the opportunity to meet new people. Most of them will be over 50, but if you are younger than that they will probably be very friendly. You also escape the stress of driving yourself.
From Montreal where I live, there are bus excursions most weekends and often even on weekdays. Many of them are to visit casinos or shopping malls, but you are not forced either to gamble or to shop. As long as you find out when the bus is leaving you can take off on your own for sightseeing, dining, or other excrusions.
For example, for just $25 you can enjoy fall foliage in the Laurentians and visit Mont Tremblant village and its casino. There's plenty to do in Mont Tremblant besides play the slots, with interesting boutiques, many good restaurants, hiking trails and chairlifts that operate even out of ski season. This trip also includes a free lunch at the casino. (Who said there is no such thing as a free lunch?)
For similar rates or a little more, you can enjoy a trip to a foreign country and a foreign cultuer, by visiting the Akwesasne Mohawk Casino in northern New York. I haven't been to that casino, but I have often driven through the Mohawk reserve there and found it interesting. The same company that runs these trips also offers frequent shopping trips to Plattsburgh NY and Burlington VT, as well as some farther away such as Lake George NY. The number to call is 514 979-6277, and the operator is a nice woman named Claire.
I'm not usually a big fan of casinos, but a few years ago I did enjoy a visit to the Lac Leamy Casino north of Ottawa on one of these trips. I didn't spend much time in the casino, but persuaded an old friend who lives in Ottawa to come have a drink with me in the bar of the elegant hotel attached to the gambling place. That trip, as I recall, was run by another company, DMC Travel, whose phone number is 514 794-7884. I don't see any single day trips in their latest ad, but there are several two day or longer trips.
These short bus trips tend to be advertised in small neighbourhood newspapers rather than online. If you can't find any in your area, check with local clubs and places of worship which sometimes have similar excursions. And if there aren't any to your liking, this might be a good business opportunity with minimum investment.
The aging population in much of the world means that fewer people will be driving their own cars, but a lot of them will still want to travel at low cost. And from what I have read, many younger people too are eschweing car ownership and could be a new market for bus travel.


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