Hello, im planning to travel across America May/June/July time next year but am debating how to travel when im out there. Its either between Greyhound or buying a car (at 19 im too young to rent). I would prefer to use Greyhound but im mostly interested in exploring the national parks rather than the cities. Does greyhound offer good service to the national parks? Or will i just end up city hopping? If not, are there any other forms of public transport to the parks? I realise that the bigger parks such as Grand Canyon and Yellowstone are probably easily accessible but what about some of the smaller ones? Also, are their places to leave your backpack at most national parks? Because it wont be much fun lugging a heavy bag around when you're exploring!
I'd really appreciate any advice! Thanks!
You might want to consider taking a group tour where you can leave your backpack either on the bus or in a hotel. A number of companies offer National Park tours. Check out www.starrtours.com, www.applevacations.com, or do a search on group tours to US national parks.
I think you are better off buying a used van and touring the US that way. I have compared the costs of renting versus buying and when you get over 6-8 weeks, it makes more sense to buy a van. There are heaps of used vans available for under $2K. Insurance will run you appox. $100/month. A Dodge Caravan has enough space to sleep in it and still gets decent gas mileage. If you sleep in it while touring the US and use it to camp while in the parks, the savings on accomodations will more than pay for the van. Sell it when you are ready to leave.
Send me a PM if you want additional details.
When I was in Yosemite there were coach tours, and there's probably a way of getting to the Grand Canyon on public transport too. If you want to see Death Valley you'll need your own vehicle. Most of the national parks seemed to have a bus system once you're inside which is really handy and mostly free. But you may need your own transport to actually get to the places. A big piece of advice I have - if you're going to visit a few np's it's worth looking at the yearly pass. We didn't because it looked expensive, and it ended up costing $40 on top of the yearly fee because of the amount of np's we visited. It's about $20 each for a 3 day pass to one park in a vehicle, and $12 on foot, it's something like 4 times that for a yearly pass to all parks, which is good value if like me you plan to visit 6.