I’m a freelance writer, journalist, and creator of Europe By Bus.
Last year, I did a trip from New York to L.A without driving a car.
Car-less Road Trips
I never learned to drive, which I know confuses a lot of people. I’m from London, where the congestion charge, crazy busy roads and the intense cost of living makes cars a lot less attractive.
People told me it wouldn’t be possible to travel across the USA without a car, but it was much easier than I thought. The USA isn’t as good as Europe when it comes to alternative travel methods, but it is possible.
The idea of spending hours sitting with a bunch of strangers while racing through the highways of the USA might not be everyone’s idea of a good time, but as someone who’s never visited the states before I found it weirdly entertaining.
I found everything fascinating, from the gas stations to the little towns and endless stretches of desert. From my super brief visit to Kentucky, gas stations in Nevada, to cruising along the Californian coast.
You hear a lot of horror stories about buses in the States. I’m not saying bad things don’t happen or you shouldn’t be careful, but I personally never had any problems.
The greyhound is a convenient, cheap way to get from place to place. You get the occasional crazy person, but you’ll run across them at some point no matter where you go. Many different people catch the bus in America for a lot of different reasons.
You get professors, backpackers, students, families, children, people who are going home and people who are going on adventures.
You might end up sitting next to a gangster who plays super loud music, or you might sit next to a nice lady who gives you half her cereal bar. You won’t know what to expect, but 99% of the time it’ll all turn out okay. Just keep an eye on your belongings, bring some headphones and enjoy the ride.
Alternative Means Of Transport
I’ve travelled from London to Bulgaria and back again without catching a single plane or setting foot in a car. I’m a huge advocate of ground-based travel, i.e. buses, trains, and ferries because you get to see so much more. Places you’d never seen any other way. There is so much more to travel than flying.
Glimpses into villages, isolated (or abandoned) farms, nature, cities, coastal towns. The palaces you don’t have time to visit individually but you still enjoy along the way.
You also tend to meet more people on those kinds of trips. From tiny interactions that give you a new found faith in humanity, to spending 12 hours getting to know someone on the train.
Travelling solo is something all women (and men) should try at least once. Travelling alone allows you to see what you want to see, go where you want to go, be as social or as reclusive as you want.
When you’re on your own, you have to figure out your own itinerary. You have to sort out your own accommodation, change your own money, book your own transport and find your way around a completely new place.
These things might sound intimidating, but when you realise you can manage it, it will boost your self-esteem and make you feel empowered, adventurous and free.
Women sometimes have worries about travelling alone, and I can sympathise that some parts of the world may seem less welcoming than others, but by reading other people’s experiences and doing some research you’ll be able to determine where you’d feel comfortable visiting.
The Flying Vegetarian
I’m not big on fancy excursions, all-inclusive resorts or package holidays. There’s nothing wrong with those things, but it’s just not something I’ve ever really done. I like cheap hostels, free walking tours, cooking my own food, and just wondering the streets of a strange city to see what’s going on.
This blog is about budget solo female vegetarian travel in the USA, but I hope to add many more locations later on!