Top 10 Hottest Getaways 2007

We have recently put together a summer travel guide for those who want to get the most out of their getaways– without a car or a map!

According to a survey conducted by tripadviser.com, the world largest travel planning and social site, the Top 10 Summer Getaways for 2007 are:

1. Orlando, Florida- The Orlando 5 Day Tour Package, $389
2. Cirque du Soleil, Las Vegas, Nevada- L.A. to Las Vegas Tours, starting $99.
3. Maui, Hawaii- Hawaii tour 1-7 Days, starting from $299.
4. The Grand Canyon, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona- Las Vegas, Grand Canyon West Rim 3 Day Tour, $144 .
5. Central Park, New York, New York- New York City 1-Day Tour
6. Alcatraz, San Francisco, California –San Francisco 5 hour Comprehensive Tour, $60
7. Top of the Rock Observation, New York, New York-Shop, Hop and Top 3 Day Value Package, $109.
8. Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey Bay, California- Monterey, Bay Aquarium, Carmel and 17-Mile Tour, $81.
9. Bellagio Fountains, Las Vegas, Nevada
10. San Diego Zoo, San Diego, California-San Diego Zoo One Day Tour, $45

GotoBus.com’s Top Picks for the 7 Natural Wonders in the US

Cambridge, MA (PRWEB) July 18, 2007 — GotoBus.com (http://www.gotobus.com/), the world’s leading online travel site for more than 1,500 bus tours, sightseeing tours and vacation packages in the US and Canada, has hand-picked best bus tours for you to experience the Top 7 Natural Wonders in the U.S.

Number One:

The Grand Canyon, AZ — Whether you believe it took millions of years or whether you believe its an obvious result of a great flood, its become irrelevant when you see the scale. If you want to challenge yourself — step on the newly built Grand Canyon Skywalk, a glass bridge hanging 4,000 feet from the Colorado River. We recommend the L.A. to Grand Canyon, Las Vegas 3 Day Tour, $99

Number Two:

Yosemite National Park, CA — Did you know what 95% of the Yosemite National Park is designated wilderness? This is where the hordes of people gather to get away from the hustle bustle of city life … however, it is not difficult to take a walk and find your own little sanctuary among nature. The Valley floor is also the center to see places like Yosemite Falls, Half Dome, El Capitan, etc. Our Tours to Yosemite departing from L.A., starting $120.

Number Three:

Niagara Falls, NY — There is something about Niagara Falls that appeals to the nature lover, daredevil and artist in everyone. Three large waterfalls falling 61 meters with large amounts of water pouring over. A must see. Take the well-known “Maid of the Mist” boat ride, which takes you right into the Falls. GotoBus’s most popular New York to Niagara Falls 2 Days Tour, $110 , now buy two get one free.

Number Four:

Sequoia National Park, CA — Enjoy the magnificent, giant trees in the Redwood National Park. The size and beauty of these trees is only enhanced by having them all in one place, creating the perfect cool environment with lots of fresh air. Try ourSequoia, Lake Tahoe, Napa 3 Day Tour, $138.

Number Five:

Yellowstone National Park, CA — Yellowstone has plenty over 10,000 hot springs and geysers. Throw in trees and a swim in hot pools and you’ll be in heaven. Try our Yellowstone, Mt. RushMore, Arch 7-Day Tour Package at $394

Number Six:

Ruby Falls, TN — 200 million years in the making, Ruby Falls is a 145 foot underground waterfall over 1120 feet beneath the mountain’s surface. The fascinating story of Lookout Mountain and Ruby Falls is told by their unusual geological phenomena. Join our Boston to Tennessee 4 Day Tour, $218.

Number Seven:

Shenandoah Caverns, VA — See beautiful underground formations like the famous Breakfast Bacon once featured in National Geographic. Take the Washington D.C., Shenandoah 2 Day Tour, $100.

About GotoBus
GotoBus is the leading online marketplace for bus tickets and tours. The GotoBus online booking system, similar to those used by major airlines, makes it easy for travelers to quickly compare schedules, prices, and pickup/drop-off locations for over 100 bus companies throughout the United States and Canada. GotoBus.com is the fastest growing gateway for bus travel on the Internet. In February 2007, The Washington Post featured GotoBus.com as one of the best travel websites and named it “Best of the Web” in the “Motorcoaches” category.
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Vegas! Laughlin! London Bridge! A $99 Bus Tour

This is an article featured in L.A. Times by Rosemary McClure, a talented writer at L.A. Times who took our L.A. to Grand Canyon 3 day tour. This is really an interesting, offbeat read! I have quoted the first part of the article and attached the article link to the post.

For more information about our L.A. to Grand Canyon tours, please visit a list of Grand Canyon Tours from Los  Angeles

TOURS & CRUISES LAS VEGAS & GRAND CANYON

Vegas! Laughlin! London Bridge! A $99 bus tour

Throw in the Grand Canyon for a bargain 3-day roundtrip tour from Los Angeles.

By Rosemary McClure, Times Staff Writer

May 17, 2007

Las Vegas, Nevada

The online advertisement listed a jaw-dropping price: Three days of sightseeing, including transportation, hotels and entertainment, for $99.

“No way,” I told a colleague. “You probably end up spending $99 on the tour and $70,000 on a time share in Barstow.”

Editor’s note: This week, we’re experimenting with a new interactive map feature, where you can view the trip itinerary and contribute your comments and photos. Note that all contributions will be moderated by L.A. Times staff, so there may be some delay in posting. We invite you to weigh in on our new Travel Message Boards with your comments and feedback.
But the cheapie tour was a genuine deal — and there was never a timeshare pitch. For less money than I spent on my last trip to the supermarket, I was whisked to the Colorado River, the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas. I had some spine-tingling moments of adventure; I got a taste of international travel; and I had a little time left over to shop, gamble and sight-see.

I even acquired a new name: Tammy Chan. And Times photographer Anne Cusack, who accompanied me, was re-christened Becky Wong. But more about that later.

This low-cost bus tour was part of a burgeoning segment of the U.S. travel industry that caters to budget vacationers. Cut-rate companies, based mainly on the East and West coasts, advertise on the Internet and are sharply competitive, offering sightseeing tours for about a third the price of many long-established companies. They slash prices, cut corners — so there’s a definite element of surprise, risk and adventure in traveling with them. But the bottom line is this: With transportation and hotels included, this bus trip was a genuine travel bargain, albeit with some downsides.

For full article, please visit http://travel.latimes.com/articles/la-trw-cheapvegas20may18

5 Steps to Finding Your Perfect Bus Tour

Planning a trip can be exhausting. You finally decided to take a bus tour, which include the transportation, hotels, a well-planned itinerary, plus a travel expert who have the insider scoop and will guide you through the journey.

Nice, isn’t it? You get on the bus, put down your luggage, kick back, and someone will take care of the rest. However, before getting on the bus, there is some homework for you to do. We have designed a five-step guide for you to easily find your perfect bus tour.

1. Going through a Travel Agency.

This is a world of collaboration. Instead of hitting tens and hundreds of different tour operators, a smart way will be going through a travel agency where you can compare all the tour itineraries, schedules and prices all in one stop. Online travel agencies have gone a long way to make it easy for travelers to search their trips efficiently by key words, times and locations. A lot of times travel agencies also offer additional discounts and promotional vacation packages for those who travel on a tight budget.

2. Knowing your Limits.

Before planning for a trip, ask yourself some questions: Where does the trip start? For how many days? Where are the places you want to visit? And how much do you plan to spend without breaking your bank? Most of the online travel sites allow travelers to search for trips by using the 3 Ds: Departure, Destination, and Duration.

Another question that is commonly neglected by travelers is “How intense the bus tour you want it to be?” Do you want to visit lots of places in a weekend getaway, or you want to take it slow by staying in one place? With an escorted tour, visiting a lot of attractions in a short amount of time maybe perfect for those who want to get the most out of their journey; however, not so much for those who prefer to relax and take their time. If you’re not sure about the intensity of the tour, pick up your phone and call the agency to talk to a real person.

3. What is Included?

As the travel industry gets fiercely competitive, travel agencies are tightening their margins to attract more customers. It is not uncommon for travelers to find too-good-to-be-true travel deals with a little extra time and effort researching online. However, what you see is not always what you get. For a bus tour, transportation and accommodation are almost always included. Other factors you might want to take into account include: Does the tour provide airport/hotel pick-up? Which attractions are paid for and which ones are optional (admission fees not included)? Is the travel insurance included? What hotels are you staying in?

4. What Language Do You Speak?

This one seems obvious but is neglected very often. Most of travel agencies in the U.S. require tour guides who speak English. However, there are many tours out there that are guided by people who speak multiple languages. It is not uncommon to find someone who is multilingual and can guide a tour in fluent English, Spanish, and Chinese. For those who speak English as a second language, it could be nice to find a tour that is guided in your mother tongue. On the other hand, if you prefer the tour guide to speak one language instead of switching among five other languages, you might want to avoid multiple language tours.

5. Rules, Rules, Rules

Is there a refund policy? What is the cancellation policy? Do they take credit card or check? Visit the website and understand the legal aspect of the agency will not only protect you for your rights, but also give you some ideas of when and how you want to book a tour.

After all, knowing what to expect and plan ahead is always the safest way to enjoy your trip!

For more information about escorted bus tours and great travel deals, visit GotoBus.com, a leading online travel agency offers bus tours and vacation packages throughout more than 200 operators in the U.S. and Canada.

GotoBus Named Best of the Web in Washington Post

CAMBRIDGE, MA, February 28, 2007. On February 4, Sunday Edition, The Washington Post featured GotoBus.com, along with Hotels.com, Kayak.com, Mapquest.com and TripAdvisor.com, as the best travel websites.

In particular, GotoBus.com was named the best website in the “Motorcoaches” category, topping grayline.com, greyhound.com and trailways.com. The Washington Post indicates that online travel bookings hit $85 billion last year and this year are expected to account for more than half of all U.S. travel bookings.

GotoBus.com was officially launched at the end of January 2006, replacing IvyMedia.com, to better reflect the core business of the company: selling bus tickets and bus tours online. IvyMedia.com started to sell bus tickets and bus tours since 2002.

Jimmy Chen, President of IvyMedia Corporation/GotoBus.com, is pleased with the recognition from the major US news organization: “Despite of a glitch discovered by The Washington Post, they rank GotoBus.com as the best website in the ‘Motorcoaches’ category. As we are encouraged by this recognition, we will continue to improve our services to provide better value to our customers and travel suppliers.” GotoBus.com is the leading online ticketing company for bus-related travel.

To find out more information about the top travel websites in various categories, please visit: Original Washington Post Article or Re-post by Delaware Online.

About GotoBus

GotoBus is the leading online marketplace for bus tickets and tours. The GotoBus online booking system is similar to those used by major airlines, and makes it easy for travelers to quickly compare schedules, prices, and pickup/drop-off locations for over 100 bus companies throughout the United States and Canada. GotoBus.com is the fastest growing gateway for bus travel on the Internet today.

For more information contact: marketing at gotobus dot com or 1-617-354-2101.

Gambling (and Shopping) Getaways!

Looking for something to do this weekend? Don’t have a car? Try a single-day bus package that provides round-trip transportation: great for a care-free day of casino fun or outlet mall deals.

In the Boston area, the perfect opportunities are a casino package to Mohegan Sun or a shopping trip to Wrentham Village Premium Outlets.

For the shoppers and bargain hunters, if you’re tired of the same old shopping scene with the same stores carrying the same merchandise (and prices) in the immediate Boston area, take a trip to Wrentham’s outlet mall. You will “find savings of 25% to 65% every day” from 170 brand names all in one place, and the “New England style village” provides a pet-friendly outdoor breath of air between stores. Lockers as well as stroller rentals are available. You’ll be able to spend a full day here, too, because the food court, Friendly’s, Ruby Tuesday, and The Village Café are all right on the premises. Other restaurants such as Cracker Barrel and Uno are just down street.

Requiring a 45 minute drive from Boston, Wrentham’s outlet mall is the closest to Boston of its type. The mall is well worth the drive for many shoppers and deal-seekers. Why not take the round-trip bus ride for a comfortable, care-free trip and avoid the hassle of traffic and parking.

To see trip details, or to just book it, Click Here!

If you want to gamble, or if you’re just looking for a place to hang out, find a little entertainment, and have some great food, a casino bus package may be the thing for you. Purchasing the Mohegan Sun casino travel package provides you round-trip transportation, “a bonus of $20 towards bets, and a $15 dining certificate towards Mohegan Sun’s vast choice of fine restaurants.” So even if you don’t have the income to gamble, you can still have a little fun with that $20 bonus. But if you’re just not the gambling type, Mohegan Sun has many other distractions, such as great eating (Johnny Rockets, Michael Jordan’s Steak House, Todd English’s Tuscany), great shopping (Coach, Swarovski, Yankee Candle), and some world-class performances (Rod Stewart, Willie Nelson, Justin Timberlake).

Have a young child? Children cannot gamble at Mohegan Sun, but there is childcare in the form of Kids Quest / Cyber Quest. But if you don’t want to pay for that, you could visit the spa. In fact, there’s so much to do, you might want to stay an extra day or two. And at such a low price, what’s the harm in buying an extra ticket?

To see schedules and departure details, or to book this trip, Click Here!

Both single-day bus trips can be found on GotoBus.com.

GotoBus.com Adds Line Run Bus Service Between New York and State College, PA

New bus line offers true alternative to Greyhound bus service.

CAMBRIDGE, MA, October 26, 2006— Beginning October 25th GotoBus.com will offer direct bus service between downtown Manhattan and State College – home of the Penn State University. Through its partnership with the bus line All State Bus, GotoBus will add 6 daily scheduled departures on this popular route. The non-stopped bus service will have pickup and drop off locations on 156 E Broadway and 153 Lafayette St in downtown Manhattan (Chinatown) and on 1631 N Atherton St in State College.

All State Bus is the first operator to run low cost bus service between State College and New York City. It provides an important connection to New York City for resident of w wide area of the County as well as the college students at Penn State University. Pricing between State College and New York is $30 one way and $60 roundtrip. At $16-28 less than Greyhound’s standard fare, the new service offers a true budget alternative to Greyhound and Amtrak.

Tickets for the New York to State College bus service can be purchased online at: http://www.gotobus.com/allstatebus/

Chinatown Bus Lines–the Answer to Cheap Transportation

A Guide to the Chinatown Bus

The word is out—the cheapest way to get from one major U.S. city to another is on the “Chinatown bus”. In recent years this has become transportation option of choice for budget travelers in New York, Washington DC, and Boston, and more recently on the West Coast. Students, backpackers, and an array of other savvy travelers have long loved the rock bottom prices that these bus companies offer. Despite the popularity of these bus lines it can still be difficult to find information on Chinatown bus service.
What exactly is a “Chinatown Bus”? Read on and you will have the inside track on this great budget travel option.

Chinatown Bus history

The Chinatown bus phenomenon began in the late 1990s when an entrepreneur in New York’s Chinatown started running daily bus service from Chinatown in New York to Chinatown in Boston. The service was aimed at Asian immigrants who wanted to shop or visit relatives in either city and needed cheap and convenient transportation. The service was bare bones—no advertising, customer service, or bus stations. Customers simply went to the bus stop, waited for the bus (or van), and paid the driver upon boarding. For those willing to do without frills, they offered virtually the same service as traditional bus companies at a substantially lower price. Before long, the word spread and all kinds of people started using the service. It became especially popular with students, budget travelers, or people for whom the service was simply more convenient.

Soon more bus companies duplicated this model and started offering service in other cities. Now you can find this type of bus service in Philadelphia, Virginia, Baltimore Washington DC, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and San Francisco. At this point the term “Chinatown bus” is used more loosely to describe this sort of low-cost/low-frills service. Many, if not most, of the companies do not have Chinatown as their main location and may not cater to the immigrant population at all. These operators are also sometimes referred to as “curbside” operators.

How can tickets be so cheap?

$15 between New York to Boston? $25 from Las Vegas to Los Angeles? It seems hard to fathom. Chinatown bus companies are able to keep prices low because they operate in a fundamentally different way from traditional carriers. Foremost, the service is very basic. There is little in the way of customer service or amenities. Most of these operators do not have formal stations, picking up passengers at bus stops instead. They eschew traditional advertising in favor of word of mouth. Further, many of the operators play a very hands-on role in the operation—you will not see idle executives at a small independent bus company. Finally, these operators make sure they fill their buses. That is why Chinatown bus operators usually only operate on heavily trafficked routes. Indeed some companies only run buses at peak times.

Are they safe?

When these companies first started operating, concerns were raised about safety standards. There is still controversy within the bus industry about whether these newcomers are complying with the same regulations as the traditional companies. However, a task force set up by the Federal government to look at safety issues found that Chinatown bus companies did not perform better or worse than other types of bus companies (ie. charter, tour buses). All bus companies operating in the U.S. must undergo the same inspection standards and must comply with the same rules. Realistically there is probably a range of quality among Chinatown bus carriers. Some are fly-by-night operators trying to make a fast buck, while others are legitimate entrepreneurs who plan to grow and operate a long term business.

What you should expect

    • No frills service—the driver may be the ticket collector; there will not be a lot of customer service.

 

    • Comfortable buses. Despite the low fares buses are usually quite nice. Most buses are comparable to Greyhound and many are actually more deluxe.

 

    • Communication challenges. Drivers are legally required to speak enough English to help passengers in the case of emergency. In reality this is often adhered to rather loosely. At the very least, expect your driver to have an accent.

 

    • Possible delays. Many of these bus routes are on highly congested roads. When the roads are busy, expect delays.

 

    • Rest stops. Buses will have a lavatory on board but there is usually a 10 or 15 minute bathroom break on trips over 4 hours. Don’t be late returning to the bus, the driver will not count heads before leaving at the appointed time.

 

    • Full buses. Buses definitely sell out at peak times (weekends and evenings). Book ahead or get there early if you want secure a seat.

 

  • Plastic Bags. An odd little quirk on Chinatown buses is that every aisle seat usually has a plastic grocery bag tied to the arm. I guess they find this is the best way to keep the buses clean.

How do I find the Chinatown Bus?

Again, “Chinatown bus” is a term used to describe a type of operator and not an individual bus company. Many unrelated bus companies fall into this category. Since most Chinatown buses do not spend money on advertising it can be difficult to find out details about schedules and bus stop locations. Many of the carriers are becoming savvier about the Internet and quite a few have websites with information. Usually an Internet search will yield links to bus service to your destination. There are also several directories, such as www.chinatown-bus.org that include links for most Chinatown bus companies. Also, www.gotobus.com is a centralized booking site that has schedules and sells tickets online for most Chinatown bus companies.

The Chinatown bus is not for everyone. If you want an orderly system with American style customer service, you should probably stick to traditional carriers. However, if you know what to expect and come prepared with a sense of adventure and humor, you should enjoy the trip just fine. You will also enjoy the money you save!

Violet Sorenson works for GotoBus.com, the leading online marketplace for bus tickets and tours in the USA. You can find out more information about the company at: http://www.gotobus.com/. The author can be reached at marketing at gotobus.com.

 

GotoBus Launches Affiliate Program

GotoBus.com offers first affiliate program for bus travel on the Internet

CAMBRIDGE, MA, February 14, 2006—Gotobus.com, the leading online marketplace for bus tickets and tours, announced the formal launch of its affiliate program. The program will allow affiliate partners to earn commission on a pay-per-sale basis. Affiliates can either choose to promote GotoBus as a booking partner by linking to the site. Or, the GotoBus booking system can be embedded into the partner website to allow direct booking of bus tickets and tours. Either way the affiliate earns money on every sale from a referring website.

http://www.gotobus.com/affiliate/.

Jimmy Chen, GotoBus.com President, says the service will be the only one of its kind, “The advent of our affiliate program is really the first time website owners will be able to earn money by selling bus travel from their website. We see it as a great compliment to the other travel products that are currently available online from travel related websites.”

The program was developed to in response numerous requests from travel related websites that wanted to offer their customers online booking for bus tickets. The launch of the affiliate program is the latest effort by IvyMedia Corp to expand its online bus ticketing business. In January of this year the company announced that it was formally changing its domain name to GotoBus.com to better serve its customers.

Benefits of the GotoBus affiliate program include:

  • Easily modifiable look and feel—booking system can be fully integrated into partners’ website.
  • Customizable booking window—partners can choose the travel products they sell (coming soon).
  • Straightforward commission structure
  • Easily accessible account information
  • Easy online registration

Getting Around the USA–When is the Bus Your Best Option?


Visitors to the US have many options when it comes to getting around. In the land of (relatively) cheap gas and expensive trains, renting a car is often the most appealing option. On the other hand, for journeys between cities that are further than a few hours drive, flying quickly becomes a viable option. Still there are other times when the best option is taking the bus. How should you determine when this is your best option? Read on.

Bus travel in the US

Whether or not it is warranted, bus travel has a somewhat beleaguered reputation in the U.S. Many consider line run bus service to offer the most basic level of service. In truth there is a wide range of service offered, from luxury to budget, depending on the bus carrier. The bus industry in the United States is dominated by Greyhound, which is the only bus company with service nationwide. Several other companies such as Trailways and Coach USA are made up of independently owned bus companies that share marketing functions and branding. In addition there are several strong regional players in the bus industry, although they may share service with Greyhound on certain routes.

A newer development in the bus industry is the “Chinatown bus”. This is a term used to describe low priced bus companies that operate paired down service on selected routes and charge much less than traditional bus companies. Originally these carriers tended to operate in, and cater to, the Chinese immigrant community. Now the phenomenon appeals to a much wider group of customers. Another trend in the bus industry is luxury service that competes more directly with the airlines. These carriers offer first class amenities and luxury coaches. They tend to be most successful for destinations that are fewer than 6 hours apart.

So, how should you decide when the bus is your best option? Here are a few questions that might help you make your decision:

  1. What is your budget? If you are on a tight budget you won’t be able to beat the bus for price. It is by far the least expensive way to get between destinations in the U.S. This is particularly true on heavily traveled routes in the Northeast where there is a lot of competition.
  2. Will you need a car once you get to your destination? In many U.S. cities (ie. New York, Boston, Washington DC) a car is not only unnecessary but will be a burden to drive and to park once you arrive.
  3. How far are you going? If you are traveling less than a five or six hours it is probably faster to take the bus than to fly when you factor in waiting time at the airport. Moreover, the bus will likely drop you off in the downtown core so you do not have to find your way into the city once you arrive.
  4. Where are you going? It is worth noting that for many more remote destinations in the US, the bus is really the only public transportation option. If you do not drive, taking the bus may be your only choice.
  5. How much time do you have? If your trip is not rushed, you might enjoy the more leisurely pace of bus travel. If you are under time pressure, the bus is probably not the best choice as it is subject to traffic delays and usually takes a little longer than other modes of transportation.

Overall, the bus is a great option for visitors to the US who are looking for transportation between major US cities and more remote destinations alike. As gas prices rise and train service sees more cuts, it will undoubtedly be an even more popular way to get around going forward.

Lila Kahn is the Marketing Manager of GotoBus.com, the leading online marketplace for bus tickets and tours in the USA. You can find out more information about the company and contact information for the author at: http://www.gotobus.com/