Means of Transportation in USA

Published on:2011-12-03, last updated on: 2015-07-23


Trains in the United States are divided into passenger and sleeper trains. U.S. national railway fares are not cheap. Often traveling by plane saves time and money over rail travel unless you book your tickets well ahead of time. Student tickets carry a 15% discount. However, Amtrak multiple travel plans provide good discounts, and are more economical than plane travel. Hence, if a college student plans to travel long-distance several times between the east and west coasts, then using the Amtrak discount can save a lot of money. On the internet, you can get Amtrak train schedules and fares. Currently, Amtrakhas has a disocunt ticket program for students and parents to visit colleges, sucn as "buy the second ticket receive 50% off".

Long distance bus

Greyhound bus (Greyhound) provides a convenient inter-city transportation to people who don't have cars. On the Greyhound website you can find bus schedules and fares. Order tickets in advance on the internet to take advantage of lower fares. If you want to travel to many cities in the United States during holidays, you can buy a Greyhound Discovery Pass, a 7-day bus ticket $246, 15 days: $356,30 days: $ 456 , 60 Days: $ 556 , which can be used for riding the Greyhound bus numerous times within a specified number of days, thus the price is really low. (Note: the Greyhound Discovery Pass has been discontinued recently. There is no information indicating that the Discovery Pass will be resumed soon. )

In addition to the Greyhound bus,other short or medium distance bus companies are Bolt bus,Megabus, Peter Pan bus,Shortline, Chinatown bus, Trailways,  Atlantic Coast Trailways , Capitol Trailways, Pacific Coachways Trailways. If you are lucky, you may get a ticket for only one dollar.

Each airport has airport bus, minibus and taxi, used for passenger transportation. Airport bus routes are generally from the airport to the city center or a big station. The airport minibus (Super shuttle) generally provides service from the airport to residential areas. Several passengers traveling in the same direction share one super shuttle together. A super shuttle ticket is more expensive than an airport bus, but cheaper than a taxi. Airport Bus, super shuttle and taxi stations are usually located close to the baggage claim area or the airport exit.

Book flight tickets and hotels

Search airline tickets and hotels on DIY Vacation, which allows you to quickly find the cheapest price. After finding the most cost-effective ticket, do not rush to place your order before checking the price on that airline's official website. In most cases the price doesn't differ by much. If the two prices are same, you'd better off buying the ticket directly from the airline because if you need to change your itinerary, you will pay less in fees. Also, most airlines will waive the fee if you cannot travel because of acute illness if you provide a doctor's note, but the fee cannot be waived if your tickets were bought through DIY Vacation or other discount tickets sites. Tickets and hotel prices are usually more expensive on weekends.

As for buying a ticket back to China, it was usually cheapest to buy tickets directly from a Chinese owned travel agency, but now the opposite often be true, and there are more times when it's cheaper to buy tickets on the internet. Because some airlines' prices fluctuates extremely, a round-trip ticket to China can even vary by $200-300 within a few hours, thus the price on the airline's official website could be much cheaper than that from a Chinese travel agency. It might be because the site automatically set up a program whereby if ticket sale are slow, the price goes down, and when a lot of people buy tickets, the price goes up. So if you want to save money, You can search airline tickets on DIY Vacation to find the cheapest tickets, then compare the prices with the ticket sold by Chinese agents. You had better watch the major airline websites in advance for two to three weeks prior to buying flight tickets online while also looking for possible promotional discount tickets from the Chinese travel agency.

You can get the price information for the flights flying to China on, which lists the price tendency on its website for the flights flying from USA to China. Besides, you can also check the recent flight price on, where some folks post the price for flight tickets they bought recently.

To get a cheap ticket for your travel plan, you can register on travelzoo ( for the best weekly deal. It often sends you news about some very attractive travel packages, such as living in a presidential suite for only $50, a round east side to west side trip for $100, or a Caribbean cruise for $200. Of course, unless you act on it very quickly, you won't get any of those deals. If you have a travel plan just before you leave, you might also check with, which has a lots of last minute travel packages.

Does the United States accept a Chinese driver's license?

Most states, such as New York, California, , Illinois, Virginia, all accept foreign driver licenses, including those from China. But some states do not accept Chinese driver's licenses. For example, Massachusetts does not accept Chinese driver's licenses (and also does not accept the "international driver's license" used together with the Chinese driver's license). It only accepts licenses issued by the countries in 1949 United Nations' Convention on Road Traffic (the United States only signed the 1949 Convention, and did not sign the 1968 Convention) plus Germany and Switzerland (mutual recognition of driver's license under bilateral treaties). Pennsylvania requires that foreign visitors hold their driver's license plus an International Driving Permit (of course, must be the real international driver's license issued by those countries listed on the Convention) to drive in its territory. Hence, you should consultant with the state Department of Motor Vehicles before driving.^ 1

The new version of the Chinese driver's license does not translate the car type into English, also doesn't have a translation of the driver's name and address and other items. Hence, the driver license still need to be translated into English.

Driving test

In the United States, getting a driver's license takes two steps of test. The first step is a written test. After passing the written test, you can take a road test. You will be granted a full license after passing the road test.

First, go to the DMV to receive a free test preparation manual. After preparing for it, go to the DMV for the written test. Fill in a form, pay the application fee, have your picture taken, have a visual inspection, then attend the examination. After passing the written test, you will receive a learning permit. With the learning permit, you can practice driving accompanied by a friend who has a valid driving license, or be tutored by a driving coach from a driving school. Although the difficulty of each state road test varies widely, one thing is always same: the most important thing the examiner pays attention to is the driver's awareness of, and compliance with, traffic rules. Because of this, when learning how to drive with a driving school, be sure to find a coach with an instructor's license. Since DMV doesn't usually check each coach's license, some small driving schools employ coaches with no license, who may be unable to teach students fully comply with traffic rules and requirements, resulting in these unlucky students often having to go through several road tests before passing. It cost more money than it is supposed to and also ruin the persons' self-confidence.

Immediately after you pass the road test, the examiner will give you a small piece of paper on the spot to certify that you have passed the road test. You can independently drive with this paper and your learning permit. The official license will be mailed to you within a few days.


Renting a car

If you want to travel during holidays, you may consider car rental. We suggest you compare car rental prices and look for coupons on the internet. In general, the following car rental companies are popular in the United States:
Costco Car Rental
另外,也可以在priceline网站上竟价,有时能得到非常好的价钱。另外,通过信用卡chase ultimate reward mall, citi thankyou points 的网站,也常常能搞到不错的价格。

^1:  Germany Hotline Forum (Its original Chinese name: 德国热线论坛), Username: Odin God of War (The original Chinese user name: 奥丁战神)