Chicago to New York for cheap with a week of notice?
July 31, 2009 11:26 AM   Subscribe

Please help me find the cheapest way to get from Chicago to New York late next week!

I need to travel from Chicago to New York on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday of next week to celebrate my father's birthday. I don't have a car. Is there a cheaper way of doing this than taking the major train/bus/plane carriers? The prices I've found are:

JetBlue: $199
Southwest: $199
Amtrak: $~130 (and super slow, according to this question)
Greyhound: $77

What I'm wondering is whether there is a sneakier way of traveling, perhaps using multiple cheaper carriers. For example, a MegaBus to Cleveland is only $35, and perhaps there is a cheap way of getting from Cleveland to New York that I am unaware of. Do you know of any routes like this?

All suggestions are welcome.
posted by jordanlewis to Travel & Transportation (7 answers total)
Is that Greyhound fare round trip? That's incredibly cheap if it is.
posted by dersins at 11:36 AM on July 31, 2009

Response by poster: No, those are all one-way prices, sadly. Should have mentioned that in the question - thanks for asking.
posted by jordanlewis at 11:44 AM on July 31, 2009

If possible, be flexible with dates/times and check religiously. I flew CHI>NYC last weekend, Friday evening to Monday morning, for only $156 round trip, less than half of what I had been seeing for weeks on I booked these only a week or so before the trip. Airlines are funny about when their prices go up and down. Continental, in particular, has a habit of holding onto a bunch of seats until pretty close to the end, when they let them go cheaply. It's a crap shoot, but you might get lucky.

And definitely check all NYC airports. Newark might sound far away, but it's usually only about an hour between getting on AirTran and setting foot in Penn Station.
posted by SpiffyRob at 11:53 AM on July 31, 2009

Best answer: Craigslist has rideshares.

Megabus to Cleveland; Greyhound to Buffalo/DC; Megabus to NYC could work, but haven't checked dates/times.

A non-stop Greyhound fare leaving on Wednesday the 5th and returning on Sunday the 9th is coming up at $150, web-instant-purchase-no-refund-type thing.
posted by mdonley at 11:59 AM on July 31, 2009

Best answer: Where in NYC, exactly, are you trying to get to? The city itself or a suburb further out?

Also look at flights to Boston, Albany, Philly, and DC and connect to Megabus there. The absolute cheapest non-sketch way from NYC to Providence, for example, is often Megabus to Boston, then heading south on Boston's commuter rail. Anywhere on this map in blue is served by commuter rail as well as Amtrak.

Found $188 round-trip from Chicago to Newark on, leaving Friday, back Sunday.
posted by mdonley at 12:09 PM on July 31, 2009

Best answer: I missed that you had checked Southwest and just looked, there are flights leaving on Friday 8/7 and coming back any day from 8/10-8/15 for $94 each way. Not dirt cheap, but cheaper. (I just bought tickets on Southwest myself and found the price dropped $20 overnight, for Boston to DC, so it's worth checking daily.)

Have you checked Farecaster? According to them, the average low ticket price is about $200. They are predicting a price drop in the next week for travel leaving Wednesday or Thursday.
posted by min at 12:29 PM on July 31, 2009

plane tickets on tuesday and wednesday are cheapest. check those fares.
posted by chicago2penn at 7:11 PM on July 31, 2009

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