For backpackers on a budget, buses are perhaps the best way to travel around, especially when it comes to exploring Europe. They're cheaper than airplane tickets and cover more destinations than rail networks.
But, in my experience, booking bus tickets in foreign countries is rarely a smooth experience.
I've struggled with lack of payment options, little to no information on the available services, and language barriers. Fortunately, there are apps that help you overcome these issues.
One of the most prominent options I found was Busbud. On the outside, Busbud seems to be a credible booking service that covers a large number of destinations. But, I also came across mixed opinions about it and thought you should get all the info needed to make a good decision too.
My honest review takes only a few minutes to browse through, but you'll come out feeling more confident about buying, or not buying, a ticket through Busbud.
What Is Busbud?
As the name implies, Busbud is a booking platform that helps travelers book bus tickets online to various destinations. The cross-platform service connects users with intercity bus networks from around the world.
It was founded in 2011 by Louis-Phillippe Maurice, who experienced the frustrating process of booking buses during his backpacking trip in South America. He also saw the potential of an online booking system that would help the market grow significantly.
Today, Busbud covers 80+ countries, 21,000 cities, and over 2 million bus routes after having partnered with many bus companies worldwide. It supports multiple currencies and languages, so users can book tickets more conveniently.
There is both an app and a website for booking. The app is available for both Android and iOS devices and is free to download.
How Does Busbud Work?
I think it's pretty intuitive, but if you're feeling a bit confused, I'll walk you through using Busbud.
Download the app or visit the website and check if Busbud offers its service for the destination/city you are hoping to visit. Specify the departure and arrival destinations, date, number of passengers, and return date if necessary and click “Search Now.”
Depending on the availability, you'll get a number of options to compare and review. You can look at the prices and other information to decide which operator offers the best value for money.
In many cases, you can book directly via Busbud, but sometimes you'll be redirected to the bus operator’s website. Then, you have to enter the passenger details, credit/debit card details and make the payment. You should be able to download the tickets as well.
What I Like About Busbud
Covers Many Cities
At present, Busbud covers cities in North America, South America, Europe, Africa, and Southeast Asia and continues to add more destinations. It’s a good choice for those looking for a worldwide bus booking app.
Busbud has partnered with many large bus companies in the world, providing more choices for its users. Some of the popular partners are Greyhound, BoltBus, FlixBus, National Express, and Mega Bus.
If the destination you're planning to visit has more bus operators, I think it's the smartest way you can travel is to compare their fares and amenities. Remember to select based on suitability for your needs as well as the price.
Buses are the cheapest public transport option available in many countries. Although it may not be as comfortable as planes or taxis, they don’t drain your cash quickly. Buses are also the eco-friendly route.
Some foreign bus companies might not offer your preferred payment option. Also, with Busbud, you don’t have to visit multiple websites and compare prices.
It’s especially helpful if you are looking to book a bus to a lesser known destination. That is, as long as it’s covered by Busbud...
What I Don’t Like About Busbud
Alarming Number of Negative Reviews
Despite the supposedly convenient booking service, Busbud has failed to keep its users satisfied. I came across a lot of negative reviews that put their reliability and efficiency to question. I'm thinking, "do I want to risk it?"
No Customer Support Hotline
One of the frequent complaints of Busbud is the lack of good customer support, which makes it difficult for users to report issues or claim refunds. Although Busbud provides 24/7 support, it is only available via email, and it takes a longer response time.
The company should seriously consider introducing a phone number to improve the service. Even if it has limited hours, it seems that this is something that customers are really wanting!
Faulty Booking Process
Users have encountered many issues related to the booking process.
In some cases, Busbud has failed to register the booking despite deducting the payment from the user. Some users have complained, saying they never received the ticket or confirmation email, although the money had been paid.
There have also been instances where people were dropped off at the wrong locations, which can be horribly inconvenient.
Sadly, I think such lackluster service outweighs all the positive aspects about Busbud and really hope they improve it.
Busbud vs. WanderU – Which is Better?
Busbud covers, or at least tries to cover, the global market. In contrast, WanderU specializes in Europe and North America.
When considering the reliability and customer experience, WanderU remains ahead of Busbud.
Also, unlike Busbud, WanderU covers both bus and rail, which I consider an added advantage. Who doesn't want to be able to look at options, and even book them, in one place!?
That being said, if you're going on a trip to Africa or Asia, Busbud is the one to consider.
You can also read our WanderU review to compare these services yourself.
Is Busbud Legit?
Yes. It's a legit service. Unfortunately, only a small amount of its users have benefitted from its services. Many others seem to have downright terrible experiences
Is Busbud Worth It?
Although it's a legit service, I don't think it's the best top option for an online bus ticket booking app.
The main problem, as I see it, is their unreliable customer support. It leaves users stranded when faced with issues. So, resolving it can improve the service significantly.
The company should also not leave customers stranded at the wrong locations! This definitely makes me feel more concerned about using a Busbud's platform
My first thoughts would to always try and find a good alternative and only use Busbud if it's the only options based on your travel destination!
Our Rating: 2.1/5
- Available in many destinations
- Lots of choices due to partnerships
- Very budget-friendly
- No phone customer support
- Large number of negative reviews
- Booking issues
- Customers getting left at wrong stops
- Reliability issues
Start Your Adventure With Pilot
Now you're well aware of all the good and bad of BusBud. I hope that this helps you make a decision that you feel happy with!
You've checked that off, but what about planning your entire trip? You'll need to be organized and plan ahead to ensure you make the most of your travels! If you are looking for a reliable and flexible travel planner, try using Pilot!