Greyhound is no longer the “ugly stepchild of intercity transportation,” said Anne Marie Chaker in The Wall Street Journal. “Recession-battered travelers” are choosing the bus over Amtrak and airplanes to save a few bucks, and the bus lines are upgrading to keep them from defecting come better economic times. These days, everyone from Greyhound to Peter Pan to upstarts Megabus and BoltBus are offering leather seats, Wi-Fi, and, yes, “cleanliness.”

Newbie Amtrak refugees would be wrong to think “one cheapo coach is the same as the next,” said Noreen Malone in Slate. So, here’s a “snob’s guide to bus travel”—take original “Chinatown bus” Fung Wah for value and efficiency, if you can stomach its “spotty safety record”; Greyhound is much nicer than you remember; and “my top choice,” Greyhound’s BoltBus, is “the Google to Megabus’ AOL,” offering tech “connectedness” to young professionals.

Whichever bus you take will have the advantages of flexible schedules, better prices, and no airport security, said Jamie Rhein in the travel site Gadling. But you have to pack differently. Bring a neck pillow, socks, water, music, fresh fruit and other snacks, and a light blanket. Other tips: sometimes getting bumped to an overflow bus is a good thing, and "best of all, enjoy the scenery as you roll by.”