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What Kind of ID You Need to Travel by Bus or Train

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Phone. AirPods. Keys. That super soft hoodie you stole from an ex.

The packing list for your bus or train trip is almost complete, but don’t forget to add a photo ID to the list of essentials.

Maybe your license pic immortalizes a bad hair day or eye bags bigger than your luggage — if it doesn’t, teach us your ways! Still, for the majority of bus and train travels, you’ll have to flash that unflattering photo to prove that it really is you.

Below, we’ll break down everything you need to know about the kind of ID you’ll need before setting off on your next adventure with Wanderu.

Do you need an ID to ride a bus?

The short answer is, yes. Most bus companies require that you show an ID with the same name on your ticket upon boarding. You can see the details below about the specific policies for some of our most popular bus carriers.

Even for the companies that don’t require an ID, it’s always a good idea to travel with some form of identification just to be safe. Plus, if you’re heading to cities known for craft beer or planning a bar crawl, prepare to be carded!

Do you need an ID to ride a train?

Yes, train carriers, including Amtrak and VIA Rail, require you to present a photo ID with your ticket when traveling. Depending on the train line, you might need to show your ID and ticket to an agent before boarding, or you might board the train and conductors will check IDs and tickets at your seat after the train departs. Either way, keep your ID handy and make sure that the passenger name on your train ticket matches the name on your ID.

What kinds of IDs are accepted for travel on buses and trains?

In general, you must show a non-expired ID which is issued by a government agency and includes a photo. A digital picture of your ID or a photocopy will not be accepted.

Check out this list to see what kinds of ID are valid for travel (marked with a checkmark), and those which won’t cut it (marked with an X).

State or provincial driver's license
Passport or passport card
Healthcare card with photo
Permanent resident / green card
Military photo ID
Government employee ID
Birth certificate
ID card without a photo
College or university ID
Social security card
Company or work ID

Do you need a specific ID for trips which cross a country border?

You sure do. For international bus or train trips, like a train crossing from the U.S. into Canada or a bus going from Mexico into the U.S., you’ll need a passport. Make sure that the passport is valid for at least 6 months beyond your intended travel time.

When traveling throughout the Schengen area in Europe, border crossings do not require showing a passport; however EU citizens should be sure to pack a government-issued ID, and other international travelers should keep passports with them.

Specific ID Policies for Popular Bus and Train Carriers

ID policies vary slightly from carrier to carrier, so we’ve listed out some of the specifics for popular bus and train companies on Wanderu below. For additional details, you can always call the bus or train carrier directly.

Amtrak Amtrak requires an ID for travel. Student IDs are an acceptable form of ID.
Greyhound Greyhound requires an ID to travel and to pick up will-call tickets. If you do not have an ID, you may be able to set up a password to board by contacting Greyhound.
FlixBus US FlixBus US requires an ID for travel.
Peter Pan Peter Pan requires an ID for travel.
Trailways NY Trailways NY requires an ID for travel.
OurBus OurBus does not require an ID. You can travel incognito!
BestBus BestBus does not require an ID. No one needs to see the year you were born, phew.
Wanda Coach Wanda Coach requires an ID for travel.
GoBuses Go Buses requires an ID for travel.
VIA Rail VIA Rail requires an ID for travel.

Can you travel on a bus or train without an ID?

If you do not have an ID with you, we recommend booking with carriers like OurBus or BestBus that do not require IDs for boarding. Just show your ticket or confirmation number and hop on!

For any other carrier that does require an ID, please contact the carrier directly if you’ll be traveling without one. Some carriers might be able to offer other ways of verifying your identity, such as a password.

And when in doubt, it’s always safer to have some form of identification with you, even if all you have is an expired ID or a photocopy of your ID.

Got any more ID questions?

Reach out to us at [email protected] and we can give you even more deets.

Once you’ve found your ID, find the cheapest ticket for your trip by searching on Wanderu or downloading the Wanderu app. Compare hundreds of bus and train companies’ offerings in one place to discover the best deal, then get ready to start your adventure.

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About the author
Bryn Culbert

Bryn Culbert

A planner at heart, Bryn loves nothing more than researching and creating a detailed travel itinerary. She is partial to quirky museums, hole-in-the-wall coffeeshops, and overstuffed bookstores in the cities she visits.

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