Sooner or later you will need to figure out how to get out of campus. Weather you need to go to the mall or across the country this page should help you figure out how to get there.
You do not need a car to survive or even to have a good time. Cars are not expansive, but there are other obstacles. First you will need to get US driver’s license and second you will need to get an insurance. The insurance can be quite expensive (approx $60-120/year). Also you will need a place to park. There are parking places on campus but you have to pay for these (approx. $100/semester). Free parking may not be so easy to find. Plus there are some weird rules: e.g. if you do not move your cars for 3 day they can tow you away.
Even if you don’t plan on buying a car getting a driver’s license is not a bad idea. It can help you when you rent a car, open a bank account and you can use it as an ID identification to get into a bar. Get one if you can (approx. $25). You need to come to the examination with your own car (or borrow your friend’s car). Czech driver’s licence (even the international one) is in the state of Nebraska valid only for 30 days after your arrival. See details at DMV’s website.
If you still need a car. The best rental option seems to be from Enterprise. For weekends, Christmas etc. they will rent you a car from $11/day. For this offer you have to be 25 and you need a major credit card. If you don’t meet this they’ll probably charge you something extra. Here is where U.S. drivers licence would make it easier for you. There is couple of branches in Lincoln the closest one is on 10th Street. They will pick you up for free if you do not feel like walking.
Buses in Lincoln are run by the company called StarTran. Although the bus service does not run as frequent and to as many places as we are used in Europe it will get you to many places and what more for UNL students it is FREE!
Sometimes you go to a party and need to get back. Buses in Lincoln stop running quite early and your friends are drunk. Fortunately there is a program called NU on Wheels which enables all UNL students dial (475-RIDE) a free taxi ride home from anywhere in Lincoln between 7pm and 7am when school is in session.
Lincoln is very bike friendly and therefore it is not a bad idea to bring a bike or buy a used one (for example on Craig’s list) or new one from Wal-mart. If you do not plan on getting a car this will give you considerable freedom to move around. In case you get a job not so close to the dorms this may be a great option since you won’t have to rely on not-so-frequent public transport. Plus it’s good for you and for the environment! Ask Larry about bike routes.
Although you may fly from Lincoln, Omaha tends to have better deals and more flights. You can usually get somebody to drive you to Omaha. Look around, look at various websites Expedia, Priceline or Hipmunk. In the past Lowestfare.com did have some sweet deals.
In many ways Greyhound is an unbeatable experience. A lot of Americans will discourage you from using it. Although they give you this advice few of them ever took it anywhere. Some students took it before and had a great time. One student lived on a greyhound bus for a month and although after two weeks nobody wanted to sit next to him (apparently there was something in the air) he had a great time. If you want to see the cities and big parks this may be a great option. If you are after remote areas probably not the best choice. Check prices at greyhound.com and especially consider price of various discovery passes they have on offer. Check other services provided by Megabus and Jefferson Lines which is especially good if you need to travel between Lincoln and Omaha.
Trains tend to be more expensive than buses. However you might want to check. California Zephyr travels between San Francisco and Chicago (passes through Omaha, Denver, and Salt Lake City) and stops in Lincoln. One train a day. Some students took it to Denver to see U2 concert.