Everybody loves traveling, that’s a fact. But traveling isn’t always fancy, or even comfortable. Facing a long bus trip can be a true nightmare if you are not well prepared. So let’s prevent that from happening! We have gathered here our 15 long bus ride hacks to help you survive those long hours journey. Check them out.
How many times have you traveled long distances on buses? If you have done it, even just once, then you know it could be one of the worst moments when traveling.
We have done it a lot over these past years, so, of course, we understand the struggle.
But don’t worry, we are here you present to you 15 of the best tips to endure the experience like a pro.
The first long bus ride hack is simple: always choose a nighttime schedule. Sometimes this might be impossible: a 24-hour journey cannot be done entirely at night. But if your trip lasts 6 to 12 hours, it is always better to make it coincide with night hours.
There are two mains reasons why we recommend this.
First, because this way you will be able to sleep a little and you will not suffer so much the long hours of the journey. We all know that, when you sleep, time passes by faster. Plus, you will be more rested when you arrive at your destination, and you will not lose valuable time of your day, which you could utilize better.
And second, because this way you will save a night’s cost of accommodation. And we all know that saving money is very important for us backpackers, right?
Since you are already saving money with one less accommodation night, it may be worth paying a little more but traveling more comfortable. With this, we mean that you should consciously choose the company you will be traveling with, and explore the variety of services it offers.
It is important to check the prestige of the company you will choose for your bus journey. We advise you to read the reviews of previous passengers to ensure that it is an honest company.
Keep in mind that, sometimes, cheap can turn out expensive. Especially when it comes to long bus rides.
Once you have chosen the right company, consider the type of service they offer and compare their rates. You will be more comfortable traveling in a bed/semi bed seat than in a conventional one, isn’t it?
Nobody wants to spend the whole journey near the toilet. People coming in, going out, slamming the door… The toilet flushing, and, the worst part: unpleasant smells.
So that leads us to the long bus ride hack number 3: choose the right seat.
If you know you get sick in motion vehicles, it’s not a good idea to sit on the top deck, especially if the bus goes through winding or hilly roads.
We also recommend sitting on the window seat. That way, the person next to you won’t bother you every time he wants to stand up or come back to his seat.
Most companies offer a seat map, look at it carefully, and choose the right seat for you. Believe us, this can make all the difference!
Sure, missing a bus ride every now and then can happen.
But try to organize yourself so that it doesn’t happen when you are about to embark on a long bus journey. Something like that could drastically ruin your plans, especially if you have booked some activities or accommodation on your arrival.
Besides, you could lose a lot of money just for not being punctual enough.
We always recommend arriving at the bus station at least half an hour before the bus departures. Keep in mind that some terminals are so large that it can take you some time to find the gate.
And buses don’t wait for anyone, we know it.
It’s true, the long bus rides can be very unpleasant, even if you pay for a premium service. You will have limited space and will spend many hours sitting, so the minimum you can do is trying to dress comfortably.
It’s better to dress something loose and comfy, clothes that feel soft against your skin.
So, no, tight jeans are never a good idea. You should also try to dress in layers, as you never know the exact temperature that there will be inside the vehicle.
Another important thing: remember to wear clean socks. You will probably want to take off your shoes during the night.
Keep in mind that there may be no wifi connection on the bus. And, even if there is, it probably won’t be of good quality. We know you are planning on sleeping your way, but you probably won’t do it during the entire journey.
So, long bus ride hack number 6: be smart and think ahead, download everything you might need for your trip.
We recommend you to start with a good playlist. Or, why not, it could be a great opportunity to finish that tv show you never had the time to watch.
We also suggest that you download the map of your next destination, so you will know where you are at all times, even without wifi. Maps.me is perfect for this.
If you’d like, check out the post we wrote on the best travel apps to download for free.
Most long ride buses have windows that cannot be opened. That means they are constantly functioning with the AC on. I don’t know exactly why, but drivers always set the AC to extremely cold temperatures.
So pack a blanket, because you will need it.
Even bravest people, those who are not afraid of cold weather, tend to get cold in long bus rides. Not to mention heat addicted wimps like myself!
It’s also a good idea to carry a neck pillow. The inflatable ones are really practical to carry around, and they will make your sleeping night much comfier.
Some bus companies offer snacks and water during the journey, but some of them don’t. Whatever the case, it’s always smart to pack your own supply.
Taking several snacks with you can be genuinely useful. You could pack a few sandwiches, cookies, or even fruits. That way, if you get hungry in the middle of nowhere, you will be cover.
Also, don’t forget to take a big water bottle with you. It’s always better to be prepared than to mourn your thirstiness.
As we told you before, downloading music and movies is a great hack to survive your long ride bus. But you won’t be able to enjoy them if you are worried that your phone might run off of battery and die.
It’s 2020, we know. So, most buses have available a charger for USB wires on every seat. But, unfortunately, they don’t always work. And it’s better not to take any chances.
Remember to have your power bank fully charged before hopping on the bus.
If you don’t own a power bank, consider buying one. It’s a great useful device for travelers that can help you, not only on buses but on several occasions during your adventure.
If you are anything like me, taking a good book within your backpack might save your long bus ride.
Reading is a wonderful activity that can turn any boring moment, in a good moment. Why not taking advantage of those lost hours to starting or finishing that great book you always wanted to?
You could carry one or two books with you, or even use a tablet or ebook reader to enjoy that title.
Kindles are great for backpackers and all kinds of travelers. They will allow you to have access to unlimited book titles without having to carry the weight. If you still don’t own one, it might be time to buying one.
Long bus rides can be very uncomfortable, we covered that before.
You will be spending a lot of time on a limited space, and you will probably get from cold to hot in just a few minutes a few times.
To stay fresh, make sure you pack some personal hygiene items and keep them handy. You will need a toothbrush for the morning, and of course, toothpaste. A hairbrush, some soap, and a small towel will also be useful.
Don’t forget your deodorant either, you won’t want to smell!
Long bus rides can be an actual nightmare, especially for your sore body.
Spending several hours in a confined space might hurt your legs, back, and neck. So try to use every bus stop you can to stretch.
When the bus stops to refuel or give passengers time to eat, taking a little walk and enjoying the fresh air for a few minutes will drastically reduce the discomfort levels.
At least you are not trapped on a metal box in the air, right?
Do you know why we suggested earlier to carry your own snacks and beverages? Well, it was for practical reasons, yes. You will need to have access to food and beverages during your long bus ride. But it’s also to help you save money.
Most buses only make programmed stops at affiliate places. That means they will make a stop at a certain place in the middle of nowhere so you can buy your food at that store.
Normally those affiliates places have poor options and are greatly overpriced. So try not to buy food there, or you might end up paying a lot of money for a small average sandwich.
This is a bit of friendly advice that we picked up from our South American long bus rides: Always take good care of your belongings, especially of the important stuff.
Don’t leave your wallet, documents, computer, or camera, travel in the high compartment above your head. It’s better to keep them at sight at all times, even when that can be a little more annoying.
We saw a lot of people falling asleep on buses and waking up only to find their things where gone. This is a problem particularly in buses that make random stops, where passengers can get off in unannounced stops without you realizing it.
We also recommend you hire good travel insurance, one that covers your expensive items. Make sure you read this post about how to choose the best travel insurance for your adventure.
The last hack we want to share with you to survive your long bus ride is: take advantage of the journey.
There’s no lost time when traveling, every moment counts. And, even when you are about to be trapped in a bus for long hours, you could use that time to do many things.
Taking a few nice hours of sleep, getting some rest, work on your itinerary, write on your travel diary, or reading about your destination.
Make sure you use your time wisely and try to manage your time in the best possible way.
Do you feel ready to face that long journey now? Use these hacks on your next long bus ride and let us know how it went.
Also, do you have any more hacks you would like to share with us? We want to know! Feel free to use the comment section below.
Have a great adventure!