10 Ways to Make Long Distance Bus Travel More Enjoyable
Sometimes, traveling by long distance bus is the only option, but it isn’t necessarily an inviting prospect. Buses can be slow, uncomfortable, noisy, smelly, even dangerous at times. Still, the price differential makes them unavoidable for many budget travelers.
If you need to make a long distance bus journey, these tips from experienced travelers should help to make the experience as pleasant and relaxing as possible.
1. Take Some $200 Headphones With You
Why $200? These headphones are usually where makers start make high quality headphones with sound-isolation, comfortable ear-pads and more. If you’ve worn cheap headphones for over a couple of hours, then you know what I’m talking about. There’s a great guide to help you choose the best headphones under $200 here. But for our money, here’s our picks: Audio-Technica ATH-M50X, Sennheiser HD598 SR Headphones
Buses can be noisy environments. From wailing babies to music pumping out of tablets and leaking headphones, almost every bus has a degree of background noise that makes it hard to sleep or relax. That’s why carrying earplugs is a good idea. Keep a pair handy and you won’t need to worry too much about the endless chatter of the couple behind you, or the snoring of the guy in front.
Sunglasses Are Essential
Noise isn’t the only nuisance that can ruin a long distance bus journey. Sunlight can be just as bad. If you intend to get a few hours sleep, carrying a pair of sunglasses or an elasticated eye mask is essential.
Stock up on Snacks Before you Leave
Feeling the pangs of hunger halfway through a 6-hour bus journey is not a pleasant experience, and no major operators serve hot meals straight to your seat. Always buy a few light snacks before you board. Nuts are a healthy source of energy and they fill you up more effectively than potato chips or candy, while fresh fruits like bananas and dried fruits like raisins are great options too.
Carry Hand Sanitizer…Just in Case
Most long distance buses have bathrooms on board, but not all of them are kept in sparkling condition, and you can’t count on there being soap to wash your hands. So it’s a good idea to carry a small container of hand sanitizer with you. You can buy tiny pocket sized containers that easily fit in a purse or backpack pocket. Carrying tissues is also a sensible move, for similar reasons.
Traveling by bus can feel dehydrating even if you aren’t moving from your seat, so always pack a small bottle of water or fruit juice to sip on periodically as the journey progresses. If you don’t expect many stops, a flask of coffee can also be handy, particularly if you are one of the people who simply can’t sleep on buses, no matter how tired they become.
Make Sure Your Phone is Charged
Smartphones are a great way to pass the time during long distance bus journeys, and they can even enable you to get some work done as you travel. However, smartphone batteries have a tendency to run out, so always charge them fully before you board your bus.
Take Off Your Shoes and Socks
This might sound strange, but experienced bus travelers often choose to remove their shoes and socks. The reason is that by doing so, they emulate the sensation of going to bed, making it easier to fall asleep. If you choose this tactic, be sure to wash your feet before you travel.
Protect Against Bag Theft
Sleeping for long periods is often unavoidable on long distance bus journeys, but it can present a security risk. Thieves can easily pick up your bag as you sleep, so find a way to attach it to your person. You can purchase special elasticated straps for this purpose, or just tie your bag to a wristband.
Try to Stretch Your Legs at Every Stop
If you aren’t asleep, take advantage of routes with plenty of stops. The last thing you want is to cramp up while the bus is on the road, so join the crowd of fellow passengers when you stop for gas or food.
Get There Early to Secure a Seat at the Front
The front of the bus is usually the best place to enjoy a relaxed, quiet trip. Noisier passengers tend to congregate towards the back of the bus, away from the driver. That also tends to be where the bathroom is situated, which can lead to unpleasant odors. Being near the front is also handy for anyone who suffers from motion sickness. When you need to get out quickly, being near the exit helps.
If you have to make a long distance bus journey, there are plenty of ways to survive the ordeal. By packing essentials like earplugs, finding ways to relax in your seat and choosing the right part of the bus to sit in, you might even enjoy the experience.