Every self-respecting traveller must experience at least once in his lifetime one of those long, almost eternal, journeys by bus. Only then it is possible to know if we are made for this type of travel or not. We warn you that they are not always easy, but also that there are many travellers who get a thing for them and end up almost always choosing this option to move from one place to the next one. Time is an indispensable requirement. Not so much money since these trips are usually very cheap and suitable if we travel on a tight budget or for long.
At unuk we especially like regular bus lines. They allow you to travel along with the locals and discover much more about their customs and particularities. Normally, they tend to have fewer amenities than those designed exclusively for tourists, so a good option might be to alternate them if you plan on taking many of them along your trip. Anyway, here we leave a list of 10 tips that we consider almost essential if we have hours and hours ahead of the road.
This advice is applicable to any type of journey, whether it is plane, train, bus, boat … but it acquires special importance when you have to spend 10 or 14 hours sitting on a bus. Lightweight pants, without tight rubber or seams that rub your skin and a good sweater or jacket as a precaution for freezing air conditioners. A scarf also tends to be an interesting garment since the same can be used to bundle up or to wrap up as a pillow if you do not happen to have one.
For the views, but also for being a seat much quieter than the aisle seat in case of regular stops with passengers getting on and off the bus.
The best seat
Arriving early to the bus station and waiting in line is of considerable importance here, as it will allow you to choose the best seats on the bus. That is, those that are just in front of and behind the emergency exit or second door. The reason? They usually have more space to recline the seat or to stretch the legs.
Pit stops are sacred. It is unthinkable to stay in and not going down to stretch your legs, buy supplies or pay a visit to the public bathroom. It is a good time to also do some stretching and de-numb the body. Of course, be attentive to the clock and the driver’s instructions to avoid major surprises when heading back to the bus.
Into the night
Whenever possible, it is preferable to travel at night to make better use of the days and lose as little time as possible. Getting on a tired bus is a good tactic to ensure you sleep for a few hours. A good cushion, sleeping mask (if needed) and even a natural relaxant like Valerian and you will wake up in another place, nice and ready to take on the new day.
Long bus rides can go a long way. To sleep and doze, to think and to have fun or to stay entertain. It is essential to charge the battery of all our devices before starting the journey and to know how to combine and rationalize them to ensure we reach our destination with enough entertainment. A good movie, hours of good music, a good book (if you do not get dizzy), sudoku or various pastimes. Anything goes. Of course, avoid the disorder in your small space. You’ll be much more comfortable with everything neatly placed in your daypack.
We love engaging in conversations with our travelling companions, especially with locals to discover things of the destination country that, perhaps, could otherwise go unnoticed. But also, with other travellers like us. There are countries like Australia, for example, in which it is usual to coincide with the same travellers for days.
It is rare not having the opportunity to eat or buy food along the journey on the bus. There is usually a longer stop for this purpose or street vendors willing to stuff you with snacks. Careful! Downtime can lead to an excessive need for sweets and snacks. It is advisable to get a sandwich or a meal designed to eat on the bus and some healthy snacks such as nuts or fruit to snack in between hours.
The skin suffers in excess when we spend that many hours on a bus, mainly because of the air conditioning. It is then not a bad idea to prepare a small toiletry bag with moisturizer and lip balm, as well as a toothbrush, deodorant and paper tissues.
Wifi at the front
If your bus has a Wi-Fi connection, forget the idea of placing yourself next to the emergency exit. If you are going to make use of it, always upfront on the bus. The connection there is always much better than at the end of the vehicle.
In summary: rest, food, hygiene, comfortable clothes, views, entertainment … and a plenty of patience. Travelling by bus is often a real challenge in which to test our resistance and our calmness. Schedules that are not met, overtime that nobody had told you existed… and a lot of details that make it necessary to take these journeys with a pinch of philosophy. After all, trips are there to enjoy them, right?