It’s true that buses are top of the list when it comes to travel urban legends, however, choosing to get around by bus can have many advantages, one of those being extremely important; travelling by bus is really cheap. For the sake of economy, here at Unitrips we’ve collected together 8 tips for travelling by bus, and you’ll see for yourself the difference they’ll make to your journeys.
Have a positive outlook
You have to leave all prejudice behind before you even get onto the bus. You’re going to spend a lot of hours within that cabin, but it can be a wonderful experience if you make the most of it. Although it may not seem like it, a bus can be a pretty fun place; a place to make new friends! So don’t let yourself become the bore of the bus, giving the cold shoulder to everyone you come into contact with.
It’s important to have a positive outlook, to relax and to make use of your best qualities. Don’t forget the importance of patience and good manners! That will make everyone feel more comfortable.
Bring ear plugs and an eye mask
No, we don’t want you to dress up like Zorro, but if you are one of those people who gets disturbed by noises and can’t drift off without it being completely dark and silent, then some ear plugs and an eye mask will let you shut yourself off from the outside world, if you need to, and rest without any problems. Obviously, it’s important to not be the person making noise either, so be careful with your electronic devices and use earphones. Between all of us we can make the trip a good one.
Don’t expect a Flinstones car
So maybe you’re bus isn’t exactly one of those marvellous, impressive, latest-generation luxury coaches. They exist, and if you have the cash to pay for one of those armchairs – wider than in the seats in first-class with most airlines – then go ahead! But if you don’t, don’t be alarmed! We’re not living in the Stone Age, and you don’t have to settle for a bus resembling something out of the Flinstones.
In reality, buses on long-distance trips are very spacious and come complete with a lot of small comforts to make your journey a better one. If you have a specific preference, why don’t you contact your travel agency to see if they can book you a seat that best suits your needs (in the front, to have more leg room; in the middle, to help with travel sickness; at the back, to travel with the party crowd…)
Another key piece of advice when travelling by bus is important when travelling on any kind of transport. If you’re a globe trekker, then you’ll already know it. But we’re still going to remind you that it’s best to travel with a lightweight backpack. It’s even more important when going by bus as obviously, due to the lack of space, it’s much better not to have to travel with squashed feet because of the huge piece of luggage that you have to put underneath your seat, or to make your travel companion’s life a misery with your holdall.
The best idea is a well-planned backpack: mobile phone, camera, something to read, an iPod, wipes or antibacterial gel for hygiene purposes, toothbrush, sunglasses… If you’re going to take anything else, put it in the luggage compartment.
Make use of the stops
Apart from entertaining yourself with music, games, a book or your tablet, a good way to pass the time is admiring the view from your window. It’s like being a tourist whilst travelling along. Essentially, you’ll be moving towards your destination, but on the way you’ll have the opportunity to discover roads, viewing points, villages, and places that you would never have noticed using other modes of transport.
A good trick for enjoying your bus journey is to make the most of the stops. Leave the bus and stretch your legs. Make the most of the opportunity to try local food in the places you travel through, take some photos of the place – it’s an endless source of inspiration for Instagrammers.
Bring the right clothes
There’s nothing worse than travelling uncomfortably. Forget the high heels or the tight jeans, the best idea is to choose comfy clothes for the trip. You’ll be there for a long time and, believe me, you’ll remember this piece of advice if you’re sitting there being irritated by your clothing. It goes without saying that footwear is the most important thing here. Get yourself some comfy shoes, and maybe throw some travel socks in your bag so you can go without shoes during the trip. This will hopefully help you avoid aching feet!
It’s obviously pretty important to take the temperature of the bus into account. Don’t forget that in winter the heating on the bus can roast you, and that, in summer, the air conditioning can leave you freezing. So, choose clothes that allow you to strip off in the cabin in winter and something to defend yourself from the effectiveness of the air conditioning in summer.
It’s also a good idea to take the pillow and blanket that they often offer you. It will be useful and, even if you don’t want it for sleeping, you can always use it to cushion your seat a bit.
Rest, eat and drink
Don’t neglect the hours of sleep on your bus trip. Obviously you should make the most of the time after lunch to take a good Spanish siesta. A little shut-eye will make your journey feel shorter, and it’ll help you feel less grouchy. On that topic, be careful with what you eat and drink on the trip. Eat light foods, that won’t leave you feeling uncomfortable and bloated, and don’t drink high-energy drinks that will make you feel jittery the whole journey.
Energy bars, still, caffeine-free drinks, some dried fruit, biscuits… Take something suitable in your backpack for when you’re feeling peckish.
The last tip for travelling by bus: take the local form of transport in the places you visit, especially if it’s somewhat different to what you’re used to. You’ll absolutely love the exotic, fun experience, and it’ll be cheaper and lead to some good times… for your photo album and for you.
Translated by Hannah Irwin