Stephanie Yoder a RoamRight Blog Author

Tips For Surviving A Long Bus Ride


When you're traveling through certain areas of the world, you develop a complicated relationship with extra-long bus rides. Sitting on a bus for 5 or more hours is boring and uncomfortable, and over-night buses are invariably an exercise in sleep deprivation. Sometimes though, these marathon bus rides are the only affordable way to get from Point A to Point B.

Although you will probably never find yourself looking forward to an overnight bus ride through the Colombian Andes or an all day journey across Vietnam, there are some things you can do to make your time more pleasant. Here are some suggestions:

Dress in Layers

For some reason overnight buses around the world are known for trying to flash-freeze their passengers. The ambient temperature on a bus can vacillate widely depending on the weather, location and altitude. To remain comfortable no matter what, dress in easily removable layers and bring an extra scarf or even a blanket.

Bring Your Own Snacks and Water

Sometimes long-haul buses stop to allow you to refuel and rehydrate. Sometimes they don't. Sometimes they do but the food at whatever random roadside shack isn't particularly tempting. Plan ahead and bring your own munchies to avoid being caught starving.

But Not Too Much Water

As mentioned above, you never know when the next pit stop might be. Some buses come equipped with toilets but not all, so try to keep your fluid intake minimal. Nothing is worse than trying to hold it in on a bumpy back road for hours at a time.

Headphones Are a Must

Local bus rides can get pretty loud between the passenger chitchat and the usually blaring stereo. Occasionally buses will show foreign language movies at full volume. Sometimes they will even show them late into the night. For your own sanity, a pair of good headphones and some music are a necessity when it comes to tuning out the world around you.

Keep Your Stuff Close

Unfortunately long bus rides are a likely target for thieves because after awhile people let their guard down and pay less attention. Keep all valuables on your person and in your lap if possible. If you are on an overnight bus try to arrange yourself so you are always touching your belongings, even if this means spooning your purse or laptop bag.

Prepare for Motion Sickness

Even if you don't typically get carsick, the sometimes erratic starting and stopping of a bus is enough to make anyone feel ill. This is particularly true when the bus becomes super hot or the roads are long and curvy. You may want to carry a secret stash of motion sickness medicine in case your stomach starts to feel queasy. Try to keep your eye on the horizon and not stare at a book or screen until the feeling goes away.

Just Go with the Flow

Odd things happen on long haul bus rides, from strange vendors climbing aboard to weird pit stops to bizarre fellow passengers. At the time you may not appreciate the live chicken in a plastic bag on the seat next to you, but know that at least it will make for an interesting story later!

Have you been on a long bus ride? What did you think of the experience?

Note: Available plans and coverages may have changed since this blog was published.

About the Author

Stephanie Yoder

Stephanie Yoder, a RoamRight Blog Author

Stephanie Yoder is a girl who can't sit still! Since graduating college in 2007 she has either been traveling or planning to travel. She's lived on four continents and visited everywhere from the Great Wall of China to the Great Barrier Reef. She now writes and travels full time, blogging about her adventures on Why Wait To See The World? (formerly Twenty-Something Travel). Follow Stephanie on Twitter or visit her on Facebook.

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