Bus travel survival guide

Traveling can be a daunting task in and of itself. Traveling for an extended period of time on a bus? That’s a whole different animal. Over spring break I completed a 24-hour bus trip from Wisconsin to Florida, and so here are my tips to surviving a long bus ride.

Bring your bed with you!

Well, not the actual bed, but it’s really important to bring along a blanket and a good pillow. Buses can be quite bipolar in temperature, so be sure that your blanket actually covers your entire body and is thick enough to provide some warmth. For the pillow, it doesn’t need to be anything fancy. As long as it’s comfier than the bus seat, your neck will thank you for it after a night of sleep in the seat.

Only take the essentials

Even if you’re allowed to bring a bigger suitcase and store it under the bus, storage space in the cabin area is prime real estate and will frequently be very crowded. I recommend identifying items you will truly need during the bus trip, such as your toothbrush, medications and an extra pair of underwear, and packing them in your carry-on. Then, if you have extra room, feel free to add any other items you may want.

READ: 5 essential things to pack in your carry-on

Stay entertained

Nothing is worse on a long bus ride than pure boredom. Whether you prefer to read a good book or play on a handheld video game device, something to keep you busy during the trip is almost as essential as the items listed in the previous section. In that same vein, make sure all your electronics are charged prior to the trip. After anticipating being able to watch a movie or play a game, being out of battery is the last thing you’ll want.

Treat yo’self

As I mentioned before, space on the bus can be limited, but be sure to find room for snacks and drinks. You’ll thank yourself for having brought them when you’re starving and an hour away from your next gas station stop. Motion sickness can be avoided by staying hydrated and taking care of your body with periodical snack times. However, be wary of over-hydrating; you don’t want to be stuck using the bathroom on the bus and getting countless stares from your fellow bus travelers!

Photo by Cade Campbell  

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