Suggestion 1: Don’t go on a bus! Take a mini instead!
Here I’ll tell you the best ways to avoid utter misery whilst on a long bus journey.
The biggest downside of travelling is always the actual travelling! I know, I know… not really avoidable!
Over the course of the last 9 months I have taken innumerable bus journeys- everything from fancy tourist buses to completely broken down local ones where you share seats with chickens and small children are crammed in the aisles. I did around 21 overnight buses (more than 10hrs in one go) and two mammoth 30hr journeys in 2016. I am a well seasoned bus rider!
Luckily for me I can sleep pretty much anywhere! The general quality of overnight buses in South America was pretty good – Oltursa in Peru was great as was Turbus in Chile. Usually you had comfortable enough seats – even if you’re tall you can probably cope. Morocco wasn’t bad either… and train travel in Morocco is a cheap and comfortable option for long journeys too!
Top tips when picking seats (mostly applicable to South America):
- Choose the front seats on the upper level if available. Or the seat immediately behind the stairs as these both have more leg room.
- Always choose an aisle seat so you can stick your legs into the aisle.
- Normally you can look at all the available seats on the screen so you can choose a seat with nobody beside or in front of you if there are spaces. If you buy last minute and get a bit of luck, often nobody else will take that spare seat and you can spread out over 2!
Top tips for STUFF to take and what to do:
- Always take a blanket (I used my towel), some socks and a jumper. Buses can be very cold.
- Keep all your valuables on you while sleeping. This is VERY important!
- Take snacks. I’ve been on some enormously long buses which neither fed us nor stopped at restaurants so we could buy food. Nuts are a good bus food because they fill you up more than crisps or sweets!
- Have back-up technology to entertain you. 30hrs will probably kill all your batteries. Power packs are pretty handy though some buses had ports for charging.
- If you have long-lasting batteries you might want some films loaded on a hard-drive too!
- Take some postcards to write or something to read or failing that, buy yourself a phone cover with glitter in so you can play with the glitter even when the phone is long dead!
- Learn to knit or learn to talk to strangers… do anything you can to entertain yourself.
- And lastly, try not to be too rested pre-night bus. The more tired you are the better you’ll sleep!