How To: Survive a Long Bus Ride

Posted in: HOW TO'S, TRAVEL TIPS | 0

how to survive a long bus ride


Any seasoned traveller will tell you that travelling, though the most wonderful thing you could ever do in your life, isn’t always glamourous. That’s right folks, sometimes trotting the globe flat-out sucks. We recently experienced this on our trip to New York City, where our bus ride from NYC to Ottawa took over 16 hours instead of the scheduled 12 (which is still wayyyy too long). The things we do to save a few bucks right??

However, with a few tricks and key items, there are ways to make those interminable stretches in transit a bit more comfortable. Read on below for tips on how to survive a long bus ride.

1. Earplugs are ESSENTIAL

People tend to take a snooze on long haul bus rides, which can lead to…yup, you guessed it – snoring, especially on overnight buses. For your own sanity we strongly recommend you bring earplugs or noise cancelling headphones to keep outside noises out (and your inner murderer in). You’ll thank us when the lady next you snores for 12 hours straight. Yea…that happened to us.

2. Get Comfortable

Blow up your travel pillow, recline your seat, put on your ugly sleeping mask and kick off your shoes – you’re gonna be here a while. These are things that will help you feel more comfortable in the long run, which is key because your butt will get numb after sitting for so long.

3. Wear Comfortable Clothing

In the same vein as the previous point, wear comfortable clothing (think sweatpants, leggings, t-shirts…) so that you don’t feel pinching or itching from your clothing in the slightest. Nothing worse than getting a wedgie for 12 hours because you decided to look cool and wore jeans right? So not worth it.

4. Bring Loads of Snacks

Ain’t no cute flight attendant to bring you a light, complimentary snack on the bus. You will get hungry, and you will die. Just kidding, but the gurgling sounds your stomach will make when you get hungry will let you know that you should have brought something to munch on. Be it carrot sticks, nuts, protein bars or a big fat chocolate bar, we recommend you bring a snack for the inevitable snack attack.

Tip: food at most rest stops is over priced and pretty nasty so it’s best to come prepared with the lunch/snacks of your choice if you’re picky.

5. Waaaataaaaaa

We recommend bringing at least 1 litre of water for your journey. We always bring reusable bottles that can be refilled at rest stops along the way and make sure to stay hydrated when we travel – nothing than having cotton mouth because you didn’t drink enough water! Also, don’t worry about going to the bathroom often because you drank too much water – most buses have handy (albeit somewhat questionable) restrooms onboard or stop at rest stops along the way so that you can, ahem, relieve yourself.

6. Warmth

Be it your coat, a scarf, a silk sack (these things are seriously awesome) or a full-out sleeping bag, you’re likely to get cold on the bus and this will be your saviour. You’ll be eternally grateful to us when you have a nice blanket to keep you warm and cozy during your journey. You’re welcome.

7. Charge It Up

Your laptop, your tablet, your e-reader, your cellphone – make sure the batteries are all at full capacity. There’s nothing worse than 0 entertainment  on the bus because, *gasp* *forehead slap*, you didn’t charge your devices. Trust us.

Tip: many buses also have charging ports, so be sure to have your charging wires accessible if this is the case.

8. Say No To Motion Sickness

If you’re ever at all inclined to feel sick when travelling, now is not the time to take chances. Take the motion sickness pill. We use Gravol (the drowsy kind) which has the added bonus of helping us sleep on the bus!

9. Bring Everything You Need

Might seem obvious, but many people don’t realize that you will not be able to access your suitcase at any point during the journey. Make sure to bring anything you might need along the way (i.e. wallet, passport/travel documents, all of the things mentioned above) with you on the bus.

10. Stay Fresh

Bring some deodorant, bring some gum and bring some wet wipes. Don’t be that nasty and stinky person with bus stench walking around your destination city. Just don’t. Or else people be like, bye Felicia.

What are your tips for surviving a long bus ride?

Share them with us in the comments below!

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how to survive a long bus ride

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Hi, we're Jordon and Katherine, founders of travel and lifestyle blog World Abound. We're a working couple who hope to be able to say one day that we've travelled the world together, even while still working our 9-5 jobs.

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