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How To Prepare Traveling By Bus

Updated on August 13, 2012

Are you planning a bus trip soon? Here are some sensible tips for traveling across country on any bus line. If you have, then you have experienced traveling by bus to your far away destination, knowing some of the frustrations that can occur. However, with a little preparation before hand, those long bus trips can be enjoyable. So with no further ado, here is how to prepare traveling by bus.

Most people who take buses are usually limited on funds. If you know early when you are taking these trips, then purchase your ticket in advance and on line. The ticket prices will go up the closer to the date of departure and on line tickets generally have discounts compared to purchasing at the bus stations. Keep in mind, for an extra 15 dollars or so you can purchase a refundable ticket should you be unsure of making the trip.

Some bus lines will offer reserved seating so you can pick where you want to sit ahead of time. Generally, though the seating is first come first served. Now days, the bus seats are comfortable and good leg space, but not always is this the case. When loading onto a bus, it is typical that there are passenger already seated from an earlier pick up. If you are the type that needs the restroom, then sit close to the back, otherwise the best seats tend to be in the middle or up front. I would caution you here, try not to sit next to the back corner restroom if you can help it. Some odors tend to linger there, creating an unpleasant journey!

What to pack and how much? Most bus lines allow one bag to store under the bus with each ticket purchased. However, for an extra ten bucks, you can have a second bag stowed away. If you carry also a smaller bag, there are overhead compartments to pack them into. My suggestions is to have one big suitcase stored underneath and two small carryons for overhead storage. Here is another thing to consider when deciding what luggage to use for your trip. If you have luggage that has wheels, use it! You will mostly be responsible for moving your luggage from bus to bus during transfers and nothing is worse than lugging more baggage than you can handle! Typically, my carryons can be swung over my shoulders and then I have a free hand to stroll my other suitcase on wheels. Backpacks work well in this situation.

Usually on these kinds of bus trips, they will stop every 1 1/2 to 2 hours for breaks. Sometimes these stops are at convenience stores/gas stations and will only last 10 maybe 15 minutes. Generally they are stopping to pick up new passengers or to let others off at their final destinations. Take advantage of this and stretch your legs or refresh yourself with a soda, coffee, water or a snack. Be sure to pay attention to people reloading. You don't want to be left behind!

Again, most people who choose to travel by bus are limited on funds. Be sure to pack you some goodies to snack on and a good size bottle of water. It is a good idea to stay hydrated and fed so you won't become irritable. There are times, on the longer routes, where you will be at a bus stations on a layover, waiting for your connecting bus. For money saving purposes, you can pack things like ramen noodles and a small bowl. Most bus stations have a microwave available.

During these kinds of layovers, you will generally have all your luggage with you. So again, be sure you can handle your luggage with ease and never, never leave them unattended. Even if you go to the bathroom for a quick minute, take your luggage with you. Bus lines can not control the people who go in and out of the bus stations. So take care in protecting yourself and your things.

It takes all kinds of people to make up this wonderful world of ours, so keep in mind that some people you may end up traveling with will not be your cup of tea! Some people will carry on pleasant conversations and some won't. Try to remain respectable and pleasant with others since you will have no choice but to travel the distance with them. Be very cautious of strangers who approach you at the bus stations. Most people are nice, but some are con artists. No matter what sad story a person tells you about needing a few bucks, try not to cave in to their needs. In my travels I have heard some tall stories!

Also at these layovers, the bus stations now have plug in bars, where there is a strip of 25 plug ins for you cell phone or laptop to recharge. Again, use sensibility and do not leave your electronics plugged in and walk away. Keep a cautious eye on all your things!

Prepare for traveling by bus can be adventurous and scary at the same time. Just take a deep breath and remember some of these keys things and your trip should be smooth sailing. Sit back and enjoy the scenery and catch up on some rest.


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    • backporchstories profile image

      backporchstories 5 years ago from Kentucky

      Awesome! Thanks for reading and your words!

    • point2make profile image

      point2make 5 years ago

      It's been a long time since I took a bus trip. Your tips and helpful hints would certainly be very useful for anyone contemplating such a trip. I know they would have come in very hand for me the last time I took the bus. My trip, I suspect, would have been a little more enjoyable. Good hub..voted up!

    • backporchstories profile image

      backporchstories 5 years ago from Kentucky

      Thanks! I have made a number of trips...some not so good...but quickly learned the best way and attitude! I enjoy bus trips now. The journey is different and new each time?

    • montecristo profile image

      Angel Caleb Santos 5 years ago from Hampton Roads, Virginia

      Great hub. I traveled on a long trip riding the Greyhound. Never again. Voted up!