Authored by Alice Ross
The excruciating misery of confined legs and sore necks, lack of sleep and constant anxiety attacks – these are some of the reasons people don’t look forward to long-haul bus rides.
And while some companies have made the experience a lot easier, with facilities like toilets and TV, that doesn’t change how terrible it can be to find yourself stuck on a bus. It’s one of those ideas you can usually file under “seemed like a good idea at the time”.
Most people are happy acknowledging that the long haul bus plain sucks, though there are many reasons people continue to travel this way; they can’t afford or don’t want to spend their money on expensive plane tickets, or, to reach some destinations, there may not be any other choice.
Luckily, there are simple ways to make the experience more comfortable and fun. Here are some tips and suggestions to help you how to survive long-haul bus.
How to Survive a Long Haul Bus Ride
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Choose Your Seat
This is not always possible, but where you can, choose not to sit down next to anyone. If you have your own seat, you can stretch your legs or even lay down.
It’s more likely that there will be spare seats if your bus route is not a popular one, or you’re not traveling during a peak time.
Stand up From Your Seat
Even while the bus is running, you can stand and walk around to stretch your arms and legs. Doing this will make you feel less tired. You’ll get some of your blood flowing and moving continuously which will get you feel better.
However make sure that your movements throughout the bus do not distract the driver.
Bring a Small Pillow
You don’t have to bring a full-sized pillow with you on the bus, a nice travel neck pillow will do. It will allow you to rest your head so that you can sleep more comfortably than you would using the window or the shoulder of the stranger beside you!
Though bus seats can be incredibly uncomfortable, and if you’re not using your pillow to support your neck, you could place it behind your back, or sit on it if that’s more comfortable.
Sleep as Much as You Can
It might not be the easiest thing to do, but if you can, take a nap. It will mean you’re less tired when you arrive at your destination, and will make the travel time seem faster.
Having earplugs and eye masks with you are essential for falling asleep, and you should avoid drinking alcohol and coffee before or during the trip.
You might find these beverages comforting, but they are more likely disrupt your ability to fall asleep. Passing out after having bottles of beer on the bus doesn’t mean you will have a comfortable sleep. It will also make you more dehydrated.
Bring Enough Food
Yes, most bus trips have scheduled break times where passengers can to go to the bathroom and grab something to eat. But you never know when you may get hungry, and you may have to go hours without food if you sleep through a scheduled stop, or *knock on wood* if the bus breaks down.
You can also never guarantee the standard or quality of food being served at your scheduled stops, so it’s best to bring enough food to last you throughout the trip. The best food to bring are protein bars, sandwiches, chips, and bottles of water.
An air-conditioned bus can get really cold. I’ve seen people wearing strapless shirts and shorts and that’s something I wouldn’t do on a long bus ride.
To protect yourself from the cold, make sure you have something to cover you. Whether this is a blanket, a jacket, or a pair of socks, always pack under the assumption that at some point in the trip, you’ll get cold.
Ways to Stay Occupied
If you can’t sleep through the trip, there are a lot of ways to keep yourself occupied during the long ride. A handheld console gaming device is a great way to pass the time, (Sony PS Vita, PSP, or Nintendo DS), and is likely to keep you occupied for hours. If you have a friend who can play multiplayer games with you, that’s even better.
An audio player (with earphones) is another asset on a long ride, as music can go a long way to keeping you sane. And if you’re one of those people who can read on a bus, books (or a kindle) can be a great way to beat boredom, and will feed your mind.
Check Out: Travel Book Store
Long haul bus rides are never easy. The best way to survive them is to keep your attitude positive and prepare your mind for it.
So, the next time you are stuck on a bus for an extended period of time, use these ideas to make your trip more comfortable and fun than than dull and boring.
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Photo credits: Texting and braiding hair on open air bus in Manila by Wayne S. Grazio.