Tips for extended travel and bus trips
Sitting on a bus or any other vehicle for an extended amount of time is not ideal. But sometimes, it is inevitable when we are travelling and making our way from place to place. To some, extended travel may mean 2 hours, for others, it may be 15 hours - it's all relevant in terms of personal preference. One thing in common we all have in common, however, is that is we all like to be comfortable during our travels, no matter how long or short, so we feel refreshed and in a good mood when we arrive at our destination.
Below are some tips on how to make the most of your extended bus travel to make the most of your time spent on the road. Most of these tips will apply to any type of travel, including plane, train or automobile in hopes that each and every journey is comfortable and enjoyable.
It doesn't matter where you are going, or what you are doing, arriving early is always a good rule of thumb. This is especially true when it comes to travel. Arriving early allows for an extra time that may or may not be anticipated, as things always manage to come up along the way. There is nothing worse than feeling rushed as you are trying to get yourself situated and organised before a lengthy bus ride! Arriving early is especially important if seats aren't assinged beforehand... first come first serve means you will get first pick, allowing you to sit where you want.
Bring things for peace and quiet
Peace and quiet are key to maintaining sanity on extended travel: this means ear plugs, eye masks, blankets and headphones. Anything that will allow you to retreat within your own seated area and relax in peace and quiet will make your trip more bearable. This is also key to getting a good night's sleep on overnight trips. Most travel essentials can be picked up at a supermarket, chemist or travel store in a mall or airport.
Make sure you wear comfy clothes that are appropriate for an extended bus drive. Keep in mind most busses are likely to use air-conditioning to maintain a cool temperature for the duration of the ride. Think about layering up (even if it's warm out) so you can dress up or dress down, depending on the inside temperatures on the bus. Comfy clothes and shoes are important for optimal travel comfort.
Bring music, a book, or other activities
Unless you plan to snooze or daydream the entire time, it's a good idea to bring activites to keep you busy for your lengthy bus ride. Listening to music is always a good option, as it usually just involves a phone and small earbuds, and reading, puzzles or writing are good ideas too to keep you entertained. This will help fill in the gaps where you might get restless from sitting so long. If you can't occupy your body, you can certainly occupy your mind as you hang out for hours on end.
Keep valuables close
Keep anything of great personal or monetary value close. Most modes of transit will pack a bulk of your luggage underneath or behind you, where you are unable to keep an eye on it. Packing the things that are important to you in a small bag that you can keep close by will ensure you will not only know where they are at all times, but will also give you peace of mind that it will not get misplaced or stolen. Things such as money, jewelry, passports and cameras should be packed in a small backpack or purse and kept within eyesight.
You are bound to get hungry at some point during a lengthy bus ride. Either out of boredom or hunger, it's nice to have something to snack on when sitting on a bus for a long time. While most busses will have rest stops or offer a chance for passengers to get food, sometimes bus schedules don't always line up with our own body clock, meaning you may get hungry at some point in between. This is especially true if you are jetlagged or just coming in from a different country, where breakfast might feel like lunch and 4am feels like dinner time. Snacks and drinks may or may not be permitted on board your bus, so just check with your agent upon booking.
Take advantage of rest stops. Get out, stretch your legs, get some free air, use the bathroom, restock on snacks, get some food, do some yoga... Whatever it is, make sure to take advantage of your time off the bus. Stops may only be as short as 5 minutes or as long as 30 - ask your driver how long is it and make sure you are back for its departure. You don't want to get left behind!