Long-Distance Bus Travel Things

Frankfurt-Amsterdam

Now that I’m rather used to travelling by long-distance busses I thought writing down my favourite bits of advice could be useful to someone else some day. I also wrote this from an actual long-distance bus.

Pack lightly, travel freely

Try to reduce your luggage to your carry-on when you’re not travelling with a lot of special clothing (like Lolita or historical fashion). For a prolonged weekend a medium-sized backpack or weekender should be enough. T-Shirts and socks can be used to stuff empty, dead space in your luggage.
This if course doesn’t apply to week trips or more but think twice if you really need another three outfits or two additional pairs of shoes.
Speaking of shoes, wear your heaviest on the bus so you don’t have to carry them.

Travel Attire

Don’t slouch, but, more important, don’t be uncomfortable. I prefer leggings and jersey shirts or short, comfy dresses (like long tunics or pullovers) that I would also leave the house in at home. I wouldn’t be so pleased with myself wearing old, worn-out sweatpants and a random t-shirt always sliding up and exposing my belly. I also like to take my shoes off for anything that takes more than two hours, so I pack a pair of fluffy woolen socks. Especially if you travel overnight bring a big zip-up hoodie or oversized cardigan as a blanket  substitute, and maybe a long, wide shawl (I prefer to fold up my hoodie into its hood and use it as a pillow, so I usually take the shawl as my cover).

Entertainment

Bring the biggest, best headphones you own. The more sound they block out the better. Take a show you’re hooked on at the moment with you, this way you’ll spend less time watching it at home where you can actually do other stuff, too. Make a travel playlist. Bring films you always wanted to watch (this doesn’t really work for me, I’m rather particular about films that work with my mood). If you own an e-book reader, great for you. If not, try e-books on your laptop if you’re taking it with you anyway rather than taking a lot of actual paper books, as it saves space. You can download classics for free at Project Gutenberg. Bring little crafts (but nothing dangerous) to keep your hands busy. Sitting next to someone with a sharp needle can freak people out, though.

Food & Drink

Stay hydrated. Take at least one 1.5l bottle with you. Pack actual food, not just snacks and sweets. If you have the chance, make yourself proper bento.
Vitamins are important. Oranges and Apples already come in their natural packaging, carrots don’t squish. Salad is great, but dressing is messy so think twice about that or take the dressing along in a small bottle or jar and add when needed (don’t forget a fork).
Be considerate of your fellow travellers – try to find lunch that doesn’t smell obtrusively. Some people are travel-sick already and the smell of ripe cheese or liver sausage will probably only make it worse.

Sleep

It’s probably not the worst idea to invest in a travel pillow, you know, those squishy crescent shapes. It’ll keep your neck from getting stiff if you sleep sitting up. If you have a double seat all for yourself you can try and curl up (if you’re small enough), and simply fold up your sweater as a pillow (see above).
If you’re a light sleeper bring ear plugs and/or a sleeping mask, and try to forgive people who snore. We don’t do it on purpose.
I personally like sleeping on the road (good thing I’m not the driver, ever) because of the comfy rocking motion and because I sleep quite well with low chatter in the background.

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2 thoughts on “Long-Distance Bus Travel Things

  1. I have found the car trips make me carsick if I read or watch something, but for some reason, trains are usually ok for a couple of hours. Not sure what a long bus ride would be like!

    1. I think it has to do with the relative sideways movement – cars sway quite a lot due to being relatively short in contrast to trains (that go pretty straight) and busses which are somewhat in the middle.

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