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When you’re traveling long-distances by bus there are a few essentials you should never forget. Find out what to bring on a long bus ride!
What to Bring on a Long Bus Ride
Written by: Jessica Lippe
While traveling light is useful for most trips, it’s especially important when taking the bus. In my experience, almost all bus companies allow you to put a bag under the bus, but you won’t have access to these until you change buses or reach your destination.
It’s important that the bag you place under the bus has lockable zippers. Follow these tips so you don’t become a victim of theft.
On board, you’re allowed to bring a SMALL personal item, such as a backpack or large tote. Make sure to always store your valuables in this on-board bag and never leave it unattended.
A long-distance or overnight bus ride does require a few unique items for a comfortable experience. Here are my top tips on what to bring on a long bus ride!
➊ Large Scarf or Thin Blanket
Since the AC can be a bit chilly at times, it’s nice to have something to cover up with. A sleeping bag liner or other thin travel blanket can be very useful. If you don’t need any bedding at your destination, a large scarf or sarong is a great space-saving substitute for a blanket.
Here are the top 5 benefits of traveling with a sleeping bag liner!
➋ Travel Pillow
Inflatable pillows are the most travel friendly option but you can also use a compression sack as a makeshift pillow. A compression sack is packing organizer where you store your clothing or other bulky items.
Here are ten more neck pillow styles for you to choose from!
➌ Comfortable Clothes
Wearing comfortable clothes makes it so easy to change in cramped spaces, sleep, and go on whirlwind tours at your layover cities. Leggings, loose pants, and casual but comfortable tops are all highly recommended.
Find out the best leggings for women that travel!
Bus drivers do occasionally take meal breaks, but it may not be at your desired eating time, and you’ll only have fast food or gas station dining options.
Most long-distance bus companies are okay with passengers eating on board, so bring healthy snacks and other easy to store foods.
➎ Water Bottle
If you forget to bring a water bottle, you may get dehydrated between rest stops. Always bring water with you especially on “off-the-beaten path” journeys when you don’t know when you’ll get a chance to buy food and water. (If there’s not a bathroom on the bus, ration your intake.)
Even the same bus company in one country will have varying entertainment options on each bus. Some offer WiFi, personal TVs with a selection of movies, or may even have a bus driver who doubles as a tour guide.
On the other hand, some buses offer nothing in the area of entertainment.
When planning what to bring on a long bus ride, it’s best to expect the worst and come prepared with headphones, eBooks, offline movies, or anything else that will help you fight boring legs of the trip.
Bring chargers onboard as some buses have outlets under the seats. You can also bring a portable power bank to charge small devices.
Take a look at our list of portable power bank chargers.
➐ Hidden Whistle
This is one of those things you’ll hopefully never need but isn’t a bad idea to have as a solo female traveler. If your seat mate is treating you inappropriately, threaten to blow the whistle, get the driver’s attention, and get your seat mate kicked off the bus.
Another good idea is to sit near the front of the bus especially if you are traveling alone.
Here are more safe travel essentials.
➑ A GPS App
There’s nothing more stressful than being dropped off at your destination and having no idea where in the city you are.
Even if you don’t have WiFi on the road, if you set up directions on Google Maps it will usually track your journey if your Location Services setting is enabled on your phone.
This is also a useful tool on the bus, because you can use it to figure out how much further to your destination. It can be especially helpful if you don’t speak the same language as the driver.
Without sunglasses, there’s very little you can do about the glare shining through the windows. You can also nap wearing sunglasses instead of an eye mask.
➓ Sleep Aids
What you take to help you sleep will depend a lot on your current sleep preferences, but know that sleeping upright in a moving vehicle with 50 other people is going to be a lot different from your own bedroom.
Many people bring sleep masks, ear plugs, lavender oil or lotion, and melatonin or another drowsy-inducing medication.
⓫ Tissue Packets
These are a must on any travel journey! Don’t ever count on toilet paper being readily available so having one or two of these tissue packets in your bag is essential.
A few other good reasons to bring these: the circulated air on a bus may trigger allergies; you might need to wipe your hands or face; or you may need to clean surfaces near your seat.
⓬ Hand Sanitizer and/or Wipes
Stay healthy on the road by disinfecting your hands before and after eating. Wipes can also serve as a shower substitute if needed!
What are your tips for what to bring on a long bus ride? Share in the comments!
For more tips, please read:
- Safe Travel Essentials: Will these 5 Products Help You?
- Backpacking Checklist: Top 10 Hostel Travel Essentials
- How to Choose a Travel Backpack
- Best Travel Underwear for Women
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Author Bio: Jessica Lippe craves uncommon adventure and has fond memories in Northern Italy as part of last summer’s Mediterranean Trek. Read about her travels and other adventures at JessicaLippe.com.