Okay, so maybe bus travel isn’t as dramatic as back when Joe Buck rode all the way to New York City to find his dreams. But in the years since I’ve been traveling back and forth to and from NYC, I’ve been stuck in hours of traffic, rode through countless storms, and even been slightly molested in my sleep by my seatmate. That alone should qualify me as some sort of bus expert. With Pictures!
Expert Bus Riding Tip Number One: Layer Up
Start with the littlest tank top. Add a sweatshirt. Maybe a coat. And if you’re lucky enough to (like me) have nicked an airplane blanket somewhere down the line, bring that too. Bus temperatures range from sweltering to walk-in-freezer. Be comfortable.
Expert Bus Riding Tip Number Two: Nourishment
Sometimes the bus will roll up to a Burger King and you’ll be all like HOORAY FRIES FOR EVERYONE and sometimes you’ll get stuck in six hours of traffic and be WAAAAY late and sometimes you’ll realize in your haste to get to the station on time, you forgot to eat today. Granola bars, crackers, all these things in your carry-on or purse will be a lifesaver. Bonus points if you bring them from home and save your vending machine money for more important endeavors like laaaaaundry.
Expert Bus Riding Tip Number Three: Tissues in the Pocket
One of the less pleasant aspects of riding the bus is the bus bathroom. As Jeff Goldblum famously said in the 1993 classic Jurassic Park, “When you gotta go, you gotta go.” And bus bathrooms are not always stocked with toilet paper. Double down on the tissues and they can also be used as a napkin for your bus snack (see above) and hey, actual tissues!
Expert Bus Riding Tip Number Four: Doo-doo-doo-doo CHARRRRGE!
Seriously, charge your devices before getting on board. Some bus companies (Greyhound holla) offer buses with outlets so you can play Angry Birds Star Wars for four consecutive hours (and like me, advance three levels in that time). But some don’t. And that’s terrible. So charge your phone and iPod and iPad and iPhhhhbt whatever before you ride.
Expert Bus Riding Tip Number Five: Enjoy the Ride!
Granted, there will probably be a man screaming on his cell phone the whole time about how late he’ll be because the driver is too slow. There will probably also be a baby screaming while his mother is too busy texting to pay it any attention. And be careful about turning your back to your seatmate, because they just might stick their hand down the back of your pants when you least expect it.
But remember to look out the windows. Breathe deep the air-conditioned breeze. Wave good-bye to the skyline, scope out New Jersey’s shiny diner collection, the pastoral beauty of the Delaware Water Gap. Remember that travel is a magnificent thing – to start one place and end up another in a matter of hours! Remind yourself how lucky you are when that neglected baby starts kicking the back of your seat.