A recent trip to Sweden brought a new challenge: a 24 hours long bus ride. Needless to stay: such a long coach journey is often pretty tiring. How to make the trip as comfortable as possible? What to pack for a long bus ride? If you have an overnight bus trip ahead, these tips will help you to make the experience as smooth as possible.
01 | Be at the bus stop ahead of time
The passenger is usually required to arrive at the stop at least 15 minutes before the bus leaves. But here it is true: the sooner, the better. Timely arrival at the bus stop will save you a lot of nerves: there is nothing worse than running the last minute and risking the bus leaving you there. I recommend arriving 45 minutes ahead so that you still have enough time t to find the right platform, check your documents check and take a short rest before the upcoming long bus ride. Then there is nothing that could surprise you: even if the bus arrives some minutes earlier, you got it covered.
If you have more baggage with you, it is a good idea to ask a family or friends to drive you to the bus stop by car. I know what I’m talking about: When leaving for Sweden, we got to bring our camping equipment including a tent, sleeping bags and even some of the dishes. Moving such a cargo through public transport is a nightmare: it would cost a lot of time (on Sunday it does not go much) and we would certainly make us sweat.
02 | Pack enough food and drinks
If there is anything I underestimated about our trip, then it was the amount of food a drink for the trip. I packed a decent snack but at the same time, I was counting on getting additional dinner on a gas station or a ferry. In the end, there was no real opportunity to do so: the legendary breakfast buffet started 5 minutes after we left the ferry. Its called a bad luck :)! Eventually, we drank and eaten almost all the things we had with us until we have reached Stockholm 🙂
Lesson learned: Have enough food and drink with you all the way. You will be prepared, even if there is no other possibility to buy food. During the 24-hour long bus journey, one needs quite a lot of food and drinks. in two people, we drank 7 liters of water even though I was actually trying to drink at least as possible. If you run out of supplies, the drivers might be able to help you: at FlixBus, it is usually possible to buy drinks and some small snacks like a nuts etc.
What snack to bring for an overnight bus trip?
We prepared the following food on our trip: Homemade prepared baguettes with ham/salami and cheese, chopped vegetables (cucumber, pepper), muesli sticks, biscuits, apple (other fruits according to taste), salt almonds and nuts. If I had made Schnitzel, it would certainly be dusty for them too 🙂 Next time 🙂
03 | Entertainment for your long bus ride
It’s good to entertain yourself on the trip and cut as much travel time as possible. But how do you do it? Myself, I am pretty fond of reading a book and it is my favorite activity to do when on the road with bus or plain (apart of sleeping, of course). You could also pack a guide to the place where you are going and get some ideas on what to visit. Pack your favorite magazine as well.
Watching a movie is another activity that helps you enjoy the time in the bus: I recommend downloading some films to your phone or tablet before starting the trip. If you plan to watch movies or listen to music, make sure to have your headphones at hand (I really hate people playing their stuff loud without headphones, it is really disturbing). When it comes to electricity, long-distance buses usually have sockets; in any case, however, a power bank is a great thing to bring on a board, too. It takes almost no space and can be handy once you arrive, too.
04 | Dress in layers
You can never be sure what temperature awaits you during overnight coach trips: We kicked off the trip on a hot afternoon with temperatures over thirty. Inside the bus, it was cool and pleasant. During the night stop in Berlin we pulled out our sweatshirts, and during the early morning ferry ride, we were pretty careful to have our jackets at hand. The best is to dress in the layers and adjust to whatever is comfortable for you at the moment.
Feel free to dress light, but always pack long trousers and an extra sweatshirt in your backpack. No matter how hot is outside, the buses are air-conditioned and you will appreciate the extra clothes. The most comfortable is outdoor, breathable clothing. If you travel overnight, I recommend wrapping a thin blanket and a travel pillow: both of them occupy a place but serve to your comfort. We were really grateful to have our on the journey.
05 | Long coach journey essentials
The idea of 24 hours without brushing the teeth is the opposite of appealing, so remember to pack your brush and paste aboard. Other things to include in your hygienic bag are disinfection gel, wet napkins, and classic napkins. If you are using contact lenses, do not forget to pack the case along with the small bottle of the liquid. The toilet on the bus isn’t big, but for the basic hygiene, it is more than enough.
What else to pack on the board? I found packing the Microfiber towel was handy since it dries quickly and takes no space. Other travel essentials include a sleeping mask and earplugs so that you have a sleep undisturbed by light or other passengers or their kids, who are often more alive at night than you would wish. Additionally, consider packing travel sickness pills.
06 | Keeping your valuables safe
Even if your used socks and a food bag are not interested in anyone, a smartphone or camera without supervision can easily gain the unwanted attention of the thief. Documents, money and other valuables need to be kept together and always at hand. Personally, I am packing it all to my travel handbag and which I keep at sight at all times.
No matter if you have your valuables placed in a handbag, backpack or anywhere else, you need to take them with you whenever you leave the bus: even during a stop at the gas station or on a ferry. Before leaving the bus, it is good to check that you haven’t forgotten or lost anything.
07 | Stretch your legs
I am definitely not one of the people who can spend a lot of hours staying seated. It’s just healthier for the body to stretch and walk around here: make a small walk around the bus when you can, and if there is no stop for a long time, stretch yourself at least inside the bus.
The On our way, we stopped at about 2-3 hours to allow new passengers to come in. The break often lasted only 10-15 minutes, but it was still enough time to get out and stretch the legs. A few minutes in the fresh air helps, trust me!
08 | Have a chat with the fellow travelers
Engaging in the conversation with other passengers on the bus is an easy way of killing the time and learning something new. Plus, you really need nothing for this: just look for someone around who looks sympathetic, ask him or her where is he/she going and why. It’s easy!
During our trip to Sweden, we met a student who was going to visit her parents in Stockholm or a sympathetic pensioner who told us about her life in Sweden and even invited us to visit her on the next trip. She liked to listen to our new experiences and we enjoyed to meet someone local.
09 | The power of positive thinking
The long bus ride is like a lottery: When you get lucky, there us half-empty bus waiting for your with two seats to enjoy overnight. Other times, it can be full and rather stressful. On my trip, I got to try both: on the way to Sweden, we got plenty of space. On the way back, the bus was sold out. We could not sleep so easily and literally look forward to the real bed and hot shower.
One of the most important things is to think positively. Be calm and ready for what is there to come. Use the tips above to make your bus ride as smooth as possible!
Thanks for reading!
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My trip to Sweden was in cooperation with Czech FlixBus.