I’ve been known to say that the worst part of travelling is the travelling part. Makes no sense I know. Don’t get me wrong, when you’re sat on the top of a boat as you pull in to one of Thai islands, you’re feeling pretty good and you forget about the journey once you step on to a golden beach. But to get to paradise you’ve sometimes got to survive some horrific overnight buses. Your bus may be in Thailand or Australia, be old or new but the fact of the matter is, you’ve still got to be on a bus for 12 hours. Just thinking about it brings back bad memories!
I’ve been on my fair share of overnight buses (one was 22 hours from Alice Springs to Darwin) and although it’s never going to that pleasant, there are ways of making journey a hell of a lot easier!
- Neck Cushion – A true lifesaver when trying to catch some sleep on a bus. Without a neck cushion, your choices are either leaning on a shaking window or dribbling on the shoulder on the person your sat next to. I have a fantastic neck cushion called the J Pillow which as well as supporting your neck, has an extra ‘arm’ to lean your head on – something I think normal neck cushions definitely lack! Here’s Kara from Heels In My Backpack giving her review on Youtube!
- Eye Mask – Not everyone wants to sleep on an overnight bus so take an eye mask to block out any lights people have on around you and to make it clear that you want some shut eye even if they don’t!
- Jumper/Scarf – The air-con on buses can be very temperamental in my opinion, they either seem to be freezing or uncomfortably hot. Take something warm just in case and I always find that having a big scarf over me makes me feel like I’m under a blanket and therefore more likely to fall asleep.
- Bug Spray – Overnight buses seem to be a haven for mosquitoes. I always find myself covered in bites the next day so make sure you give yourself a quick spray before you get on and cover up any exposed skin.
- Entertainment – 12 hours is a long time to be sat on a bus and you’re unlikely to be able to sleep for it all. Take your iPod and listen to some music,watch a film on your laptop or read a book. Anything to make the morning come around that little bit quicker. I find this a great time to catch up on my travel diary.
- Water and Snacks – You’ll feel better the next day if you keep yourself hydrated and fed. Most buses stop at service stations but the selection of food and drink can sometimes be limited or just plain weird if you’re in Asia so take something with you.
- Wet Wipes and Tootbrush/Toothpaste – You will be dying for a shower when you get off a bus so take these to have a quick freshen up before you get off and feel a little bit human again. That hostel shower will feel great!
I hope these tips help you survive your next overnight bus. They may not be your first choice of transport but they’re cheap and save you a nights accommodation. Don’t worry you’ll soon be at your next destination!