Tips for Taking an Overnight Bus

You how important budgeting and spending money wisely is when you’re traveling. After all, you want to make the most of your experiences abroad and spend money in the smartest way possible.

Depending on where you’re traveling, taking an overnight bus may be a budget influenced decision, or  you might not have a choice. Overnight bus transportation is very common in Southeast Asia and South America, for example.

Sure, it doesn’t sound glamorous – the thought of sleeping on a bus. And let’s be real, you’re not going to get the same sleep you would in a 5 star hotel. But, you won’t waste a day in transit and, in certain destinations around the world, such as Argentina, you can even take a luxury overnight bus!

Take some steps to prepare yourself with these top tips for taking an overnight bus!

1. Travel Pillows are Essential

Travel pillows are a great investment and they come in all different shapes and sizes so you can be sure to find the perfect one that suits your packing style. It makes a huge different if you have a travel pillow when taking an overnight bus.

It is the best way to prevent waking up with a sore neck – the last thing you need when you pull up in a new city to explore!

2. Pack for that Snack Attack

Even if you don’t feel too hungry, there is probably going to be a point when you feel the urge to eat – even out of boredom. So pack some healthy snacks like nuts and dried fruit in your bag to keep your stomach happy on the bus.

Having a protein bar, some granola, rice cakes, or fruit set aside for the morning is also a good idea so you’re not feeling super hungry before making it to your destination.

3. Stay Hydrated

You’ll certainly want to stay hydrated while on the bus so keep a bottle of water in your bag. I always travel with a Vapur water bottle because they roll up when empty and fill to a full 1 liter.

Don’t be too concerned about needing to use the toilet while on the bus – pretty much all overnight buses are equipped with a bathroom so you’ll be fine.

It’s better to stay healthy and drink water than dehydrate yourself overnight! Oh, and pack some hand sanitizer in your bag for after using the bathroom – it is the best way to feel clean and refreshed!

4. Freshen Up

When you wake up in the morning, you’re going to want some gum to freshen up your breath. It’ll make you feel a million dollars after sleeping on a bus!

5. Hold Onto Your Bag While You’re Sleeping

You can never be too cautious when sleeping in a public place, so put all your valuables (like your wallet, passport and phone) in a purse or small bag and hold onto it while you sleep.

You can tuck it behind you on the chair or beside you, or wrap it around your arm or leg. Another idea is to put your wallet or phone in your pockets if you have pants or a jacket that they’ll fit in.

Better to be safe than sorry!

6. Bring Something to Keep you Warm

Even if you’re traveling in the middle of summer, buses tend to be kept at arctic temperatures. You might find you get a bit chilly on an overnight bus, so it’s best to take an extra jacket with you.

I always travel with a beanie no matter where I am because they keep you really warm and don’t take up much space.

7. Charge Your Electronics

Listening to music can help you get a better night sleep, so make sure you charge your electronics in advance and don’t forget to bring your music device on board.

Most overnight buses are equipped with charging points as well, so pack a car charger to give charge to your music or phone throughout the journey.

8. Take Sleeping and/or a Motion Sickness Medicine

If you’re concerned about getting enough sleep, melatonin is a really effective and harmless sleeping pill. It’s a natural sleeping pill without harsh chemicals so you won’t need to worry about side effects.

It’s also worth taking Dramamine or a motion sickness pill if you get car sick to avoid a churning stomach during the ride.

9. Research the Company You’re Traveling With

Do a bit of research before you book with an overnight bus company. Remember that the price of an overnight bus ride (in relation to the length of the journey) can be an indication of the quality of the bus

With things like this, cheaper is not always better!

It might be worth paying that extra few dollars for the more expensive bus to ensure you get a comfortable seat and decent facilities. Read up on other people’s reviews to get an idea of the experience you’re in for!

Do you have tips for taking an overnight bus?

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Kiersten Rich
Kiersten Rich is the bikini-obsessed author of award-winning solo female travel and lifestyle blog, The Blonde Abroad, featuring travel tips, fashion, food, festivals and photography from around the world.