There can be little doubt that bus journeys offer an inexpensive way to travel. For as little as £35 with iDBUS, for instance, you could travel from Victoria Coach Station in London to central Paris. Yet bus journeys are also lengthy and you need to be sure of keeping yourself comfortable and entertained throughout. If you are travelling with young children this is probably even more important.
Before you even book your tickets, check that the bus company you are planning to use has comfortable coaches. Travelling with ergonomically-designed seats with extra leg and arm room and having access to free Wi-Fi and plug sockets will make your journey more pleasant right away compared with a traditional fixed-seat, bare essentials bus.
For when you are at the coach station and on board, have a look at our suggestions for boredom-busting activities. Take the essentials you need and the hours will fly by.
How many hours have you ‘wasted’ on an evening surfing the web, checking emails or status updates? Time flies when you’re online so take advantage of free on board Wi-Fi available from iDBUS.
Not great for those who suffer motion sickness but if you are generally fine with road travel then take a cracking read. If you have an e-Reader then you’ll have all the more choice of book to keep yourself entertained.
If you have difficulty in switching off when there is a lot of noise around you (perhaps from other passengers chatting) then plug your headphones in, sit back and enjoy the scenery. Download some neutral sounds like rainfall or just white noise for overnight journeys to help you sleep.
Take your laptop and a handful of DVDs, or download some before you leave for instant access to movies to pass the time. Don’t forget your headphones!
Play some paper games.
Hangman, the squares game, noughts and crosses – old-fashioned but very useful at passing the time if you are travelling with someone (or are seated next to someone friendly). Crosswords, word searches, logic puzzles – buy a book from the station and use it to pass the time.
Pack all that you think you might need into your backpack to take on board with you. Wear layers so that you can keep a comfortable temperature throughout the journey, and make use of rest stops to stretch your legs. Perhaps use the time on board to plan what you’re going to do when you arrive at your destination by reading your guidebooks and creating an itinerary.
Finally, if you are travelling with young children and think that eight hours will be too long to keep them entertained then opt for an overnight service. Take blankets and travel pillows and their favourite teddies. They will be excited at the novelty at first but with dim lighting and the swaying motion of the bus they will soon nod off.