Surviving a cross-country Greyhound bus trip
Greyhound is a bus company that connects most of the major cities in the United States of America. And in most cases, it’s much cheaper than flying. But it may take more than a day to reach the destination which would only take a few hours of flying. In this blog post, I decided to put together some tips to make your Greyhound trips easier.
The Greyhound website advises to arrive at the bus station at least thirty minutes before the departure of the hired bus. But I would suggest that you arrive even earlier; or not, if you don’t mind sitting in the worst place. There are many people who arrive early just to be able to choose the best seats . The seats are not assigned, so you can choose the one you want (assuming you arrive early enough).
Also, Greyhound buses sometimes leave a few minutes before the official departure time, so this is another reason to be at the bus station on time. Make sure you print your ticket(s), they won’t let you on the bus if you show them the ticket on your mobile phone.
This is how the Greyhound bus station is identified. Sometimes it is a station itself and other times the bus will stop at a gas station or a parking lot; just look for a sign like this and you’ll know where to wait. I took this photo during my Greyhound trip to New Orleans.
Bring an extra sweater… or three
In one of my previous posts, I mentioned that in the United States of America, air conditioning is everywhere and most of the time, it is set to quite uncomfortable levels. This unfortunate rule also applies to Greyhound buses. I’m not kidding when I say my teeth were chattering in the middle of the night and I put on literally all the clothes I was wearing and I was still cold.
And she was not the only one. The woman sitting across from me went to the driver to see if she could set the bus to a warmer temperature, and the response was that the air conditioning on Greyhound buses only had one setting: arctic temperature . And she said that she would rather drive a bus that is cold than one that is too hot. Therefore, my advice is to bring some extra clothes. You will need it, even if you are going to a hot destination.
Free Wi-Fi and power outlets
All Greyhound buses have free Wi-Fi and plugs to charge your electronic devices. Does it sound too good to be true? It is in part. When you use Wi-Fi on Greyhound buses, forget about YouTube and other Internet video services. They disable the videos because if you download them, the Wi-Fi would be super slow for other users.
Well, I found out when I was already on the bus and had not downloaded any music on my smartphone before the trip, because I was planning to listen to music on YouTube. Fortunately, I had also brought a book, which allowed me to forget about my misfortune for a couple of hours.
There are sockets at each seat, but they are old and sometimes the movement of the bus causes the charger to unplug itself . Talking about my personal experience – I plugged in the phone because the battery was almost dead, then I fell asleep and when I woke up, I saw the charger dropped on the floor. So, a piece of advice: bring some zeal and stick the charger with it to the plug.
bring some snacks
Greyhound buses make frequent stops, but it’s still useful to bring something to snack on. Because? There are two reasons. Greyhound stations are usually located in the middle of nowhere, so you won’t really be able to go to any nearby stores during the stop and buy food. The second reason is that in the Greyhound stations there are vending machines, and sometimes a restaurant area, but the food is very expensive and not very good.
Bring a pillow, earplugs, and an eye mask
Greyhound buses are comfortable, but if you sit on them for more than four hours, the journey can become torture. The seats can be reclined very far back, so you can sleep quite well.
Even short bus rides can be uncomfortable. But traveling across the country by bus can give you some pretty bad neck pain if you don’t have a pillow with you. You can bring one of those small, regular pillows, or even better, a neck pillow , if you have one. An eye mask and earplugs are also extremely helpful.
Well, if you don’t have earplugs you can use regular headphones to cover up some sound. You are not allowed to talk on the phone (with speakerphone on) or listen to loud music, but Greyhound buses are extremely loud . The eye mask saved my life, because despite the fact that the driver dims the lights during the night drive, the passengers can still use the reading lights and they are extremely bright.
Tip: Take an overnight Greyhound to save money you would otherwise have to spend on accommodation. But don’t expect to be able to be on the bus all the time. When I traveled to New Orleans this past summer, I took a Greyhound bus from Cincinnati, and the trip was, believe it or not, twenty-four hours (not including time spent at bus stops). Then why did I travel by bus? Well, because my trip was on the Fourth of July and flights to New Orleans during those dates would have cost me about eight hundred dollars. I paid a small fraction of the price for the trip with the Greyhound bus.
I’m still in awe when the driver told us to get off the bus for an hour on the night ride because he had to gas up and clean it up.
And this is what a Greyhound bus station usually looks like on the outside. Once again, it is impossible to go wrong with such great signs.
A few last words to finish…
Without a doubt, Greyhound buses are not the most comfortable means of transportation to travel across the United States of America, but they are cheap and quite reliable . So if your destination is more important than the journey, then you can easily survive a long distance trip on the Greyhound bus.
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