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You Too Can Survive Budget Bus Travel...with These Tips

May 3, 2012 at 1:30 PM | by | Comments (0)

It's okay to admit that you travel by bus, or even better—by $1 bus specials. The era of cool bus travel has arrived, when it just no longer makes sense to fly between New York and Philadelphia when the bus costs under $20 and usually takes under 2 hours, and it has free WiFi and power outlets. Take that, regional jets!

Especially with today's news that BoltBus is expanding to the Pacific Northwest, we feel the need to remind travelers of the unofficial "bus code." Everyone knows to shower before a long bus ride (and after), but there's a few other tips you mostly learn from actually dealing with long-haul rides.

After the jump, our Top Five Tips For Surviving Budget Bus Travel

5. Check out BusJunction.com
It's far easier than guessing at the amenities available on bus routes, since the site tells you if your particular bus is equipped with the good stuff like WiFi, outlets, and bathrooms. It's far better than hauling your laptop and chargers along only to discover that you're out of luck on the connectivity front. Plus, the site has begun incorporating Yelp bus reviews to help you decide on a bus company for your trip.

4. Avoid sitting in the middle of the bus
What is wrong with the middle of the bus, you ask? Well, if you're on a nice bus equipped with WiFi and outlets, then you'll quickly discover that the middle five rows or so do not have the outlets. They are usually located on the bottom middle of the seats in front of you, but the middle rows on these buses only have plates where the outlets should be. We don't want you to make our same mistakes.

3. Don't eat beans or other gas-causing food the day of
The buses can smell bad enough as it is. If you're lucky and you get a coach perfumed with "new car smell," then you really don't want to be the guy who ruins it for everyone else by releasing clouds of "Eau de Taco Bell" into the air. This also goes for eating stinky foods on the bus, because while everyone's mouths may water along with yours over fried chicken or french fries, they will be less appreciative of your kimchee lunch.

2. Beware of pickpockets
A while ago, somewhere in the middle of Indiana, we were traveling on a bus that had left from Chicago-Union Station. All of a sudden, two women on the bus exclaimed that their wallets were missing, and just as quickly as they discovered this, they knew who had done it: some characters hanging around the boarding area on Canal Street. They had apparently gotten in line just like everyone else, and while the women were handing off their checked luggage to be stowed under the bus, the men had picked their purses. It's a dastardly routine, and we bet it's paying very well since oftentimes, bus travelers are tired, possibly confused, and hauling far too much stuff (leave the full pillows and quilts at home, people).

So just keep you eye on your belongings at all times, and if unsavory characters are hanging around or making you uncomfortable, tell a Megabus person; that's one of the reasons they have walkie-talkies.

1. Stick to the Golden Rule
In life this is a good rule to follow, and the same goes for bus travel: "Do not do to others what you would not like to be done to you." In a way, this also applies to the #3 tip of not eating smelly or gas-causing foods, but it also means to be keep common courtesy. Don't spend your route talking loudly on your cell phone or talking your seatmate's ear off when they're clearly wearing headphones to ignore you. Don't trip people with your legs stretched out into the aisle, and don't make messes and not clean them up, lest one day you sit down in someone else's forgotten mess.

See you on the bus!

[Photo: Jaunted]

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