The Amazing Benefits of a Long Bus Trip

When you think about travelling on a long trip to somewhere exciting then there is a very good chance that you imagine yourself sitting comfortably in an airplane.

Flying is by far the simplest way to get away but once you reach your destination you will find that getting around by bus is a lot of fun and brings you some big benefits.

Mix with the Locals

Hopping on the bus is just about the easiest way to get to mix with the locals. If you are somewhere exotic then you might get a few stares and someone might even come up and talk to you. Otherwise, you can just settle back and listen to the conversations going on around you. There is something strangely exhilarating for me about doing this in a country where I don’t understand the language and no-one knows me.

Of course, if you are on a long trip and the person next to you starts talking to you then you could end up good friends by the time you reach your destination. You might also find that the locals travel with wildlife (chickens are a particular favourite) or big boxes of fruit and vegetables. It all adds to the fun.

Save on Hotel Bills

Here’s a nice budget backpacker’s tip for you. If you take an overnight bus then you don’t need to pay for a hotel for that night. I used this trick a lot in Bolivia and Argentina and it is a great way of saving some money. As long as you don’t mind sleeping on the bus then it is a fine idea.

I often turned up tired and bedraggled after doing this, as I could never sleep as well as I would in a bed. However, it is still great fun and something I will do again as soon as I get a chance to do so.

Meet Other Travellers


Most of the long distance bus trips I have made have had at least one other foreigner on them. It is usually easy to spot the tourist, so you might want to go up to them to see if you can strike up a conversation.

Be sure to find out that you can make a connection with them before you offer to sit beside them though, as several hours on a bus with someone you have nothing to talk about with can be very awkward.

Get Lost in Thought

To be honest, the thing I most love about long bus trips is the chance that it gives me to get lost in thought for a few hours. I still remember the very first time I travelled in this way. It was in Ecuador and as darkness fell and the old man beside me started snoring I realised that I was going to be alone with my thoughts for the whole night.

This was kind of a scary thought at first, as we aren’t really used to having so much thinking time in our lives. However, before long I was delighted to let my mind wander and to think about things that I hadn’t thought about in years. As my bus wound its way across the Andes I remembered old friends I hadn’t seen in ages and some of the things that I had done well and not so well in the past. I didn’t sleep much that night but in the next morning I felt fantastic. The joys of long distance bus travelling haven’t worn off for me since then.

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