8 Tips to Survive a Trans-Canada Bus Trip
Trip Start Apr 01, 2012
15Trip End Ongoing
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A lot of the trip was filled with reading, listening to my iPod and just trying to get comfortable - the latter taking up most of my time. I found myself learning a lot about personal space- or lack there of -, and playing Human Tetris within my seat - comfort becoming the win of losing a line and every hour being a higher level.
I found a lot of comfort and success with a few tips I have outlined below. It's obvious to bring an iPod, book and even a laptop for movies, but I wanted to outline some lesser known ideas. Enjoy :)
I just want to throw out there, that this bus trip is NOT for everyone
- If your a chain smoker, the long distances between breaks can drive smokers mad - I saw a few getting very close to insanity.
- If you are over 6 ft tall, I do not recommend this trip. At 6'6 I struggled for comfort and leg room. I arrived in Vancouver with bruised knees from hitting them against the seat in front and from them lowering their seat.
8 Tips For a Trans-Canada Bus Trip
1. Be open to small talk. This can pass hours and you can learn a lot from people from other walks of life. Plus after an hour or so the discomfort can subside because your more comfortable with the person boxing you into the window.
2. Seat Selection. If your planning on sleeping all night, get a seat near the back. When the bus makes 3am stops the driver is forced to turn his overhead light on, which will wake you. The back of the bus stays dark and although being near the washroom, not that many people use it. It's also closer to you when you need to use it and you don't have to worry about disrupting people. Sit near the front during the day. The scenery is better, you can talk to the driver and can be the first one off to stretch your legs.
3. Eat healthy and hearty. I saw many people only eat and drink coffee and chips from places like Tim Horton's and convenience stores. Even at 3am! Who needs coffee at 3am?! I tried to eat big normally timed meals during the day and brought some food from home
4. Get friends to write you letters. I had a good friend, Cassie (thanks again Cass!), write me a letter for my trip. And it really helped me remember who was at home, why I'm traveling and killed 20 minutes. I can only imagine with 10 of these letters, the rewards would be 10x better.
5. Bring a bandanna and a toque. The bandanna was great for sleeping because you can pull it down to cover your eyes for daytime naps, blocking light from oncoming cars and/or the driver's overhead light. The toque is great for keeping warm at 3am when the driver leaves the AC on, as well as using as a mini pillow or softening up a spot for your back or arms.
6. Bring 1 big water bottle. Mine was a 1L from MEC. It was big enough to last me between stops and small enough to fit in the mesh pocket on the seat in front of you. Every gas station or supermarket or Tim's will let you fill it for free.
7. Do your best to get 2 seats
8. Don't lose your 2 seats! When at stops where people are getting on the bus, firstly sit on the aisle seat. People are less likely to ask to climb over you. Secondly, put a few things like your bag or books on the seat next to you that makes it look packed and full and If you can put the window seat in front all the way back to create the effect of less room, do it. Thirdly, as the newcomers get on start coughing. Nobody wants to sit next to the sick one on the bus. I only used this technique once, but it worked. Lastly, don't make eye contact unless it is someone you want to sit beside.
I hope these tips will help if you ever take this trip. It was fun, don't get me wrong. I met some very cool people, saw my amazing country and can confidently say I have seen my backyard. That being said, I'm not signing up for any bus trips any time soon :P
Hope all is well at home!
Peace & Love