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Tips for the bus?

Leaving soon on our tour. First time we are taking a longer tour ( in past just city tours). Any tips from the experts on the long bus rides? We will have teens with us too.

Things you wish you had? Suggestions of what to do? Etc? Thanks

Posted by
600 posts

Not sure what area you are going to, but I thought the scenery on the bus rides was so pretty that I had to fight to stay awake so that I didn't miss anything. The bus makes frequent stops, and during the rides the guide gives history lessons, talks about the next place we are visiting, does language lessons and passes put treats. The tour group members always get close quickly, so there is always a lot of chatter. All this to say - the bus rides passed by in the blink of an eye and were full of beautiful scenery, entertaining conversations and naps, so we didn't need anything extra to do. For teens this may be different - maybe they could bring e-readers or Ipads or I pods to keep them busy? Or have them look at the next destination in the guide book and pick out things to do in free time or restaurants to try.

Posted by
366 posts

Hi LA

I have been on several Rick tours with long bus days. I listen to books on my iPod, knit or, dare I admit, nap😀😀😀

If I listen to the iPod, I also watch the scenery. Sometimes catch up with my journal.

Posted by
12387 posts

That's easy:
Nap
Watch the scenery
Write in a travel journal
Read a book with a story set in the country you're visiting
Read up on your next destination
Download some podcasts or audio books before you leave home to listen to
Chat with your spouse
Chat with your teens (how often do you have them captive!!!)
Do crossword puzzles (pack a few cut out of the newspaper)
Review your photos and trash the fuzzy/bad ones

Posted by
672 posts

Sometimes the views are enough to keep us occupied and sometimes the guide uses bus time to talk about where we're going (or have been), give a language lesson, or perhaps poll us on what we want for our next group meal. I use the time on the bus to compose emails on my iPad and keep up on my journal. Sometimes it's nice to put my earphones on and enjoy some music. And, more than one nap has been taken on a tour bus. When our kids (in their 20s at the time) went on tours with us, they tended to gather in the back of the bus with other younger people. I think they played some games and chatted a lot, but I know they have lots of fun memories from their bus time.

Posted by
4565 posts

Is this a Rick Steves tour? Your driver will stop every two hours or so, usually at a roadside rest area with a café or restaurant, sometimes a gift shop. The food is usually surprisingly good, and you can also buy coffee, beer, wine, chocolate...

Bus time is also a good time to get to know your fellow tour mates. You'll be encouraged to change seats every day, so there's usually someone new sitting near you. And as others have mentioned, the guide will give painless history, geography, or language lessons during the drive. We've been on 10 RS tours, at least half of which had significant bus time, and we were never bored.

Posted by
142 posts

Sit towards the front of the bus if you experience motion sickness. If you like to look at maps, purchase the App "Maplets" before your bus trip and download maps of where you will be traveling, Then you can follow your trip offline. Bus time is a great time for napping, updating your journal, organizing your photos, reading up on your next stop and, most importantly, socializing with your new travel friends. Enjoy your trip!

Posted by
8198 posts

Agree with everyone and will add some practical things. On the 21BOE I knew there were some longer bus days. I did take a travel pillow with me and that made sitting in the seats a bit more comfortable on my back. Your bus driver will undoubtedly have water plus probably beer, wine and maybe soft drinks for sale which will be cheaper than the AutoGrille. You just put a hash mark by your name on a list at the front of the bus and settle up at the end. I also take a tote or small backpack I use take on the bus with me with a water bottle, iPad/Kindle, guide book (if not an eguide), rain layer, sweater, snacks, etc.

Everyone will be able to have their own 2-seat row and I encourage you all to do so and to spread out some both on the bus and at meals so you get the opportunity to meet everyone.

I also swore on the 21BOE I was NOT going to sleep on the bus but wow, I did fall asleep some times and I guess I needed it to recharge my batteries!

Have a wonderful time!

Posted by
5880 posts

When you buy snacks at rest stops, buy enough to pass around and share.

The tour leader may use some of the time to give some history lessons, share some music, or invite questions. Don't just tune them out.

The bus driver can have some good stories - chat with them when you're at a stop, or later at dinner

Posted by
646 posts

If you do nap on the bus in Ireland or the British Isles, be aware that you may wake up groggy and see that the bus is in the wrong lane. Do not scream as it bothers other tour members and the driver.

Posted by
408 posts

Thank you for the insight it really helps. I am concerned about car sickness for my daughter & me. I will take note & yes we are bringing lots of over the counter meds for it.

Now how did you pack it all in a carry on sized bag?

Can't believe our trip is almost here!

Posted by
1572 posts

Since you mentioned it...I buy the childrens's dramamine. The dosage is smaller and the tablets melt in your mouth. As long as I make sure to take it 30 min.before the bus starts, I do fine.

Posted by
11450 posts

I too use childrens dose gravol, i would take one each morning of long bus day, its enough to keep me from getti g sick, but not too much so i am dopey.

I have only taken one RS bus tour, 14 days Europeon Family Tour. Loved it, and surprisingly looked forward to bus days, the scenery is usually great, the bus stops often, and is roomy( i usually had two seats unless y daighter chose to sit with me, she usually chose back of bus with all the other kids. She was 11 yrs old and loved bus days too, its a chance to recharge and socialize.

Posted by
11450 posts

Ps our bus driver didnt like ice cream on the bus and asked us to be careful with chocolate ( a crumb can melt into a vig mess on the seats) but all other food and rinks were fine.

We also loved the fridge area that was stocked with cold water, pop, and beer and used it, it was cheaper than buying drinks at rest stops!

Posted by
1047 posts

Keep change in your pocket for use at the restrooms when the bus stops at rest stops. Also, I would buy a road map so you can follow your bus ride on a map. You can buy a road map at any of the rest stops.

Posted by
544 posts

I get seasick/motion sick. This isn't an issue on USA highways, but it is in the rest of the world. A motion sick pill, I use Meclizine (sold under all sorts of brands), makes me a little loopy/drowsy, but works perfect for the bus rides.

Posted by
524 posts

As others have said read, check out the views, visit with other tour mates, listen to tunes and/or podcasts, write, OR just veg out and snooze( as hard as I try to stay awake, the swaying motion always makes me sleepy). On one of my tours, we had a woman that knitted. She spent our coach rides making a scarf that she presented to the guide at the end of the tour. She unselfishly allowed each tour member to sign a card and included us in the presentation.

Posted by
1068 posts

Just did a tour of Scotland (RS) with 5 teens/young adults aboard and have also toured with teens in the past on RS tours. Generally, if they are/have an adult outlook they will get along well with the other travelers (who are hoping they have a good time and enjoy traveling.) I was a "buddy" with one young adult (I think he may have been a hair older than a teen) on the tour. On my last tour, the teens bonded and often sat together/did other activities as a group. However, even when split up, they seemed to "play well" with us old folks!

Posted by
2788 posts

Are you taking a RS tour? If so, I have taken 14 of them with Portugal being #14 last June (2016). I am always doing everything I can to stay awake so as not to miss any sights thinking I probably will never pass this way again. Even on longer bus ride days, the bus stops every two hours or so for a WC break and as RS says: "Take advantage of bathrooms when they are available, not waiting until you have to go". It is also refreshing to get out at these stops to take a short walk. My wife takes a window seat and takes LOTS of pictures out of the window. I wait for outside times. Happy travels.

Posted by
3464 posts

Use bus time get to know your tour mates. They have always been interesting in many ways. And as someone mentioned, keep change in your pocket for use at restrooms.

Posted by
408 posts

Thanks again for the tips. My teens are RS tour alumni too. They have been on two RS city tours. The first when my daughter was 10. I am probably dreading the bus more than them. Car sickness & needing bathroom breaks. The tips help
And we are beyond excited for our trip.

Can't believe it is almost here.

Posted by
2452 posts

I never thought this would be the case but I really look forward to the bus time. The RS tours can be pretty tiring. The bus is chill-time to stare out the window, decompress, listen to music, nap, nap some more. I always get a row by myself. I save my socializing with my fellow tourists for another time. Enjoy your tour!

Posted by
29 posts

Make sure you make note of which bus you are on. During my Eastern Europe tour, I didn't do this at the first stop and was the last one out of the bathroom. I couldn't figure out which bus was ours and I got on several wrong buses. While I wandering like a lost lamb everyone had to wait for me. So embarrassing!

Posted by
1068 posts

I am not sure this is universally true, but it seems that many of the buses I have used on RS tours had a little "Rick Steves" sign in the front window.

Posted by
3464 posts

A little thing we do is this. Take a quick photo of the bus license plate the first day with your phone. Not necessary on all tours or for people with great memories, but it comes in handy when there are stops with many busses or one is having a senior moment. Doesn't hurt to have it and it only takes a few seconds.