This post is written by our co-president, Simran Thakral. Check out her original post here.
Oh Megabus. I have a love-hate relationship with you.
My friends and I made the brilliant decision to spend 15 hours on the journey from Coventry to Paris via London. That same amount of time, my friends, could have gotten me from my room in Warwick to my room in Bangkok.
While, megabus is great for short journeys as it’s cheap and offers a no-frills service, it is a nightmare on longer journeys.
I’m actually using ‘Megabus’ synonymously with any ‘bus’ journey. In fact, using Megabus is probably unfair to the company considering the bus we ended up actually taking from London to Paris was Eurolines by National Express. That is a long (and embarrassing!) story but there is a lesson to be learnt so I’ll go ahead and elaborate.
The journey consisted of a 3 hour long megabus from Coventry to London departing at 5 am in the morning. It was raining and freezing and trudging to the bus stop was such a hassle, we could not wait to get on the bus. So, 3 hours later, we arrive in London. Woo! Its sunny, we’re refreshed, and proceed to Café Nero opposite Victoria Coach station to sip some coffee and taste some croissants. (Probably not the best idea since we’re heading to Paris!). But anyways, we have 2 hours to kill as our next bus from London to Paris was at 10 am. We strategically left the Café at 9.50 am and excitedly skipped along to the bus stand only to find out that:
“International services require all passengers to check in. Check in closes 5 minutes before departure”.
Yes, you guessed right. We missed our bus. We could have made it if the megabus staff was a little bit more understanding as the bus was still there. But, rules are rules I guess. We then bought a national express ticket for 1 pm as the next megabus was at 7 pm. We practically stationed ourselves opposite the check-in stand. Lesson learnt.
Anyways, now to the important bit: since our bus was approximately 8 hours from London to Paris, we needed a coping mechanism.
A step-by-step guide to surviving more than 8 hours on a bus:
- Get on the bus, and chat a little with your friends.
- Deprive yourself of sleep: You need a balance of how much sleep to deprive your self of the night before. If you deprive too much you’ll get sick. If you sleep too much you’ll get bored. I would suggest sleep around 60-70% of what you need. Say, If you need 10 hours, sleep around 6 to 7. Because sleeping on a bus is honestly the best way to kill time.
- Now that you’ve awaken from your 2-3 hours of sleep. You have around 5-6 hours left. Time to chitchat with your friends. Don’t let other passengers think you’re passive aggressive! Talk about anything and everything. If you speak a foreign language, feel free to gossip too!
- Time to eat. Because eating is definitely the second best way to kill time. Bare in mind that you need actual meals as the bus won’t stop. Prepare lunch and dinner. The ideal food is something easy to pack and doesn’t smell. We took sandwiches. Plan eating schedule so you don’t finish all your food immediately. Take some fresh fruits as they make you refreshed. But don’t eat too much as you’re sitting in one position for a long period of time and eating too much will make you feel sick. On that note, only drink enough water to be hydrated. Although water is great and there’s a toilet on board, you would want to avoid them if you can as bus toilets are pathetic. I went once on Megabus and never again will I go to the toilet on the bus.
- At this point, you probably have 4-5 hours left and you’re probably sick of your friend. If you’re travelling in a large group, why not switch seats now? Sit with a different friend for a change of environment. Stare out the window, listen to some music, and gaze at the world go-by.
- 3 hours to go. Time to complain a little bit. Promise yourself this is the last time you’re taking a bus anywhere. Laugh off your stupidity with your friends. Eat some more. Talk some more. Do whatever you feel like at this point as you’re probably loosing it.
- Get excited about your destination. You know what? In about an hour or so it will all be over. You will reach, in our case, a beautiful magical city. It will almost be midnight in Paris so you got this.
- Arrive. Scream and Laugh it off! Stretch! Take pictures! Breath sigh of relief! And get real excited!
Moral of this story: Buses may be cheap. But not all the time. We paid 23 pounds for Coventry to Paris, but in hindsight, I’m sure we could have found something marginally more for a flight from London to Paris. Do your research thoroughly before assuming a bus is always cheaper.
And also, international routes on buses require check- in.
Happy traveling! 🙂