Traveling on a Greyhound bus is often the most affordable option of travel. Plus, it’s fun! Watching the scenery of the country pass you by while you listen to your favorite podcasts — it’s a good way of seeing new things, while also getting to your destination.
If you’re feeling nervous about traveling on the Greyhound bus, this post has tips to help you feel more confident.
Now more than ever travelers are looking for alternatives to flying. Whether this is due to environmental concerns or due to exposure concerns during Covid-19, traveling via the Greyhound bus is an option you may want to consider.
Though their epic Discovery Pass is no longer available, it’s still pretty affordable to travel via the Greyhound.
Here are our list of tips for traveling by Greyhound bus in the United States.
What to bring on the Greyhound bus
- A travel pillow like this Thermarest Foldable (our fave!)
- Small blanket like this one that clips to your bag
- Baby wipes (You think just hand sanitizer will do it for you, but trust me, those back-of-the-bus bathrooms can get nasty.)
- Something to read
- Your cell phone charger
- A pack of cards (All-night poker games on the floor of the bus are awesome!)
- A lighter (You will be the most popular girl on the bus.)
- Healthy snacks (Greyhound stops at Burger King approximately every 3 hours. Stops outside of that are limited, and you will find almost nothing healthy available for purchase, even in the bus terminals. Bring trail mix and dried fruit with you so that you don’t have to eat burgers all the time.)
Things to leave behind (What NOT to Bring on the Greyhound)
- Heavy stuff (Greyhound does not transfer your bags for you like an airline would. This means that you will be lugging your bags with you every time you change buses, which can be often. Leave the hardcover books, hot rollers, and any other heavy accoutrements at home.)
- Nice stuff (Jewelry, fancy computer equipment, and other things that can be instantly recognized as worth stealing are best left at home. Greyhound makes stops in some pretty sketchy places, and if you look like an easy mark, you will be taken advantage of.)
When To Think Twice Before Taking the Bus
If you have a weak or compromised immune system, you’ll need to evaluate if taking the Greyhound is the best option for you.
Recycled air and lots of kids with the sniffles means that a lot of people who ride the bus for extended periods get sick. I had to leave tour for a week to recover from a bad cough.
The good news? Once you’ve had it, you’re pretty much immune for the rest of your trip. For most things, at least.
Safety Tips for the Greyhound Bus
Unfortunately, the Greyhound bus doesn’t always have the best record in terms of safety. They also don’t do security checks, which means anyone is free to board the bus with anything they have on them. If you’re concerned about your safety, here are some good tips.
- Stay Alert: try to maintain awareness of who is around you and immediately near you.
- Try to pick a seat next to a woman.
- Minimize your transfers, even if that means paying a little more for a direct route.
- Keep your belongings near or on you. If you fall asleep easily on the bus, place your bag in between you and the window with the zippers facing towards you or your arms folded around it.
- Speak cautiously. Don’t give anyone details on where you’re going or if you’re traveling alone the whole way.
The best seats on the Greyhound are in the very back
Unless the restroom is really stinky, the back row is the Champagne Room of the bus.
All the other rows have pairs of seats, but the back row is three seats together, which means if you can get them alone, you can actually (mostly) lay down.
It’s a bit more private than the rest of the rows, because there’s nothing across from it, so two of your three seats are obscured from the view of everyone else on the bus.
Overall, traveling by the Greyhound can be a great option, particularly if you don’t have far to go.