The Bus is Better

If doing a long journey, for example from the north of Poland to the South, the trains can often be expensive. I never forget to check the bus routes in order to save money and, though you may not think that this is a benefit, the added time. If you can time the journey right, you can often make use of the time often “wasted” by moving from place to place. Now, granted that am a self-declared sleep professional and can sleep absolutely anywhere just the same as in my own bed, I really believe that there is a lot to be said for the night buses.
These buses are often cheap, in some cases ridiculously so – last year I got around Germany and through Brussels on buses ranging in price from £1 to £13 (thank you – There is Polskibus in Poland and FlixBus around most of Europe). They are also equipped with toilets, air conditioning, adjustable seats and, in some cases, plugs and wifi. Just pack some essentials and sleep your way across the country!
The trick is to get the direct buses, none of that faffing around and changing mid way through your dozing! It is also a huge bonus if your stop is the final one. The night bus from Gdansk to Wroclaw left the charming little city in the north at 23.45 and arrived in the wonderful city further south (middle-south really) at 08.15. Sleep once you leave the lit up sights of Gdansk and wake up to the sun in Wroclaw – easy!
Now, those essentials I mentioned just now will depend from person to person. However, I never go without my headphones, a full battery on my laptop/phone/ipad, a book, a large scarf to use as a blanket, water, and a spare jacket to use as a sort of pillow (you can of course take a travel cushion of some form, but I often find these add little comfort compared to the hassle of carrying them around for the rest of your trip, especially if its a long trip. If you feel the need for a real travel pillow I would recommend an inflatable one). Snacks are always good too: these journeys are my excuse to eat whatever unhealthy food I wish, based on the excuse that I’m saving money by not paying for a hostel that night!
One invaluable tip that I will pass on to you all is the trick of the seating arrangement. Some people really want the front seats, some the back, many the window, and almost everyone wants the entire double seat for themselves. In my experience the double seat is often a dream you can realize as these buses tend to be only half full, or less depending on the season and the popularity of the route. Another thing we all want in order to make us that little more comfortable: to recline the chairs! However, no one wants to be that selfish, annoying person who reclines once there is someone sat behind them, and no one wants the person in front of them to ease their chair back into your legs! On most buses, everyone will crowd to be at the front of the queue in the hope of getting the seat they want. It isn’t necessary to be the first on the bus, but it is better if you are in the early bunch of boarders. Then chose a seat with no one directly in front of you, and no one directly behind you. This way it isn’t a definite that anyone will sit in the chair before you and you may avoid getting crushed knees, and you can deter anyone from sitting behind you but putting your chair back slightly! This makes it look a little squashed in the seat behind you and the people boarding after you will avoid this seat. It is a very sly move, and of course if the bus is filling up the decent thing to do is to put your chair upright again. The unfortunate truth is that 90% (at least) of your other fellow passengers won’t care at all about your comfort, and will be rather selfish themselves – I hate to say it and I always wish for it to be different, but I have lost out many times by being over courteous in these situations! That said, fingers crossed that you have no problem and can glide through the journey seat back and feet up on your spare neighbor chair!
I wish you all safe travels and an empty bus!

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