"Greyhound" Personal Page by Espritducoeur
What is the best way of traveling? Hands down, we all know that an airplane and driving your personal vehicles are the winners, what with the speed in which flying will take you to your destination and how driving your own car gives you the uninstricted power to do whatever you like on the way, whenever you want - whether it be stopping to get something to eat, stretch your legs, go to the restroom or taking a scenic route not on your set course.
There are several other kinds of transportation out there, such as a cruise ship or even a passenger train. Also, we must not forget the bus. The Greyhound Bus, to be more precise.
I've had the privilage to travel by Greyhound Bus twice in my life...Let me tell you, ladies and gentlemen, it is not fun. If you find sleep a precious, must-need thing to have, then I must warn you that, if you have to travel across the country, then the Greyhound Bus is not the way to go. My trip from Washington State (left in Wenatchee) to Texas (arrived in Houston) took two and a half days, and sleeping was near on impossible.
The Greyhound Bus is by far the most uncomfortable place I've ever had to try and get a good rest. The seats inside the buses only go back so far, and that is only if you get a decently well-looked after bus. Many buses, you will find, have seats that refuse to lean back even an inch, so you're stuck in the upright position trying to sleep. If you're a smart traveler, I recommend you bring a pillow! You will need it, if you have a window seat. The only somewhat confortable position to sleep, if your seat does not lean back, is leaning against the large window. But, that too, isn't 100% comfortable, due to the cold air that drafts in through the window panes - it's either a draft or an AC vent, I'm still not sure.
Apart from unpredictable seats, there is also little leg room. Sure, most of the buses I had to get on, had little metal foot rests on the back of the seat in front of you, but there were times when the person sitting in front of me let his/her seat back, and I could hardly move. It was tight fitting then, and hardly comfy.
Then there are the on-the-bus bathrooms. Disgusting things, they are - portable toilets. Who likes using porta potties? Nobody, that's who, because they are horrific and repulsive. Imagine being in a porta potty while in a moving vehicle? Yeah, it's not pleasant. So, I recommend that, upon traveling by Greyhound, you drink only when you have to (just water is best), and make sure that you go to the bathroom every time your bus stops for a break, be it 5 minutes or 15 minutes. They do stop a fair decent amount, so it's not like you'll have to hold it too long. The longest, in my experience, of the bus running at one time is 3 and a half hours.
Traveling by Greyhound also does stuff to your body. If you are traveling for more than a day on a bus, you will more than likely come off of it with swollen ankles. Don't eat or drink anything with a large amount of salt/sodium, because that is one reason your ankles swell - you are constantly sitting and not really on your feet much. Also, if traveling for a day or more, you will likely feel dirty and gross by the end of your trip. My advice is that, upon arriving to wherever you are headed, first take a shower/bath and then jump into bed. You'll feel so much better.
While airplanes and trainstations have their weirdos and dangers like every other place, bus stations are worse. That is, of course, just my opinion. I've never actually witnessed anything too bad while at a bus station, prefering to stay in one corner or one seat and wait, however I have heard some not so great stories - particular about Denver's bus station, but not limited to just that one. I've heard that people will come up and try and sell you drugs, it's that bad.
Never leave your luggage unattended, even if it's just to go get a soda or a snack from a vending machine, or to go to the bathroom. Take everything you have with you, wherever you go. Never set anyone around you see how much money you have in your wallet, even if it's only $10. Even while on the bus itself, try to keep track of your belongings and cash and especially your bus tickets, for they will easily get missplaced or stolen. I've only ever flown once, but is thievery just as bad on planes as it is on a bus?
Try and pack as light as possible, because if you have to transfer buses once or more, there are some places where they will not transfer your bags onto your next bus - you will have to do that yourself. A lot of times the bus stations are super crowded and you'll have to stand in lines or in crowds. Pulling and carrying around armfuls of heavy or bulky luggage is not easy. I had with me a large suitcase, a duffel, backpack, smaller backpack and a pillow, and they were all so, so heavy, I could barely move. I'm a small girl, with little strength, so it was really hard to get from gate to gate. By the time my trip was over, I had bruises EVERYWHERE! I am grateful that my suitecase and duffel were the kind with wheels, even if the duffel wheels didn't work in the least.
Finding someplace or something to eat while traveling by greyhound is actually not difficult. The buses, at least the ones I was on, stopped at a few fast food places (one of which had been Arby's), and then there are gass stations as well, where you can buy quick stuff like burgers or tacos, etc. However, having to eat like this for a whole day or more (again, two and a half for me), it gets old. Honesty, my apetite had kind of disappeared after being on the bus one day. Advice: Bring your own snacks with you. I backed my own granola bars, to snack on, on and off during the days, to keep me from getting too hungry. It's also less expensive that way, in case you don't have much money on you. Pack your water, too. A few water bottles, or a single water bottle that is easily refillable. Buying water in venting machines can get a little expensive.
Also, apart from the lack of sleep, decent toilets, food, and all the other stuff I mentioned, there is also the people themselves. Or even the lack of people. While on a greyhound, you will see and meet some odd, even weird people. The first time I traveled by bus (in my teens), I did have a few encounters with some strange individuals - no one bad, but they were nothing I was used to. The second trip, though, I actually didn't talk to many. Sure, I had one maybe two crowded buses, but nobody really talked to me expect for one or two guys. They were cool and not all that strange. However, i did see a few. Of course, everyone's definition of strange is different. I'm from a small town so I'm quite isolated, and therefore anyone different is strange to me - but not in a bad way, most of the time. Just unusual.
What else? Oh yes, pray that you do not get a crazy bus driver. The bus driver I had from Denver, Colorado to Amarillo, Texas (the only woman driver I had), she nearly flipped our bus over when she drove straight over a curb, while exiting the Denver station. Then she sped off into the interstate. Everyone on the bus - the crowdiest of all my buses - was scared that she was going to kill us all. It was crazy. Simply crazy...
So yeah, traveling by Greyhound is not fun. Only do it if you have to (it's all you can afford to travel by), or if you are strange and actually enjoy taking the bus. Like my mother...
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