Bus journeys – helpful tips!

Last weekend I went by bus to Tranquebar from Chennai – 300kms. I had not booked a seat in advance, as this was not the plan A. I noticed a few things that can make your bus journey comfortable and thought I’d pass it on to you.

bus journey tips

Travel light

Light is simple, light is fast. Of course, it also depends on how many days are you going to be away from home. This trip for me was a weekend getaway from Chennai. I started Saturday morning and came back home Sunday night. Why should you travel light? Case in point: on my way back from Tranquebar – Karaikal to Pondicherry, the bus I was in burst its tires. All the passengers got down and had to take another already-crowded bus going to Pondicherry. If I hadn’t travelled that day, I wouldn’t have gotten into that bus.

Right or left side of the bus?

This is gonna get little technical.¬†I was going south from Chennai, in the morning, on the East Coast Road (ECR). So the sun is on the left side till noon. So, it’s advisable to take a seat on the right side of the bus. So on…

Window or Aisle?

If it’s the monsoons, I will not recommend you take the window seat, as most of the bus windows leak and your seat might get messy. Also if you have long legs or you are just tall, you might want to take the aisle, as it gives you more room to stretch your legs.

Drink water but not too much!

For obvious reasons ūüôā

Good music and a book

6-hour bus journey can be really boring without some good entertainment. I had my phone loaded with nice music just before the trip, so that helped a lot. I had my Kindle and also a Nat Geo traveller magazine. Nothing better than reading a Traveller magazine, while travelling.

Did I miss out any tips, so share with me.


My first solo trip!

It was awesome!

Solo trip, Chennai to Tranquebar, by bus


Think for only one person – yourself!

To start with, you don’t have to think for two people. It’s just you!¬†If you like something, you can take it without having to consider other person’s¬†opinion of it. For ex. I was supposed to start my trip on Friday evening, but¬†nothing was going my way, so I decided to do the trip next weekend. But when I¬†got up at 5:30 AM Saturday morning, I wanted to go, I packed and left! Imagine,¬†in the same case, if there was one more friend involved in the trip. I’d have had to¬†call him up, ask him if he is good to go, and depending on that I’d have had to¬†decide and take it forward.

So it is when it comes to a place of stay or mode of transport. You know your comfort level. I know that I can sit in a not so comfortable, non-AC bus on a summer day and travel with no complaints, but if there was one other person with
me, I’d have had to ask him if he was ok with it etc. Same for a place of stay – I¬†like to do low-budget trips, and that comes with not having 5-star hotels to stay in!¬†I’m ok with that but will the other person be ok?!

There is always place for one, if there is place at all!

When I boarded a bus, coming back from Pondicherry to Chennai, the bus had only one vacant seat. Other group-travellers couldn’t take the bus coz’ it had only one seat. I could take it and I did! If there is a vacant place at all in a bus, there must be at least one!

Easy to hitchhike

I had to go to Karaikal from Tranquebar (10 kms) to get a bus to Pondicherry. I was waiting in the bus stop for quite sometime and there was no bus in sight. One biker came along, I asked for a lift. He agreed, I jumped on the bike and went till Karaikal.

I spoke about the advantages, now the disadvantages:

  • What if you fall sick. Life is better if you are with someone you know. A friend can attend to your needs and get you medical help.
  • You cannot leave your luggage/backpack anywhere. Even if you want to use a restroom someplace, be it a restaurant or bus stand, you cannot leave your luggage out.
  • You have to eat alone, if you haven’t made any friends in that destination.
  • Most of the rooms in hotels are double-bed rooms. So you end up paying more than what you use.

Everyone should do at least one solo trip! It feels good to be independent.

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