This is the first post of a few I hope to write offering advice to other travellers based on my own experiences. During my time in America I travelled via greyhound buses several times to and from several different places. Below are seven tips to help you survive your own solo greyhound journey!
1- Book online in advance
Book your ticket online in plenty of time as Greyhound sometimes experience problems with their online booking system. Make sure you have enough time left before your desired departure to call them up and fix any issues!
2- Remember to print your ticket and take it with you!
Personally I like having all my tickets printed before I leave my house/hostel/hotel and so I always opt for the “print at home” option when booking tickets. But with Greyhouhd remember that if you don’t print your ticket or forget to bring it with you, you will have to buy a whole new ticket at the station!
3- Know where both your departure and arrival stations are
Greyhound stations aren’t always the most comfortable places in the world so it’s best to know exactly how to get to and from them. Often the safest way to do this is to call a taxi to meet you right outside the station. Taxi websites often have a “fare predictor” that you can use to get a general idea of how much a taxi from the greyhound station straight to your final destination will cost.
4- Don’t draw attention to yourself
I found that as a young female travelling alone on Greyhound buses I drew more than enough attention without adding to it! Keep yourself to yourself, make any phone calls very quietly if you have a unusual accent and remember to be polite to anyone who talks to you, ignoring people and being rude often draws more attention that just responding politely.
5- Know your story when talking to others
Greyhound travellers can be a very friendly bunch, sometimes a little too friendly. Make sure you have a story exactly straight, maybe a story that mentions that you know your way around your destination like the back of your hand and that friends are meeting you at the station (neither of these facts have to be true, but prioritise safety!) One of my favourite things about solo travel is that you can be whoever you want to be (within reason) and it doesn’t hurt to make conversation with your fellow travellers, in fact they’re often very interesting. My main tip here is to always be mindful of the information you are sharing. Don’t come up with an excessively elaborate story that will never hold up through a full conversation, but you don’t have to share your full real name, phone number and the address of your hostel either!
6- Luggage limitations!
Check your luggage limitations before setting off on your journey to a greyhound station. Generally greyhound allow every passenger one on-board bag and one checked bag per passenger free of charge. These checked bags are standard airport size and should weigh no more than 50lbs
7- Invest in headphones
Greyhound conductors often give an announcement when the bus leaves about volume of speech, phone conversations, swearing and drinking on the buses. Despite this though I would recommend having headphones with you for all journeys. This prevents you having to listen to the gory details of the other passengers lives as well as offering you some protection from the overly friendly travellers I mentioned in tip no.5!