Overnight bus and train journeys are a great way to save time during long-distance (6 hours+) travel. I still have vivid memories of my overnight bus journeys from Guatemala, Kenya, Egypt, and Peru. Here are some tips to make them easier.

  1. Don’t travel with more than a single backpack. Too much luggage is harder to keep safe at night.
  2. Carry a hydration pack – the availability of drinking water is scarce and unpredictable
  3. Grab toilet paper that can be used for 3-4 occasions. Some people travel with a full roll and I believe that’s overkill. Apart from the usual use, toilet paper can be used as tissue paper to clean liquid spills.
  4. Carry biscuits – biscuits are one of the best snacks with high energy density. In case, you are hungry, you are not left to the vagaries of the food availability at night. Chips comparatively are a bad idea as they have poor energy density per unit of volume.
  5. Wear shoes – In case of an emergency, do you really want to run in flip-flops?
  6. Carry eye shades – Eyeshades can be used to sleep in case the bus has overhead video projections
  7. Wear a jacket – A jacket can be used as a blanket and can be easily removed in case of warmer weather
  8. Check for toilet access on arrival in advance – sometimes bus stations have it for free, sometimes they are paid, and sometimes they are available but unusable
  9. Keep a battery pack – Don’t arrive with a drained phone battery. It is better to put the phone in low-power mode. And carry a battery pack to start the next day with 100% battery.