Guide on How to Survive a Long Haul Bus Journey

At some point when we travel, we have to do a horrible long haul journey whether it is via plane, train, boat or coach. I personally haven’t taken a long haul plane journey, but I have experienced a VERY LONG coach journey of 13 hours. Both with a stopover in London, but my gosh is it tiring!! My recent trip to Barcelona took 24 hours…. 9 hour coach from Truro to London, 4 hour sleep in a hostel, 3 hour coach to Stansted… waited 4 hours then a 2 hour flight to Barcelona and I was there. It was worth it though!

I have been on numerous coach journeys now of 8 hours plus duration (at least 12 journeys) and my recent journey wasn’t actually so bad, but I am a massive planner. I know exactly what I need to make the journey seem quicker and how to relax, especially on a busy coach. So, if you have a long haul bus journey coming up and need some advice, just keep on reading.

Download a Bus App

Depending on which coach company you book with, they may have an app that you can use to track your coach and have all the information of your journey. Before my journey, I will research the route and know if I have to change and the route of the coach so I know roughly where we are at what time. This just allows me to know that I have everything organised and I don’t need to worry about my upcoming long haul journey because I do not want to miss my stop!

If you have the travel app, it will save you phone data to keep typing it in on your internet and they will have all the information you need at the tap of a button. One of the awesome things about travelling with National Express in England is that they have another app which gives you wifi and access to numerous entertainment videos. That is one less thing to worry about!

Know Your Route and Set Alarm

I mentioned in my last point about knowing your route, because no one wants to miss their stop and end up goodness knows where! Also, it is very good to know your route and set an alarm if you can sleep well on a coach. By knowing your route and the time you get there, if you doze off for a nap and wake up feeling unsure where you are, you can figure it out with your route. Now, you are probably thinking, Molly just look at your gps on your map app… yesss but I try not to waste time on my phone as it can waste data MASSIVELY.

I don’t sleep all the way through a long haul bus journey because I just can’t do it and like to break up the journey. Plus, when I have a long nap I feel pretty bad afterwards. When I do take naps, it is because I only nap for an hour and when I know I won’t get off for another 4-5 hours. However, if you are a person that can sleep through anything including a long journey, set an alarm. At least 20 minutes before your scheduled stop because you don’t want to miss it.


In case you couldn’t understand that elongated word… I am a foodie, it says food. I must say check the rules of your coach company, but for National Express they only prohibit one item and that is any hot. There also may be scheduled stops in services where there will be franchises like McDonalds and Costa Coffee for travelers … WARNING these places are always busy! Because there will be at least 4 different coach companies stopping at once!

To avoid that, go to your nearest supermarket and stock the hell up on sandwiches, crisps, chocolate, fruit anything that is coach friendly and won’t spill! I always make the excuse that bad food like chocolate and crisps will make my journey easier because it is long haul, but always try and get your 5 a day in!


I am not a massive book reader, I do other hobbies like learning languages etc.. When I read books, I love a good motivational and self-development book, and it has to be one I know I will read. I find books as investments so I have to choose the right one. I do find that you need to have a mixture of things so you don’t get bored and to stimulate your mind especially if you read. So here are some book recommendations.

Self Development: The Four Hour Work Week (my favourite), The Big Leap, The Gifts of Imperfection, Thinking Fast and Slow and The Power of Positive Thinking.

Fiction: Normal People, Uncommon Types, Dan Brown series, Outlander and The Rooster Bar.   

Romance: Outlander (had to list it twice), The Time Traveler’s Wife, Me Before You, The Light We Lost and ANYTHING by Nicholas Sparks.

Travel Books: The Wild Places, Eat Pray Love, The Dark Tourist, Girls Who Travel and The Alchemist.

Where to buy: Waterstones, Amazon, The Works etc…

Music and Podcasts

Now for my favourite part of a long haul bus journey is to listen to music and more recently a podcast, I use Google Play but always have a playlist of songs I know that I will listen to. Don’t you just hate it when you want to listen to music but skip past songs and wait at least 3 minutes to find a song you want?! Before that, make a playlist to avoid the frustration!

Podcasts is something that I never thought I would listen to as I am not a book reader, but I want to become fluent in Spanish, Italian and Portuguese so I have podcasts and audiobooks to help me and they are actually really effective. You may find that it helps distract you and wake you up a little bit more from your long haul bus journey. I recommend using Audible as they will have deals on and there are a variety of podcasts and audiobooks to choose from.


The best thing about the social media era is that there are tons of subscription paid entertainment companies including Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hayu. The good thing is all of them pretty much have an app, where with wifi you can download any TV series or movie you want to watch offline. Yes, you have to pay for the service BUT it is so worth it because it has so many different types of genres.

My current favourite Netflix favourites are….. Elite (Spanish drama), Friends, Just Go With It, The Hangover Series and The Notebook but of course there are many other options.

Portable Charger

Coach journeys can drain your phone if you are not lucky, unless there is a plug socket on board like National Express. However, there are two ways that you can use a portable charger. Firstly, say if there is no plug socket on board make sure to fully charge your phone and your portable charger so you have an extra charger on board.

Secondly, charge your portable charger on your coach so that if you are at the airport or after the coach there is no socket, you can have a fully charged portable charger. Voila, a key item especially in today’s social media obsessed world …. I am not ashamed to say I like to have access to my phone!

Grab A Pillow


This is one thing I WISH I bought before my trip, but I was on a budget but spent the money anyway in Sephora … bad Molly. Unless you are one of those lucky people who can sleep in the weirdest positions or rest your head on your knees buy pillows…to be honest everyone grab a pillow. I do not sleep well on coaches, I get uncomfortable and I am tall so no leg room. On one coach trip, I turned to my left and saw this girl bent over with her head resting on her knees.. I was like how is she this flexible?!

I get back and neck ache sometimes especially as I work from a laptop, and I would hate to start a journey or trip with a bad neck ache. So invest in a good pillow from Amazon, Argos or find help here at Travel and Leisure.


Kind of obvious but sleep is key, it would be good to get some rest especially if you have a busy day ahead and need to be wide awake and aware. Whether it is a short nap or a long sleep, make sure that you look after yourself on your long haul bus journey!


There we have it, the ultimate guide on how to get through a long haul bus journeys on your next trip! I hopefully will not be doing another long journey via coach because it sucked especially over night and had to change but I had to do it for travel! I would do it all over again if I had to. If I can get through it, anyone can.

Need a catch up on my blog? Make sure to check out one of my newest posts Healthy Eating in Barcelona at Bol. Love this place and can’t wait to get back, whenever that is but hopefully soon! Is everyone enjoying the start of November? I love this month because it is the countdown to Christmas and the start of a new and hopefully fab year!

Mol xo

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Long bus journeys are the worst – but it's part of travelling! Food and podcasts are the MVPs of these journeys!

Leave a Reply