How to stay fresh and fabulous on a bus tour

Published March 21st, 2016

Long bus trips can be either a comfortable scenic adventure, complete with TV entertainment and snacks, or a winding, cramped, smelly trip from hell. The difference comes down to a few the essential items you carry on board…


And we don’t just mean plenty of H20, it doesn’t matter if you’re a guy or a gal, having some beauty products on hand to keep your skin feeling refreshed makes a world of difference.

Invest in a small facial hydrosol and spritz as required through the trip, it’s almost as good as actually getting to take a bath. While we’re on personal hygiene, keep your deodorant at the ready.

Avoid gassing out the whole bus with your aerosol can by switching to a spray or roll on deodorant. Top up during the trip – again –almost as good as having a shower.

Don’t forget a good hand balm, one with some nourishing essential oils will have you feeling a little bit special despite being somewhat trapped in a tiny cabin on wheels. What’s worse than dry hands? Dry lips. Keep that Chapstick secure.


Now, we aren't one to advocate drug use, but basic sleeping tablets are available over the counter at any pharmacy. In some parts of the world, you can even get some pretty strong ones. A mild relaxant, pop a sleeping tablet on overnight trips to turn a hard-to-find-a-sleeping-position struggle into a slightly more lucid one.

Don’t forget to pack your travel pillow too; those things can be the determining factor between sleep and no sleep. If you’re not already wearing socks, it’s handy to bring a pair on board, you’d be surprised how cold your tootsies can get after 10 hours of air con, and even if your bus provides a blanket, those things are rarely long enough to cover any human over 120 centimetres tall.

No matter what the temperature is outside, pack a hoody and wear comfy pants like leggings or trackies.


Pack a large USB with all your fav TV shows and movies and be sure to update your iTunes library before you trip. If your carefree travel vibe doesn’t include a laptop, consider investing in a tablet of some kind.

Or go old school and pack a good book – then again you can read those on iPads now too. Just don’t get caught taking a photo on one!

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Bus stations rarely stock any foodstuffs that don’t have a string of numbers for the ingredients list. Sure, chips and chocolates are fun travel snacks, but when you’ve had enough salt and sugar, you’re going to want some real food.

Grab a sandwich or wrap for your main meal and some nuts, fruit or a health bar for later.


Let’s say the bus runs out of soap in the bathrooms, no biggie, you know why? Cause you packed your mini no-wash antibacterial hand wash. Got that furry feeling? Good thing you packed a toothbrush and paste!

Second best = the gum you brought at the bus depot. Prone to car sickness? Bus sickness is 10 times worse. Pack some travel sickness tablets and a few paracetamol for good measure.

Cool hats = optional


Bus carry-on checklist

  • Water
  • Facial hydrosol
  • Spray or roll on deodorant
  • Hand balm
  • Lip balm
  • Sleeping tablets
  • Neck pillow
  • Pair of socks
  • Hoody and comfy pants
  • A juicy TV season or two
  • Healthy snacks
  • No rinse antibacterial hand wash
  • Toothbrush and paste and/or gum
  • Medications

Rachel Surgeoner

A self-confessed 'food-tourist', I take hunting for the world's greatest sandwich very seriously, my quest has taken me from Berlin to Hoboken. Stopping off only for vintage shopping, craft beers and Mediterranean sunsets.