How I Get Through Long Flights, Bus Rides, or Train Rides Alone


So, apparently, when you’re an adult, it’s inappropriate to ask the driver how much longer until you get there. When I was a kid, every time I asked that question, my parents increased the time…cruel, but effective. So effective, that I now have a slew of things to get me through long car rides. I’m at the point now where I can chill forever in a car. However, that is NOT the same as a megabus or plane ride. On commercial transit, you’re uncomfortable and/or traveling alone. Here are few things I do to ensure my own sanity when I travel.

Pack Snacks. It sounds childish, but when we’re bored, it’s fun to eat. Period. Also, when you’re at the mercy of a Megabus that only stops six hours into the ride at a truck stop, you’ll be happy you packed snacks. I always make sure I pack something sweet, salty, and something with protein. Epic bars are my favorite along with nuts and dried fruit! I also pack a sports drink like gatorade.

All of these snacks can be found at Target!

All of these snacks can be found at Target!

Always reserve a seat. I believe I’ve said this before in other blog posts, but it bears repeating. Megabus has an option to reserve certain seats on the bus with more leg room. Not only will this give you more leg room, but you won’t have to worry about being first in line at the bus stop to get a decent seat. Generally reserving your seat is only 7-10 extra dollars, and it is well worth it. On flights, don’t skip picking your seat. I know for me, if it’s a long flight I book an isle seat, because I know I’ll have to use the restroom more often than my seat partner. If it’s a short flight, I like to enjoy the window.

Listen to Old Time Radio. My Dad listens to Old Time Radio programs on his phone, and I’ve also found that they are endlessly entertaining. Personally, I think they’re wayyy better than podcasts. Most of them are from the 30s, 40s, and 50s, so you can get totally lost in a gripping suspense story about a private eye (Richard Diamond!) or a hilarious comedy about a high school English teacher (Our Miss Brooks). My favorite programs are Box 13, Johnny Dollar, Richard Diamond, Our Miss Brooks, and Archie’s Tavern. You can download all your favorites with the OTR Streamer App. Let me know if you guys want a blog post on all things OTR in the comments below.

Bring a neck pillow & ear plugs. This was the biggest game changer for me when I was flying from the United States to Rome. I think this is the only way to fall asleep on a plane or bus. Unless the person beside you has a shoulder to lean on, consider investing in a neck pillow that clips on to your carry-on. The person next to you could also snore, and you are going to want ear plugs. If you’re already uncomfortable, your 10X more likely to be irritated by things you can normally tolerate.

Wear a blanket scarf. I don’t care if it’s summer. Plane cabins are cold, and bus drivers almost always have the air conditioning cranked. Blanket scarves double as neck wear and a blanket (obviously) so you can drape it over you if you’re trying to sleep.

Screenshot or scan your reading material. You can’t take heavy textbooks with you. You may not be able to get onto wifi to read the blog posts you’ve been dying to get to. During the week leading up to a trip, I save three-four news or blog articles I’d like to read then for my trip, and I typically screenshot them and save them in my camera roll. If you have paperwork to do, and you want to have it digitally to read over, use the My Scanner App. Save the PDFs to your google drive, so you can look at them on an tablet.