How to survive travelling the USA via Greyhound bus
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Sometimes, when travelling in the USA, unexpected things will happen. Sometimes, Amtrak will take their lovely, roomy, air-conditioned, snack-filled trains away for essential maintenance, locking them up in some sort of secret train hospital far north of where you need to be. Sometimes, you will have no choice but to accept their refund graciously and book yourself onto an incoming Greyhound bus. Sometimes, needs must.
A Greyhound bus beginning its cross-country journey“It’s not the people on the bus you need to worry about,” we are told cheerfully by a North Carolinian tourist, over gin and Olympics in a hotel bar in Washington DC, before we embark on our Greyhound experience. “They’re going somewhere. It’s the other people.” Naturally, this leaves me with a few thoughts. Thoughts like, should we have bought padlocks for our rucksacks? Maybe we should’ve got money belts to hide our Caxton cards and passports. And most pressingly of all – are we going to survive this? Obviously, we did survive our Greyhound experience – if we hadn’t you wouldn’t be reading this article. No Greyhound adventure is without its trials, though - so here are a few things that we wished we’d known before we set out on our many, many dubious journeys. Greyhound Survival Tip 1 GET SNACKS. This is of the upmost importance. Get snacks before you arrive at the Greyhound station, lest you suffer eight hours on a bus with nothing but Reese’s Pieces and a Slim Jim (a kind of foot-long, reconstituted Pepperami, which holds the dubious promise of “mechanically separated chicken” within) for company. Side note: If you’re getting on the bus in Charleston, South Carolina, you can purchase a single dill pickle, in a plastic pouch, for your journey. You’ll find them next to the Slim Jims. Greyhound Survival Tip 2 Don’t go hungover. Don’t stay up drinking cheap wine with a 19-year-old called Dereck (who can’t believe he’s met a real British person) in Carolina Beach until 4am when you have an eight-hour bus ride leaving at 8am the next day. Just don’t do it. Send Dereck home. If you don’t, you might find yourself projectile vomiting in a Greyhound toilet and then crying because you had to clean it up with tissues and now you can’t find your hand sanitiser. Greyhound Survival Tip 3 Somewhere in the USA, the Greyhound stops right outside… a prison. We were informed of this before our departure by a friend who had witnessed the newly released felons trooping onto his bus (and presumably, the seats around him) first-hand. We can’t tell you where it is, but the fact that we avoided it might have something to do with how we did, in fact, manage to survive. Greyhound Survival Tip 4
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