How to Survive a Charter Bus
Welcome to Tin Can Transit! Here are some tips to make your trip as enjoyable as possible:
1. Pack minimal rations. You may be tempted to bring no rations, which you will regret when hunger sets in three hours from the nearest rest stop. You may be tempted to bring many rations, which will take up too much room in the overhead compartment, annoying your bus mates, and create too much trash, annoying your bus driver. Neither of these circumstances will make life on your bus any easier. A personal bag of chips and some trail mix should suffice.
a. A note on water: Conserve your water supply, as draining a bottle of water six hours from your destination will not do your bladder any favors. See tip 5 for further notes on this matter.
2. Always know where your blanket is. This is a crucial item to bring in the unpredictable climate of a charter bus. A blanket can perform many tasks on your trip, including but not limited to: hiding yourself from the endless company of the well-meaning people you travel with; a bargaining chip when your seatmate didn’t have the forethought to bring their own blanket; a pillow when you are in need of a nap, especially if you didn’t have the forethought to bring your own pillow; and, if the need arises, for warmth.
a. A note on warmth: Always figure out where the ventilation system is and how to control it early on. Failure to do this will result in many chilly naps.
3. Bring headphones. These will become a saving grace when you are overcome with exhaustion at the one time the rest of your bus mates are awake. They will also serve as a warning sign for your seatmate that you will become murderous if they chatter on any longer. This will save both their life and your sanity.
4. Work hard to find a comfortable sleeping position. Make sure you are secure in whatever position you choose so you do not wind up, inexplicably, on the floor of the bus.
5. Use the restroom at every stop. It does not matter if you need to; your bladder will thank you when you are several hours from the next stop. Your bus mates will also thank you, as using the mobile restroom provided at the back of the bus is ill-advised. The resulting smell will become unbearable very quickly.
a. A note on rest stops: After using the restroom, always walk around a bit and stretch. The bus is cramped and walking will prevent too much long term discomfort for your legs. Long term discomfort may cause an excess of loud complaints. These are to be avoided.
6. Establish boundaries early on with your seatmate. Failure to do so will result in being slept upon and pressed uncomfortably against the window seat that you insisted upon having.
7. Bring a book or other form of easily packed entertainment. Boredom will set in roughly an hour into your trip. At this point your bus mates will have exhausted themselves and fallen into various stages of lethargy. Having something to do will save you from suffering the same fate.
a. A note on boredom: Your seatmate is likely to fall prey to boredom. Try and find a way that they can entertain themselves. If your seatmate cannot entertain themselves, they are likely to use you for your entertainment.
8. Look out the window. Not only will it serve as prevention for motion sickness, it will also serve as entertainment. Especially if you are traveling from a colder climate to a warmer climate, the view outside will change drastically, usually from lifeless and barren to green and thriving. The cold, gray, and snowy sky will transform quickly into an endless, warm blue. The trees outside the window may seem to turn from naked branches to flourishing greenery. It is a sight not to be missed.
Enjoy your trip, and thank you for choosing Tin Can Transit!
How to Spend a Day and a Half in Atlanta
When traveling to a new city, it can be difficult to decide how to spend your time. Following these tips may help in making the most of that time:
1. Get out of the hotel. Spending all of your time in the hotel room defeats the purpose of traveling to a new place. Go out and experience the city.
2. Do not experience too much of the city. If neither you nor your companions are familiar with the city, it could be detrimental to wander off. If you find it necessary to go exploring, such as finding the nearest drug store, be sure to have a GPS on hand. Failure to do this may result in finding yourself in a “sketchy” part of town. This “sketchy” part of town may include images such as trash filled streets, obscene graffiti on the sides of buildings, and suspicious stares from the local populace.
a. A note on drug stores: Pack carefully to avoid this necessity. It will ultimately save you the anxiety and sheer embarrassment of being a tourist in need of tampons in a “sketchy” part of town.
b. A note on the “sketchy” part of town: If you do find yourself needing to visit the “sketchy” part of town, try to act like you belong. Stand out as little as possible. Move as quickly as possible. And always bring a friend. Traveling in groups is safer than traveling alone.
3. Find an attraction designed specifically for tourists, such as a giant Ferris wheel. While it may look like a ploy to take about $20 of your trip allowance, it is really a fabulous way to look at the surrounding block from a bird’s eye view while the voice of a CNN news reporter chatters from the cheap speakers on the ceiling. A good time is sure to be had by all.
a. A note on speakers: In such instances, it may be useful to find the volume on the speakers, in case you wish to experience the ride in silence.
i. A note on volume: Be sure to check whether or not the volume can be turned down as well as up, in case you do not wish to experience the tour at full volume.
4. Spend some time in a local park. After a long bus ride to your destination, you will likely be low on energy. You may also be short on funds. If you find yourself in this position, lounging in a local park is a great way to kill time with your friends for free.
a. A note on friends: Do not bring friends that could potentially annoy fellow park patrons. These friends are prone to blasting music at full volume when bored. Examples of music that will elicit murderous glances from passing parties includes catchy musical soundtracks and repetitive pop songs. It is advised that this be avoided.
5. Do something unique with a large group of friends. This will require some research beforehand, but all that work will be worth it after you and your friends are locked in a room for an hour, charged with the task of escaping. A simulation of fear and anxiety is sure to enhance your friendship and create a closer bond.
a. A note on simulations: When facing a simulation of fear and anxiety, keep in mind that nothing is as it seems. Every part of the simulation, or “escape room,” is a potential clue or trap. Keep in constant contact with your companions. Sharing information is crucial in finding the key to escape.
6. Eat out one night at a local restaurant or bar within walking distance of your hotel, preferably with live music. It may be a bit on the expensive side, but will ultimately be worth it.
a. A note on live music: If you are of a timid sensibility, be prepared for interaction with the performers. If you do not prepare, you may find yourself with a microphone in your face and an entire restaurant waiting for you to respond to the expectant musician. This will result in extreme embarrassment and stuttering on your part, after which you will hide your face in your napkin and hope the floor swallows you whole.
7. Spend some time at a local zoo, museum, or aquarium. Places such as these are a great way to get out of the heat and sun for a time while enjoying some educational fun with friends. Be sure to take plenty of pictures to show at length to your captive audience, henceforth referred to as your “family”, upon returning from your trip.
a. A note on zoos, museums, and aquariums: Be sure all members of your party are aware that these locations are often inhabited by children. Some members may disregard this fact and offend fellow patrons with their language. Help temper this habit and remind them to censor themselves.
i. A note on censoring: While this may work in most cases, some cases are so extreme that they require direct interference on your part. Allowing them to censor themselves may result in such phrases as, “Holy mother of Satan,” immediately followed by a dismayed exclamation of, “Oh fuck, shouldn’t have said that.” Such an exchange will be even more offensive to fellow patrons than the uncensored phrase would have been.
8. Remember to relax. Your trip to Atlanta is meant as a vacation away from the responsibilities of home. Try to enjoy yourself. The most important thing is to have fun with your friends.
If you follow these helpful tips and tricks, your stay in the capital city of the Peach State should go off without a hitch! Thank you for visiting Atlanta, GA! We hope to see you again soon!