This article was updated on June 11, 2018.
Traveling within the UK by bus is one of the best ways to discover the unrivalled scenic gems its regions have to offer – something you’ll definitely miss with the plane. With more bus paths than train routes, not only is the bus a cheaper, greener, and more flexible alternative, but it’s also the chosen mode of transportation among the locals. From Scotland’s diverse countrysides, to England’s bustling city centers, if you’re currently in Europe or planning an upcoming trip, here are our 10 tips & tricks for bus travel in the UK.
1. Opt for the scenic route
Travelers with a penchant for wanderlust usually revel in the idea of an offbeat adventure, and choosing the bus will help you get there. Riding a bus – or a coach – in the UK is perfect for visiting more than one city or village off the beaten path because they usually take routes that don’t exist by train. These journeys boast an array of mountainous panoramas, unspoiled countrysides, and historic architecture, making it easy to unearth the many wonders that dot the UK’s landscape. If you pass through small towns, you’ll even get the chance to observe how the locals live.
2. Take advantage of full stops
Another great way to snap Instagram-worthy pictures is by getting off the bus! Not only are these breaks welcome during longer trips, they’re ideal for uncovering the territory’s picturesque backdrop. If you’re traveling by day, you’ll begin sightseeing before reaching your destination – for free.
3. Discover tasty snacks
Delving into the local fare is a fun way to discover other cultures. Want to begin sampling the region’s food before stepping off the bus? Pick up a Cornish Pasty or a Bedfordshire Clanger for lunch breaks. These traditional goodies are easy to pack, making them perfect for on-the-go munchies.
4. Dress for appropriate temperatures
We all know the UK has a reputation for its unpredictable weather, so ensure you dress wisely. Since it tends to be generally colder than other parts of Europe, be sure to pack a good pair of walking boots for treks (bonus if they’re waterproof), a wool sweater if you’re visiting in winter, and a sturdy umbrella.
5. Pack your music
What’s better than admiring the scene to the sound of a personal soundtrack? Create a vacation playlist for your UK adventure by adding tunes like “London Calling” by The Clash or some classics from The Beatles to your repertoire.
6. Familiarize yourself with the terminology
Knowing a few of the UK’s key terms will come in handy for bus travel: Bus (coach or sleeper coach), bus station (coach station), bus driver (coach driver), line (queue), highway (motorway).
7. Research and book your bus tickets online
Search your departure date & time and book your ticket with Busbud. Once that’s done, simply arrive at the bus terminal and board stress free! This is also the easiest way to ensure you are booking through a safe and reliable bus company – and it’s an eco-friendly alternative to other modes of transportation.
8. Choose luxury
Most coach buses in UK are already equipped with a high level of coziness, but you should also consider upgrading to first class for ultimate comfort. The UK has some pretty luxurious coach buses that are at par with some airline cabins. The majority will offer reclining leather seats, WiFi, power outlets, movie screens, sleeper kits, air conditioning, as well as onboard snacks and meals.
9. Organization is key
Many buses journey to neighboring countries, and though most Western countries in the European Union do not have border checkpoints, passport checks still happen from time to time. Be sure to keep passports and bus tickets in order and within reach.
10. Make friends with your bus driver
If you do speak the language, chat your driver up during breaks. You’ll be amazed at how much they know – and how much they’ve seen. They will even give you tips on which side of the bus you should sit on to get the nicest views…and photos!
Have you taken the bus throughout the UK and have some tips you would like to share? Let us know in the comments below!