The barrelling Contiki bus, the rambunctious Topdeck crew or the chronically hungover Busabout gang, no matter your surrounding gaggle of travellers, a group tour is one surefire way to guarantee you’ll be incredibly loose for the duration of your trip. It’s a whirlwind of destinations, new mates, sights abound and a party atmosphere you will long for upon returning home. Certainly not for everyone, but it’s an absolute tonne of fun. Here’s how to make it out alive, with most of your belongings and at least a little dignity.
The beauty of taking the road de tour bus around foreign lands is rest time. After a big night out you’ll find yourself packed into a bus for hours at a time and that picture perfect outfit all but unnesscary. Of course winter requires a few extra layers, but come summer it’s time to pack as light as can be. Don’t take the lack of baggage restrictions on your bus as an invitation to bring an extra suitcase or two, you’re almost certain to buy souvenirs or clothes along the way. Roll, scrunch and fold the shit out of a little less so you’re not that person straining themselves to put their six suitcases in the luggage hold. Not cool.
Be Savvy With Your Cash
I’m not going to say stingy but being a little more guarded with your spending makes the experience. That’s not to say don’t splurge on the extra tour stops, definitely do. Those wine tastings, perfume making, white water rafting, mountain climbing excursions will be the best memories of your whole trip. Just don’t buy a six course meal after. Invest in a cheeky bottle of liquor before a night out with a mate or two rather than buying them all at the bar, enjoy a picnic in the park and soak up the overseas sun, and definitely don’t shout everyone on the tour. One round of shots is fun, every drink is a fast track to moochers latching on and a hefty credit card bill.
But Load Up On Supplies
What you should keep space for is your very own portable medicine cabinet. Not a first aid kit or a Narcos style drug operation, but an essential bunch of solutions to any foreseeable travel issues. Constipation, dehydration, a cold, flu, mammoth hangover or food poisoning can easily cost you a day of exploring in exchange for travel agony. Pack for that rainy day just in case and you’ll be in more demand than the person with gum on the bus come the halfway point of touring.
If you’re serious about staying at least of mildly good health on your trip, pack vitamins too. Staying healthy as such on a tour like this is all but impossible. Unless your version of peak health and fitness is labouring 10 beers a day and eating cheese laden delights for every meal. In which case you’re about to be in the best shape of your life. The ‘Contiki cough’ is no rumour, do whatever you can to avoid that nasty little bugger cramping your travel plans. Up your vitamin uptake if you want to stay on top.
Oh and obvi condoms if you know what’s good for you. But that’s why you’re on a tour right? Just try not to bring an STI home with you.
Don’t Just Hang With Your Tour Mates
Tour mates are total luck of the draw, you’re putting all your faith in picking the right tour and hopefully landing a wonderful bunch. 9.5/10 this is the case, that’s why so many solo travellers choose to hop aboard a tour rather than navigating haphazardly on their own. Even if you do find a wonderful new crew all set for adventures abroad don’t limit your social interaction to your home on wheels. The best part of travelling is the people so make sure to still put yourself out there on nights out and daily adventures or even the hostel common room. It makes for an atlas of friends to visit later in life.
Ready Yourself For Hangovers
It’s the reality and even those
liars who say they don’t get hangovers, drinking here is an Olympic event. If your remedy is Berocca and Powerade then make sure to have some on hand for the long driving days. It’s a balancing act between big days and even bigger nights, but it’s worth every painstaking headache for the memories you’ll have to hold dear of dancing on tables. Don’t be whiny about your hungover head either, the whole bus is in the same bad way so have a little respect for their delicate ears and weary eyes too.
Get Comfortable Sleeping In Transit
Motion sick individuals need not apply. You will spend a great deal of early mornings rolling out in pitch black and catching whatever shut eye you can after no pillow time whatsoever. Make a playlist, bring an eye mask, wrap that neck pillow around and block out your surroundings until you’re feeling socially equipped to mingle with your bus mates. No one likes a grouch and a hangover is not an acceptable excuse.
Keep It Clean
Hey hygiene here, remember me? Back home in summer your shower on the daily, brush your teeth like clockwork and deodorise with flair, travelling can disrupt that routine. Please don’t be the smelly one. If you’re at all interested in your health you’ll make the effort to keep it under control while you travel. That’s why you loaded up that toiletries bag remember? You’ll feel so much fresher and more confident if you keep your cleaning regime on track. Not to sound like your Mum, but don’t be gross and smelly. Travelling is already at times filthy enough.
Don’t Stress About Being Everyone’s Friend
Here’s a secret, not everyone on the bus will like your nor your them. It’s easy to fall into the trap of wanting to be everyone’s friend while you’re travelling and while being polite is paramount don’t invest your time in people who aren’t worth it. There’ll be obnoxious idiots, messy drunks and culturally ignorant loudmouths, it’s time to perfect the art of letting the little things go. Bickering over something minor early on will make for awkward bus travel the rest of your journey. Don’t let a personality clash derail your fun.
Always Take The Bathroom Stop
No exceptions. You may not think you need to go, you should go anyway. That litre of water you downed is bound to weigh you down at one point or another, so take the op while you have it. As for number twos, avoid at all costs going on the bus. It stinks, it’s gruesome and you have to sit in the stench of your own filth for hours on end. Poo bus bandits are the lowest of all tour bus mates and you can guarantee a stare down or two after you’ve done the deed.
Try Anything Once
A mantra worth the pillow it’s printed on, you’re on the trip of a lifetime do not pass up a single opportunity. This is the single best chance to push the boundaries of your comfort zone and try new things. Diet be damned, fear of heights be gone and inhibitions all but flushed. It’ll make for epic stories upon return and who knows you might just discover something new about yourself in the process. #Selfdiscovery.
Image source: Polka Dot Passport, Lifestyle.one, World of Wanderlust, Gypsea Lust, Travel Freak, Life Without Andy, Intrepid, Cancun Adventures.