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Top Tips for Surviving Overnight Trains and Buses

Overnight transport is a great way to save both time and money while you are travelling but read these top tips to make sure you will actually get some sleep!

1. Take some warm clothes or extra layers - it may be that it is the hottest day of your trip so far but for some reason your night bus might as well be travelling through the Arctic it gets so cold.

2. Eye mask + Earplugs - Nothing is more frustrating that when you finally get to sleep after what feels like a million hours just for the lights to go on and the bus driver rummages around and sits back down. Back to square one. Eye masks and earplugs can be a real lifesaver.

3. Head Torch - At times you may have to admit defeat and give up on sleep. A head torch is really useful for when you are awake but no one else is. You can read a book and try to trick your eyes into falling asleep.

4. Cama / Semi-cama - Get to know the local lingo for the different styles of seats - some will fully recline and some won’t recline at all. Work out which seats best works for you. Personally, I found I could get a pretty good night sleep if I was basically lying down and on the bottom bunk of a bus. Top bunk was a whole different ball game (balancing act).

5. I had a very serious rule for my friends when we took the trains in India ‘only tell me the cockroach is there if it looks like it is close enough to touch me’ - sometimes ignorance really is bliss.

6. Entertainment - Books, films, music, cards - you probably can not have too much entertainment for an overnight transport - who doesn’t want a 3am game of Yahtzee.

7. Snacks - if you can’t sleep and it’s 3am you are probably going to find you are hungry, a lot.

8. Have a plan of attack for your arrival - you may believe you are going to arrive at the very respectable time of 7:30am just in time for breakfast. However, this could easily mean you will arrive at 4:30pm blurry eyed and confused - be sure you know of a few hostels to head to jusssstttt incase.

9. Hand sanitizer! After 6 hours on a bus you may only have one option of where to go to the toilet - you won’t be able to be fussy. You may just want to have a hand sanitizer full body shower afterwards.

10. Keep your possessions close, overnight transport can sadly be a great opportunity for theft - but if you keep your most important possessions on you and you will be fine.

Get cosy and settled in - an overnight journey can turn into a great adventure or one of those great travelling stories.

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  • "This experience was unforgettable, I have met people that I will stay friends with for many years to come and completely fell in love with Argentina!"
    Jamie Henderson , Languages, Argentina
  • "I was so surprised how quickly I picked up the language! The school was great and really supportive throughout the learning process and it was amazing to practice what I had learnt in real life situations."
    Melissa Cutler , Languages, Argentina
  • Not only did I have tons of fun I've also gained a qualification that means I can continue my travels around the world whilst getting paid to teach English!
    Helen Turner , Teaching, Argentina
  • This was probably the most worthwhile experience I have ever had. The organisation and staff at the school were amazing and really supported me throughout the whole process. I wish I could go back!
    Tom Mitchell , Teaching, Argentina
  • ''It was an ideal opportunity for me to combine travelling with my passion for sport.''
    James Hairsine , Sports, Ghana
  • “This was a fantastic opportunity to gain some experience in sports psychology, which has really helped with the psychology element of my sports studies degree.”
    Anthony Gibson , Sports, Ghana
  • "What a great way to get hands on experience in the field of finance and economics! I feel like I have acquired many skills that will stay with me for years to come!"
    Jenny Allen , Business & Law, Kenya
  • "This was such a sustainable way to support the community in Kenya, and I would love to return to continue helping out."
    Paul Taylor , Business & Law, Kenya
  • "I had such an amazing gap year! this project was challenging but completely worth it."
    Francesca Le Poideven , Business & Law, Kenya
  • "Lake Nakuru National Park is just incredible. The game rangers were so friendly and helpful, going out of their way to make sure I had an amazing time during my placement. I would love to do it all over again!"
    Maria Rossi , Wildlife & Conservation, Kenya
  • "It was great fun because the kids want to learn and everything you do is such a novelty to them. I was moved by what I saw, not for sentimental reasons, but because the teachers and the children were so keen and worked so hard."
    Katie Godfrey , Teaching, Kenya
  • "This was such a heartwarming project, the children have so little but are so greatful. I met some amazing people and will remember this experience forever."
    Sylvia Amani , Teaching, Kenya
  • "What a fascinating country. I not only learned so much about the healthcare system and gained some great experience to help with my degree, but got to visit some amazing places in Kenya. The Masia Mara trip was just unreal."
    Aaron Leyman , Medical & Health, Kenya
  • "The kids were so amazing, it was such a heartwarming experience and i'm just really glad that I could help out."
    Gemma Bracknell , Care Work, Kenya
  • "What a great project! I am so greatful to have had this opportunity and it is certainly something I will never forget."
    Suzanne Hart , Care Work, Kenya
  • "I really enjoyed my time on the Galapagos Islands. This tour is such a great way to see the islands. Everyone I met were so welcoming, and they helped to make this an unforgettable experience. Seeing giant tortoises up close was awesome!"
    Jocelyn Whitehead , Wildlife & Conservation, Ecuador
  • "This is was certainly one of the most unique and fulfilling trips I have had. From helping out the kids with learning the game of tennis, to seeing the smiles on their faces, these moments gave me a new light on my career and my way of life."
    Peter Kung , Sports, Argentina
  • "The experience of living with other volunteers and students was a great! An unbelievable sports experience! As a football fan I really couldn't imagine a better place to visit."
    Joseph Berry , Sports, Argentina
  • "Working in the orphanage with these adorable kids was a great way to do something really good with my time abroad on my gap year. I would recommend it to anyone who is keen to work with children. A magical experience! I cannot wait to go back to Argentina and see how they are all getting on."
    Jade Garcia , Care Work, Argentina
  • "I loved this volunteer project in the orphanage in Buenos Aires. So many great kids, who love to play and learn from you. I really enjoyed the cooking lessons in the bakery, and the kids really liked to do face painting and arts, which was really fun, it was great to be able to put smiles on their faces. I will treasure my memories of my trip to Argentina for a long time."
    Susan Tanner , Care Work, Argentina

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