Written by Daryna Lohvinova
Bus tours are as romantic as a real journey and as safe as a trip to the country. The opportunity to literally travel around several European countries at once, to see them not only from the “front” entrance, but also to drive along with small villages, forests, and fields, to feel the atmosphere of an unfamiliar country, seeing it from the inside. There are many options for such tours.
Advantages of bus tours:
- Profitability. Bus tours are usually cheaper than other excursion programs since today the most expensive part of a tour is a plane ticket to your destination. When traveling by bus, there is no travel budget item.
- Informativeness. In 10-14 days, you will see 8-10 cities in 5-6 European countries. In addition, in many countries, you will drive from north to south and/or from east to west by road, which will give you the most complete impression of Europe.
- Possibility to combine a beach vacation with sightseeing. Many summer bus tours consist of two parts: excursions and seaside vacations. You will simultaneously see the cities and sights, which are often located far from the resorts, and spend 5-7 days in comfort on the beach.
- Communication. The bus tour assumes the presence of a group of 40-50 people (or even 60-70 if the bus is double-decker), with whom you will have to contact one way or another. If you are an introvert, then this is most likely not a plus, but a minus, and if an extrovert, then an unforgettable journey awaits you. In any case, the group is convenient: there is someone to borrow a couple of euros, to whom to transfer cigarettes at customs, and who to ask for help with the bag.
Cons of bus tours:
- Lack of time. Very often you will have 2-3 hours in the city, of which 1 hour-45 minute free time. During this time, you need to have time to see the museum (for example, the Dresden Gallery), buy souvenirs and dine in a cafe, or at least take some fast food with you on the bus. So, plan your time very carefully – any delay (even 5 minutes) can deprive you and your bus of the next city or fast border crossing.
- Lack of freedom of choice. A bus tour always has a clear program, from which the guide usually does not deviate, and there is always not enough free time. Therefore, often you cannot see what you want and eat where you want.
- Economy class hotels. Most bus tours include overnight stops at roadside hostels on the outskirts of towns. This means that you will find small, not very clean rooms for 2-4 people with bunk beds. For breakfast in such places, you will most likely get only muesli, a roll, and coffee/tea. There is nowhere to leave these hotels in the evening and it is unsafe.
- Improper nutrition. Prepare to eat on the go or on the bus, and almost always fast food. You will almost never have time to eat normally.
- Inconvenient posture. You always sit on the bus, sometimes 3-4 hours, without leaving your seat. Legs become numb, neck and back begin to ache. Therefore, always get off the bus when given the opportunity. Some of our tips for a long flight can help you on a bus tour, as the main problem in both cases is a long sitting position.
- Monotony. Most bus tours follow the same routes, the same cities, with the same stops and only in Europe. So after 2-3 such trips, you will probably get bored with them.
Going on a bus tour, carefully choose a travel agency and guide, carefully weigh all the pros and cons of such a trip, and get ready to sacrifice comfort for an unforgettable experience.
Bus tours will require optimism and discipline from you. A strict limit on the use of the bus dry closet, extraneous noise, possible problems with air conditioning, delay in departure due to late members of the group.
Treat these annoying little things with humor and don’t let them ruin your mood. Remember that you are traveling with other people, and the experience of the trip depends on the cohesion of your group. Try to be collected, sociable, and friendly. It is not easy to be in the closed space of the bus and in the open, unfamiliar space of a foreign country with strangers for a long time. But this collective adventure can give you not only new sensations but also new friends.