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Avoid These Common Mistakes of First-Time Greyhound Passengers

Every day, Greyhound buses ferry thousands of people across the United States, and many of these riders are first-time passengers. It’s pretty typical for new Greyhound passengers to not know what to expect or how to fully utilize the bus line. Because of this, many riders make simple mistakes that cost them money, time, and comfort.

If you’re a first-time Greyhound passenger, take note of these slipups so you can avoid them and ensure that your future trips are stress-free and successful.


01 Buying the tickets on the day of the trip

When it comes to riding with Greyhound, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is buying your ticket at the station just before leaving. It's better to buy tickets a few weeks ahead of time, whenever possible.

Both Greyhound’s website and mobile app offer substantial savings if you book your ride in advance. After all, many Greyhound stations are already busy, so the discounts help save time and confusion.

couple buying ticket at ticket counter Aja Koska / Getty Images

02 Not using the Road Rewards program

So many companies offer loyalty programs that don’t really feel worth the hassle of signing up, but Greyhound’s Road Rewards program is great even if you don’t plan to keep riding with the bus line.

Signing up earns you a discount towards your next ticket purchase right off the bat, as well as some price cuts on food and other services at Greyhound stations.

bus driving on Arches National Park internal highway approaching Balanced Rock Willowpix / Getty Images

03 Waiting too long to go to the station

While it might seem like a drag, all passengers should get to the Greyhound station at least an hour before their bus is scheduled to leave. This is particularly important for first-time passengers.

You’ll need to find out which gate or door your bus loads from, check any bags that need to go under the bus, and then wait in the boarding line itself. Get to the station with enough time that you don’t have to scramble or risk missing your ride.

woman checking the time on her watch danchooalex / Getty Images

04 Assuming you won’t need a jacket or blanket

Buses are often too hot, too cold, or both in a single trip. While there’s not much you can do besides strip to a light t-shirt if a bus is too warm, jackets and blankets will protect you from the cold.

Even if you don’t need them for warmth, a jacket or blanket is incredibly important. In a pinch, you can roll them up and use them as pillows for additional comfort. Also, you will likely be sitting next to someone and a blanket or jacket can act as a barrier between their space and yours.

woman wearing yellow jacket reading book in the bus urbazon / Getty Images

05 Using the bus bathroom

At some point during your journey, you will have to use the restroom. If you can’t avoid it, most Greyhound bus bathrooms are fine. However, using a small bathroom on a vehicle moving at 65 miles per hour is far from an ideal experience.

While Greyhound does their best to keep the bathrooms clean, all it takes is one passenger to ruin the bathroom for everyone. Do yourself a favor and use the bathrooms at nearby businesses or the station instead.

a coach bus in a city street Photography taken by Mario Gutiérrez. / Getty Images

06 Leaving luggage unattended

In a perfect world, we would be able to trust that our belongings would be safe without the need for constant guarding. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world. While Greyhound does their best to prevent theft, it still happens.

Many people will leave their bags unattended for just a few seconds to grab a meal or go to the bathroom, but this is enough time for an unscrupulous individual to swipe the bags. Keep your luggage with you at all times and make sure your checked bags are always in the appropriate section before boarding.

unattended luggage at a bus station Oleksandr Filon / Getty Images

07 Not knowing the route

Greyhound makes the route available to you before you buy your ticket, as well as allowing you to access it from the Greyhound app or in any station. Familiarize yourself with any transfers, layovers, and stops that will take place.

If you need to change buses at a certain stop, you will want to prepare yourself ahead of time so you don’t get lost. Nobody wants the hassle and additional fees of missing a bus.

couple looking at map on phone Hinterhaus Productions / Getty Images

08 Ignoring the bus driver

Throughout your trip, the driver may make periodic announcements about upcoming stops, whether the bus is on schedule, what station is coming up, and other helpful information. Many people tune these announcements out, but you don’t want to be one of them.

Not only will you avoid irritating the driver by asking questions about things they have already announced, but you will be warned about any issues that might pop up so you can get ahead of the problem.

man using phone while sitting on the bus Adene Sanchez / Getty Images

09 Leaving the station

Your bus will visit many stations during your journey. While many of the stations are bustling hubs in the city proper, some are in rough neighborhoods with poor lighting or few people around. It might seem appealing to pop down to a nearby restaurant, but do your best to avoid leaving the station — especially at night.

Not only do you risk missing your bus, but some people will attempt to rob wayward bus passengers because they’re more likely to have money or valuable goods.

woman walking at night Dimensions / Getty Images

10 Expecting the bus to be on time

Always prepare for your bus to arrive and leave earlier than scheduled, but expect it to run behind. This way, you won’t miss your ride if something changes, and you’ll dodge the frustration of waiting for a late bus. You never know what will happen on the road, which can lead to unexpected delays — sometimes several hours.

If you are taking a bus to an important event that starts at a specific time, give yourself a buffer of a day or two to ensure you don’t miss it.

man looking at departure board martin-dm / Getty Images

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