The Bus Ride Survival Guide: 8 Tips for the Optimal Bus Experience

Whether traveling to a distant competition or a football game out of state, we all hate having to sit on a bus for hours at a time. The two feet of space you have in your seat is never enough, and by the end of the trip the bus usually takes on the odor of the sweaty band uniforms. Heaven forbid your bus breaks down and you get stuck without air conditioning in the middle of the Deep South (personal experience)! Despite these challenges, there are a few ways to make bus rides less insufferable. Here are 8 of our favorites:

1. Comedy Movies

This is essential. What helps the time go by faster than laughing with friends and having inside jokes for the rest of the weekend? Give me anything with Will Ferrell, Kevin Hart, or Vince Vaughn (assuming you aren’t restricted by what the movie is rated).

2. A Hoodie

Buses have odd climates. You can be burning up one minute and freezing the next; your legs can feel like you’re walking through snow while simultaneously you have sweat beads on your forehead. A hoodie is a must to help you be prepared for whatever situation in which you find yourself. As a bonus, you can pull down the hood over your eyes to let everyone else know to not mess with you.

3. Noise Cancelling Headphones

You have been sacrificing sleep for the last couple of months to be part of this activity called marching band. It’s time to get some of that sleep back. Every bus has at least one loudmouth, and that person does not need to stop you from getting your beauty rest.

4. A non-judgmental friend

Chances are you are going to fall asleep on this trip. I also know that when you do, you are probably going to drift off and lean on the person beside you. Ensure beforehand that this is going to be someone who doesn’t judge you for sleeping on his or her shoulder or take funny SnapChats of the moment.

5. Hype Music

When you arrive at your destination – whether it’s a game or competition – you need your group’s theme music. This was always the most memorable time of the weekend for me when traveling. Your group has unique songs that you will always remember as part of your hype music. Crank it up and groove to the music!

6. Cash

You never know when you are going to need extra cash. If your band makes an extra pit stop you may want to run in and buy a snack to get you through the last leg of the trip. Or maybe you lost a bet on who was going to win the last round of Bus Wars.

7. Bus Wars

Bus Wars: the greatest bus game known to man. One person starting at the front of the bus and another starting at the bathroom door; each person charging full steam ahead for nothing more than the pride of having won Bus Wars. May the odds be ever in your favor

8. Freshman Talent Contest

Put the heat on the freshmen to come out of their shell. Give them the chance to show off hidden talents that will help them bond with the rest of the group. Maybe they can dance, rap, or have a completely unexpected skill to display.

Bonus: Your drum pad and sticks

If you are on the drum bus your should be hacking through your music for at least half an hour. This is free time to drum that you don’t normally get with your drumline friends. Heck, you don’t even have to play show music. Have fun chopping out to something new or making up a lick with a friend!

Most importantly, arrive safely and make memories with your friends!

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