Recently I went to Mombasa by SGR and also to Nyege Nyege festival in Uganda. This was about 12 hours from Nairobi to Jinja town in Uganda. That is a lot of time on the road. Regardless of how comfortable the bus is, it won’t match up to a flight or a bed. The trip was a bit hard on me because I had not packed some of the most essential things needed for such a long road trip. But oh well!! We live and we learn.
Eye mask and ear plugs
You must or should have this two!!! Buses have different kinds of lighting and at times the colours may keep on changing depending on the kind of music being played. You can’t sleep comfortably with this kind of lights on. The eye mask comes in handy as it just blocks away all that lighting.
With ear plugs, all your distractions are at bay. Earplugs are essential for drowning unwanted noise. You are travelling with different kinds of people and some may be too loud and a bit distracting. But with the earplugs, you are able to cancel most of the noise out.
This is one of the things I regret not carrying during my journey. Some bus seats are not adjustable. Even our own SGR Train has non adjustable seats. The bus that I used to Uganda had adjustable seats but that does not mean they are very comfortable. I had to use one of my jackets as a neck pillow because the space that is left between your neck and the seat is a bit big. If you sit for too long is such a position, you will end up having a stiff neck.
So, I advice any of you planning to travel to please purchase a good, comfy neck pillow because you will really need one. The price range is from ksh 250 to ksh 2500 depending on the quality, size and where you purchase them from. Jumia sells some.
I can’t insist enough on this. A 12 hour road trip will drain your charge especially if you are always online like me. Whether you are scrolling your social media pages, watching a movie or reading a book on your phone, you will need to charge it at some point. Most of these long distance travelling buses come with sockets where you can charge your phones or laptops or whatever device you are using.
I always make sure that my phone is 100% full before I embark on a journey. This is helpful in case you get a bus that does not have sockets. You will know how to manage your charge. Carry a power bank for backup.
Books, magazines, movies, music, cards and board games are essential when it comes to long distance travelling. When you travel in a overland truck, they come equipped with comfortable seats and tables. Overland trucks are abit more stable than buses and that’s why it will be easier for you to play board games in them as opposed to buses. But that does not mean that you can’t be entertained while travelling in a bus. You can watch movie and listen to music. You can even read a book though I found it a bit difficult considering the lighting in the bus which keeps on changing. Reading an actual hard copy book would be ideal if travelling during the day.
Toilet paper and/or wet wipes
As much as this is almost always forgotten, it comes in very handy!!! It is a lifesaver. Spill something on yourself, you want to eat but there is no water,dusty seat, wiping the window, going to the toilet, feeling dusty, you will need a tissue or wet wipes. I advise you to be carrying both of them. They work hand in hand.
With this long road trips, there are always some stops they make for people to go and relieve themselves. Some places will charge you to use their washrooms and will also charge you extra for tissue paper which is just 5 pieces. It is not worth the struggle. Carry your own tissue and wet wipes. This places might not even have water to wash your hands so the wet wipes come in handy too.
I hope this will make your long road trip worthwhile. Don’t forget to enjoy and have fun too.