Monday’s Money Saving Tips: Night Buses!!

Jonny Blair living a lifestyle of travel on a nightbus from La Paz to Potosi in Bolivia

Monday’s Money Saving Tips – Night Buses – this photo from 2010 when I left La Paz in Bolivia on a night bus.

As a global traveller, taking night buses becomes almost routine, as you drift to sleep in the type of wilderness only the moon can shed some light on. This is not only a great way to get from city to city but it also saves you money AND TIME. I’d normally include this as a standalone post, but don’t want to leave it off my money saving tips, here’s six reasons to take night buses which will help you save time and money on your adventures:

Six Reasons to take nightbuses:

1. Accommodation

Jonny Blair and Dont Stop Living recommend night buses to save money

Save money on accommodation by sleeping on night buses – I even got a bed on this once from Vientiane to Pakse in LAOS.

You don’t need to book accommodation for a night so you are saving a one night stay in a hostel – view this as one extra night on your travels! Get on a nightbus and sleep on board. Granted, the sleep will not be amazing on night buses, but as a traveller you are used to getting forty winks anywhere you can. It might as well be on a slow bus to Durban! Some night buses include a bed as a standard, if you have to pay to upgrade to Cama or Sleeper Bus, I never do.

2. Daylight Saving Time

Jonny Blair living a lifestyle of travel recommends taking night buses

Daylight Saving time – by doing night buses regularly you can get more daylight time to sight see! At the Song Zan Lin Tibetan Monastery in Yunnan, CHINA here.

Not to be confused with “when the clocks go back”, you will actually enjoy more daylight time to yourself if you take night buses.You want to make the most of the daylight rather than spend your days viewing the world from a bus window (which admittedly is also something I enjoy!).

3. Cheaper fares 

Jonny Blair and his Monday's money saving tips

Night buses can also be cheaper – my view leaving Buenos Aires on a night bus back in 2010.

Often (but not always) the price of the journey will be cheaper at night. Mainly because there are less other vehicles on the road and the time is considered inconvenient to most travellers. To me it never has been.

4. Faster Journey

Jonny Blair living a lifestyle of travel in Australia on a fast night bus

An empty petrol station in Australia from one of my night buses – fast, smooth journeys at night!

At night it is commonly known that there is less traffic on the road, in almost every city in the world. This should make for a faster journey (in most cases). Less delays and most likely you will avoid traffic jams!!

5. Who cares about mundane countryside?

Dont Stop Living and some mundane countryside in Paraguay

You didn’t travel he world to stare at mundane fields from a bus window, did you? OK so I enjoy this too, but if you travel regularly the novelty of endless fields in Paraguay can become monotonous…

Tongue in cheek, of course, really I love looking out at countryside having a beer, updating my travel notes and loving life. But you know what I mean, 7 hours of staring at fields in Paraguay gets a bit much sometimes!

6. Decent Night’s Sleep!

sleeping on night buses by dont stop living

You can get a decent night’s sleep on a night bus – you’ll be surprised – especially if you have opted for Semi Cama or Cama.

Shock horror! Yes you can get a really decent night’s sleep on a night bus believe it or not, especially if you have paid for a Semi Cama or Cama bus.

So that’s six decent reasons to get a night bus. But yes as travellers there are also bad reasons to get a night bus, so I felt I’d cover the ones I have experienced too.

Three things to be aware of when taking night buses:

It’s important to enjoy taking night buses but it’s vital that you look after your belongings and stay safe. Keep your valuables on you in a safe hidden place and sleep with your bag attached to you if you feel safer.

1. Bag slashing

Jonny Blair bag slashed in Colombia in 2011

I also thought I’d highlight the downside of night buses – bag slashing and theft sadly does occur. Stay safe!

Bag slashing is most common in South America and although I tried to stay awake and look after my stuff as much as I could on the night buses there, someone tried to slash my bag open on a night bus between Sopo and Cucuta in Colombia in 2011. Luckily nothing was stolen, but I had to get a new bag and my stupid insurance company wouldn’t cover the cost of the bag (ironically they were called Cover More and I’ll never recommend them to anyone!). I never caught the person who did it, but knew it wasn’t the guy next to me, as I had chatted to him, he was older and helped me arrange my Venezuela border trip.

2. Delays and Breakdowns

Jonny Blair the travelling Northern Irishman nightbus to Caracas in 2011

Take care of your belongings on night buses and also bear in mind delays and break downs can still happen.

These happen at night too, but not for the reasons of traffic jams. I had a bus break down on me SIX times while travelling in Peru. I got there in the end though!

3. Fatigue

Of course you don’t always feel totally refreshed after night buses and sometimes you may end up losing that daylight saving time on the long run as you sleep longer in the day time, so be aware of this and try to maximise your time on the bus as well – use it to relax and sleep and put your mind to rest. Fatigue is part and parcel of travelling anyway, and you may have got this from a day bus too…

So – slightly more than just a money saving tip this week but there you go, my take on night buses. I will have a lot more posts on buses to come of course, but I wrote about some of my (night and day) bus journeys here:

– my Top 5 Scenic Bus Journeys

– my night bus through Argentina

– my night bus through Colombia

– one of my night buses in Bolivia

– my day bus in Peru which broke down 6 times and turned into a nightbus!!

I’ve tons of videos from my day and night buses on my YouTube Channel so here’s 2:

San Marino bus problems, 2009:

Boarding a night bus in Buenos Aires in 2010:

My night bus from Vientiane to Pakse in Laos in 2012:

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