Ballin on a Budget! Stay-cation Bus Etiquette 101

by Nini Bodine

As the days get longer and the temp rises outside, supervisors seem to start giving you the side-eye in anticipation of you submitting leave request forms! Because we are now officially in the what? … “season o’ vacays.” Here is your opportunity to take some legitimate time to yourself and not have to come up with some ‘randomly strategic’ bout with illness to tap into that ‘sick leave’ … but I digress! You may be wondering, “How can I take a vacay or a stay-cay that is reasonably cost-effective?” Well when I asked myself that question last summer, my answer came in the form of a convenient bus service known for cheap ticket prices, air conditioning, and free wi-fi! Sign me up!

Now for those of you who are from the Northeast, you may be familiar with a number of bus services that ‘shuttle’ folks to popular destination sites at almost unbelievably low prices. Well as a Southern gal, this concept was fairly new to me yet gave me new optimism to plan various summer get aways! I’ve taken about 3 successful bus trips with this service thus far and may plan more for this summer. As a result of my trips, I wanted to weigh-in on a few bus etiquette ‘faux pas’ that I have witnessed and experienced as a passenger. It’s amazing what one is exposed to just as a result of taking any form of public transportation. I’m typically not a fan of public transportation, but with the price of gas continuing to make my left eye well up with each fill up, I decided that something had to give if I still wanted spending change on my trips!


 1. Bus Attendants: Your job is to tend to the passengers. This particular bus service always provided two drivers for each trip to help combat against extreme levels of fatigue for one person. AWESOME! Soon this particular trip, and as passengers began to board the bus, one driver should’ve been checking tickets while the other assisting passengers with placing their bags under the bus. Sir, I understand that you just had to get a few more puffs off of that Newport before starting this bus trip, however, I think I just ruptured, sprained, and dislocated my 56th & 57th vertebrae trying to simultaneously bend, lift, and move this piece of luggage onto the bottom of this bus. Please & Thank you in advance. Sidenote: It also pisses me off that you watch me struggle & still don’t feel moved to help. *Cue Miss Celie’s twofingered point,”eeerythang you dun done to me … I already dun done to you.”

2. Bus snacks should be just that … SNACKS! Anything that requires a utensil to consume, anything that is so fragrant it would ‘light up’ the entire bus as soon as you open the container, anything that you wouldn’t want to eat in the car while driving is not an appropriate bus snack. Examples include, but are not limited to: brunswick stew, beef stroganoff, spaghetti, boiled eggs, boiled onions w/ garlic on the side … you get my drift!

3. Only cuddle and/or lay on the shoulder of those you know. There is nothing worse than waking up with a stranger ever so gently breathing on your neck and clutching your arm as if you are a TeddyRuxpin bear. No MF ma’am or sir!

4. Talking on cell phones should be kept to a minimum. The whole bus does not care to know your own personal thoughts about the ‘riding on the bus’ experience. Please wait until Gwen & Erma pick you up to let them know how pleased you are with the trip and more importantly the price of the tix.

5. Bring a jacket/blanket/something to wear because the bus may get chilly. Part of the reason bus drivers keep the air pumping is so that they will stay awake, and you will then ‘arrive alive.’ It’s just like the movie theatre; it should be understood that you may need a wrap to maintain a decent body temp; otherwise, prepare for your nipples to be as hard as AP Math in China under that lone tank top!

6. If you are sitting in a seat with a stranger and a seat opens up-MOVE! Unless we are traveling together, there’s no loyalty with regard to seat occupancy. I can’t feel either of my baby toes because I’m trying to maintain a respectable stature in my seat beside you … and you ain’t tryin’ to move! No MF ma’am or sir!

7. Once we stop after an extended driving time & you have been to sleep … your breath now stinks! Just because you are not sleep in your bed at the house does not mean that your mouth will not smell bad after dozing off for an hour or so on a bus. Unless ‘mesquite open ass’ is the flavor on your box of Tic Tacs, with that smell being the goal once consumed, point your eyes at me to let me know you’re talking to me, but cover your mouth to acknowledge the ‘situation’ at hand.

Be safe out there and remember: bus trips vs. road trips or plane rides will only remain a viable alternative if everyone respects the situation. Otherwise, you’ll opt to spend more money … not on the vacay itself, but on your piece of mind while traveling there!

  • African Mami

    I’ve taken the bus twice down south. NIGHTMARE! Urrrrrrrgh! I got tales.

  • edub

    Snacks not acceptable: those obscenely colored drinks in the plastic barrels and sunflower seeds. Perhaps those flaming hot cheetos, too. Also, no gum popping.

    Don’t get on the bus dancing.
    Don’t get off the bus dancing.

    Also, I HATE mothers who have little kids in their own separate seats-especially when it’s crowded.

    NO Escalade-esque baby strollers.

  • edub

    I want to add to this list:

    NO: red, purple, green, blue drinks in the plastic barrels, sunflower seeds, or flaming hot cheetos.

    Keep your music in your personal playing device to YOURSELF.

    Don’t get on the bus dancing.

    Also, I HATE mothers who have little kids in their own separate seats-especially when it’s crowded.

    NO Escalade-esque baby strollers.

  • EbonyLolita

    Anything over 4hrs I take Amtrak. I’ve had good & not so good bus trips from NY to Maryland. Chileeeee those crying kids will try the patience of a SAINT!!! WoooLawd. I pay the extra $$$ for Amtrak & at least you can switch up carts for peace of mind.

  • edub


  • Sparkle

    Yes to this post! Most of these situations also apply to public transporation in the city in general. May I also add:

    1. If you must listen to music on the bus, please put in headphones! No one else wants to listen to your 2 Chainz, Drake, Nicki Minaj playlist. No one hired youto be a D.J.

    2. Please keep your feet off the seats. This is NOT your living room.

  • Sparkle

    This post has me venting now! Lol. I also hate when cigarette smokers insist on standing right by you while waiting for the bus. Keep your lung cancer to yourself and stand somewhere else. Thanks!

  • Rae

    Great Post! Omg..this brings back soo many memories. Adding to the list:

    1. The bus seat is not a recliner..Pleasing stop smashing me with your seat..
    2. And can the bus be on time for once…lawddd (standing for days)

  • MsQuita

    If you have a family member of friend who has serious mental problems AND IS NOT ON THEIR MEDS, DO NOT put them on the bus bythemselves. They scare the children to death and majority of the adults too. SMH

  • Leonie UK

    *Spitting my water everywhere*

    @MsQuita but others will be safer by follow them for signs of danger, I sure will.

    I take the National express to visit family in the UK. But when I need a quick visit for less than a tenner, I have to take the Megabus. Fares from £2.50-£7.00 are more than a bargin. Short notice you can be more than happy with the cheap seats. Plus I always find less children on the Megabus as opposed to National Express.

  • Rosey

    I once heard an hour long phone convo on a greyhound about how this girl’s boyfriend ate her out on her period and how she beat this girl up. I’m not shy but I was scared that this ratchet chick would have beat me up if I said anything.

  • soulfullyreal

    I live in NYC and have mad friends in Philly, so i vist like once every 4-6 weeks. Love me some Megabus. Good prices, comfy seats, quick trip. It is super annoying when they run late, but other than that love it. Some chick was talking stupid loud on her phone, the driver pulled over and barked on her for being rude and inconsiderate. She shut up and he kept driving. Quite entertainening actually.

  • September”s Muse


  • binks

    I took a trip by bus from Louisiana all the way to Massachusetts by myself…NEVER again. But great tips, i would add pick the right time to sleep and always be mindful of you luggage to make sure it is being stored underneath

  • fran

    hate cisagretter smokers more than poor hygiene, loud music or feet on the seat. These mofo stink , period. They smoke onevert stop, and still stink when the get back on the bus. They should be banned from all public transportation or put in a separate section.

  • African Mami

    on her period doe?! SHiiiid. that’s nasty! PUKE!

    I live for those kinds of tales on the bus. They make my ride amazing!

  • apple

    Take Amtrak instead people are last creepier . The 30hr ride to NYC I took multiple times were fine . One time I ended up next to this granny with chicken and biscuits in her purse but another time I ended up next to this Persian man who tried to marry me, wasn’t too bad tho -_-

  • girlformerlyknownasgrace

    An IPOD or MP3 player would solve a lot of the noise issues some of you guys have while traveling lol

  • dhonesty

    i go through this non-sense mon-fri on my way to work..


    I think balling on a budget is important. I personally only shop second hand. There is not need to pay full price when you can get items at great discounts. I have ridden a bus once and it was an experience. Be sure to do your research.

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  • Carolina Lukow

    Wow! Thank you! I continuously needed to write on my site something like that. Can I include a fragment of your post to my site?

  • Sherise Alexis (@sheriseology)

    Not when you have your speakers on levels that won’t kill your hearing while everyone else is doing their darnedest to be louder.

    Oh and some sounds are just piercing. Ugh…

  • Sherise Alexis (@sheriseology)

    I had to laugh at the bag thing. It’s a bus, not a 5-star hotel. A good rule of thumb is to not bring more than you can physically move. What if a wheel breaks or you just need to move quickly? When traveling, hope for the best but prepare for the worst–every man for himself out there.

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