August 10


What to wear on Long bus rides

I’ve written here on what I recommend wearing on a flight (both short and long trips), but what about long bus and train rides? Would it be any different?

Your outfit choice may change depending on which countries you’re travelling to/ from. On a Eurorail or a Thalys, for example, I wouldn’t think twice about wearing what I would normally wear out to the sights. A dress? A skirt? Tank tops? Everything is fair game. The bigger and badder question is how would you dress taking these long trips in mostly developing countries?

You need to wear things that can fluctuate well with the temperature since it could go night to day, or day to night. You also won’t have access to a lot of your clothes (given your bag will be stowed away) so you need to make sure you have everything you may need with you.


  • I recommend layering up, with your last layer being a hoodie. Wear something that you would normally wear during a warm day, like a tank top or a t-shirt, and make sure to have a jacket or cardigan with you.
  • If you’re sitting next to the window during the day you’re likely going to get toasted up (unevenly) so you may even be using the hoodie as a throw over your shoulder to keep the sun off.

GrayTravelFullsize(Or you could be simple and just opt for the Travel Hoodie Pillow)




  • You’ll be seated for a good chunk of the time (especially if you’re sitting on the inside by the window) so wear something that’s not too tight that it cuts off circulation, or cuts into your skin while you sit or sit down (especially for buttons and zippers).
  • You should also have on something that still makes it easy for you to move and stretch out (or fold your legs) if needed.
  • Again, keep in mind that temperature will fluctuate throughout your trip, so you may be better off wearing something that keeps you semi-warm and can be adjusted if it gets too warm i.e. a long skirt that can be pulled up and wrapped up around your knees .
  • Lastly, you also have to consider that at some point you may need to use the bus toilet. So wear something that would help you go easily. Like a long maxi dress that isn’t too flowy (you don’t want to feel like you have a ballgown on when you’re going to the bathroom).


  • If you’re someone who refuses to take your shoes off in public, consider wearing something comfortable that still provides good circulation – like slip-ons, or a pair of sneakers that can be loosened up. Avoid the tight boots, or even pumps. Upside, if you’re going to the bathroom and the bus takes a swerve and you accidently miss the target, at least it doesn’t hit you directly in the leg.
  • If you’re the kind of person who enjoys folding your legs up to sleep, or stretching it out, I would recommend wearing something open to begin with like sandals, or flip flops. By wearing these, your feet would naturally air out throughout the whole trip and you can avoid that OMG moment that you would have when someone wears a closed shoe for a while, sweats in it, and then surprises you by taking it off. Now be careful and select a pair of sandals or flip flops with enough traction on it as when going to the bus bathroom or to one of the rest stops along the way, you may encounter very wet and slippery floors and may take a tumble if your’re not lucky. I know someone that had this happen to him, and he walked away with a fractured bone. =S Not cool if you have to continue backpacking around after.

Some things that could work – a long maxi dress with a cardigan over it, long skirt with a tank top and hoodie on top, or comfortable pair of pants with a tank and a cardigan/ scarf.



  • A pair of sunglasses would come in handy when you’re trying to sleep at night and to keep the rays at bay during the day. Keeping in mind you will have limited storage space available you may not have the luxury of packing a sleeping mask just for the night time. But avoid wearing a flashy branded one (avoid being a target)
  • Tote handbag: Bring a handbag that could fit easily under your seat, so no large duffle bags. Very few busses will actually have storage above you and even then, it may not be safe to keep your bags there. Bring a handbag big enough to stuff under the seat in front of you and stuff it up enough and you could use it as a legrest as well. Immediate ottoman – ta-da!
  • Pashmina/ Scarf: Similar to what I mentioned for your flight, you should consider bringing one with you for those emergency cold nights, or even to wrap around your face while you sleep for some privacy. Some busses also don’t come with curtains, so you could try and create your own shade using the scarf.
  • Wet-wipes and tissue paper: After a long bus ride you’re going to need some freshening up to do. Unfortunately, unlike the airplane, you typically won’t have a sink at your disposal. The next closest thing would be your wet wipes. Just use it to dab around your face and parts of your body (i.e. underarms) and it will instantly wake you up a bit.

Argentina 2010 061(What I wore on my 20 hour overnight bus ride from Buenos Aires to Puerto Madryn)

There are stereotypes that bus passengers may not be as well behaved as plane passengers and may not be as honest. Therefore even though it may not be a good feeling to be wary of your other passengers, it may still be good to be extra conscious and keep your belongings with you at all time. You could keep your most important things in your bag under the seat in front of you, or keep some of the big items tucked away in money belts or other secret locations. You should also keep an eye out at any bus stops along the way to make sure your bag doesn’t suddenly ‘disappear’. Perhaps it’ll be more discouraging (and easier for you to spot) if you carry along a brightly coloured bag.