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5 Things to Talk About When You’ve Run Out of Things to Talk About

Committing to traveling with your partner long term means you’ll more than likely spend 24 hours hours a day with them more days than not. With the immense amount of time being spent together, comes the opportunity to get to know each other on an even deeper level than you did while you lived at home. You’ll get to know each other’s odd pet peeves, tendencies with money, and how you each cope with stressful situations. The less eventful days of travel, however, can leave the two of you with either lots of engaging conversations or lots of empty silence. If you think you’ve run out of every topic you can possibly discuss together, here are some ideas of things to talk about when you’ve run out of things to talk about.

1. A memory you’ve had together

It’s always a good idea to reflect on how far the two of you have come and happy times you’ve shared in the past. This is especially effective at generating new conversation after being briefly annoyed at one another. Having moments of aggravation with each other will happen – its inevitable, so the best weapon in your arsenal of reminders why you are freely choosing to travel and spend your life with this person, is your collection of happy memories. Good memories bring smiles, and smiles mean its the end of your minor spiff. You’ll be on good terms again and continue traveling in good spirits together.

2. A goal for yourself

Perhaps traveling has made you realize you have a passion or desire to do something that you didn’t realize previously. Or maybe deep down inside you’ve always thought about something you wanted to accomplish, but never did. If you haven’t already shared this goal with your partner, an otherwise silent bus ride, hike, or long layover might be the perfect time to tell them. It will get the two of you talking about each other’s goals and have the chance to encourage each other and figure out what it will take to make the goal into a reality. Maybe you can even talk about how each of you will help one another accomplish each other’s goals. You are a team, so when you help each other accomplish goals, the payoff will be sweet for both of you.

3. A childhood memory

Assuming you haven’t known your partner throughout your whole adolescent life, you probably have plenty of random memories that can spark into fun conversations. They don’t have to be life-altering occurrences of your past, just a memory or story you can think of that your partner hasn’t already heard. Chances are, this will spark a memory in your partner also and the two of you can relate or compare these flashbacks and get to know even more about each other than you already do, based on simple memories of your childhood.

4. A hope or wish for the future

Don’t limit yourself to topics of conversation that just affect you or your relationship. This conversation starter can be bigger than that. It can include something you hope for your family, your country, or even the world. Do you hope your cousin gets into medical school? Do you hope the next election will warrant different results? Do you wish someday we can accomplish world peace, cure cancer, and alleviate world hunger? Conversations like these will broaden your horizons about what is really important to each other in the grand scheme of life.

5. Current events

Since these are always, for lack of a better word – current – there is always something new to discuss. If you keep up with the world via online newspapers or social media then you know there is a wealth of information crossing our brains on the daily, constantly changing. If you read something interesting or saw a video about a place you haven’t heard of, tell your partner about it. If you really are a suitable pair, you probably find the same things interesting. And since you’re traveling, it’s a good idea to keep up with what is happening at home and around the world in your future travel destinations.

 

Still need help with coming up with ideas of things to talk about while traveling with your partner? Let us know in the comments!


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Couple Travel



 

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Cartagena Packing List

Heading to Cartagena, Colombia soon? (You’re gonna have so much fun!) Here’s 5 things you’ll want to pack for your trip!

>This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click one of the product links, we’ll receive compensation, which will help us keep producing our content. For more information, please see our Disclosure page.

  1. Mosquito Net and/or Mosquito Repellant
Yes those little buggers are everywhere! Especially at night. You’ll want to protect yourself from their annoyingly itchy bites by bringing along a mosquito net and/or mosquito repellant. We stayed in an Airbnb without air conditioning which forced us to sleep with the windows open at night. We quickly realized this meant we would be free game for the thirsty mosquitos all night long. This might be the same case if you’re staying in a hostel in the area. Protect yourself by bringing a mosquito net that can be hung up in a multitude of ways, like the one we brought. Even if you won’t be needing a mosquito net at night, at the very least you’ll want to get some repellant. We like wearing the NEOR 100% All Natural Mosquito Repellant bracelets because they’re easier to pack in your bag than an aerosol mosquito spray and it’s not full of chemicals and a nasty smell. It’s easy enough to throw on the bracelet whenever you head outside to keep the mosquitos at bay. You’ll thank us later.

 

2. Quick Dry Travel Towel

The purpose of the quick dry travel towel is two fold. One, there are lots and lots of beaches in Cartagena! There’s a few on mainland Colombia and also tons of islands. If you’re heading to the beach, you’ll need a towel to dry off. But who wants to lug a heavy wet towel home after a day of fun? Ta-da…that’s where the quick dry towel comes in. It’s lightweight, it dries you off quickly and then it dries quickly too. Perfect for a day at Bocagrande or Islas del Rosario! And the second purpose of the quick dry towel is to discreetly wipe away the sweat that you will accumulate while exploring the city. It is incredibly hot and humid there, so it’s best to come prepared for the worst by bringing along a towel to keep the dripping sweat to a minimum.

3. Pocket Hand Wash

These handy dandy pocket hand wash leaves were probably made with Colombia in mind. Why, you ask? Well lots of bathrooms in Colombia are very, very basic. And by that I mean, some don’t have soap, toilet paper, or even toilet seats (especially in the more rural areas farther from the city). But at the end of the day, you still gotta go! And to keep your hygiene on the up and up, you’ll have to think ahead. Come prepared no matter where you are headed by packing some toilet paper and pocket hand wash in your day pack. You’ll be glad you did.

 

4. Comfy Sandals

If you’ll be doing a lot of walking outside, best get yourself a pair of sandals that won’t make you want to chop your feet off by the end of the day. Regular tennis shoes with socks will leave your feet hot and sweaty, and cute sandals or flip flops will leave you in pain after walking for barely an hour. The perfect medium to fix both these issues is a sporty sandal that will let you air out and give your foot more support than a flip flop will. We have found Tevas to be our comfy sandal of choice and the two models below are the exact shoes we are traveling with right now!

 

5. Reusable Water Bottle

If you’ve done a lot of international travel, you might have realized that one of the only places where you can get free water is in the U.S. And as discussed in previous points, Cartagena is extremely hot and humid. To keep from having to buy water constantly or the alternative, getting dehydrated, bring some water with you when you head out for the day. We like to carry our LifeStraw water bottle with us. It filters the water, so we have no problem drinking tap water out of it, meaning we save money and plastic from not having to buy disposable water bottles everyday!

 

⇒ Still planning your trip to Colombia?! Check out our list of 15 Things NOT to Miss While in Colombia (& What They Cost)


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Cartagena, Colombia


 
 

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How to Stay Organized While Traveling

Staying organized while traveling can prove to be quite a chore if you aren’t prepared ahead of time. You’ll have to keep track of plane/train/bus tickets, accommodation bookings, tours and activities you plan to do, your passport and possibly visas, different currencies, toiletry items, and everything else you’ve packed. We’ve gathered a list of the things that have helped keep us sane while we travel long-term in hopes that you can travel [almost] stress-free too!

>This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click one of the product links, we’ll receive compensation, which will help us keep producing our content. For more information, please see our Disclosure page.

Travel Apps

The first line of defense for keeping all your travel plans in one place is of course your mobile phone! So before you go, download a couple apps to keep everything secure and  conveniently right at your finger tips. These are the apps that have made all the difference with our trip organization.

TripIt

This app is an absolute must-have of travelers of all types! Not only can you input information regarding your upcoming trips such as flights, hotels, and activities with alerts, but you can also make a password protected profile that stores all your travel document information (passport number, expiration date, etc) and travel contacts. This proves to be extremely helpful when you have to continually fill out forms with all your passport information or rattle it off to your accommodation before you check in. You can do this easily without having to pull out the physical passport itself. And if you buy the PRO version, you get even more features like flight status alerts, check-in reminders, seat tracker, point tracker, and flight refund monitoring!

Google Trips

While TripIt is really great to store all of the trip information you’ve already booked, Google Trips is really helpful at suggesting things to do and places to eat or drink in addition to saving reservation information. You can search your desired city for popular activities in the area and add them to your ‘Saved Places,’ so when you get there, you already know some of the things you are interested in doing. Of course all of this is linked to Google, and therefore by a single click you can find a description, rating, operating hours and much more information about pretty much anything worth doing in your new location. 

maps.me

This app has two major functions for us. Firstly, you can download an offline map of the country you are going to before you get there. If you’re caught in a place without any phone service or WIFI, it’s good to have the offline map easily accessible. In maps.me, you can search cities, addresses, bus stations, grocery stores, etc to find exactly what you need and it will give you directions based on what mode of transport you will be using to get there, and we’ve found it to be very accurate. And secondly, you can leave bookmarks in certain areas on the map. This is particularly helpful when parking a car somewhere or finding a place you want to eat or shop at later in the day. The bookmarks let you save the location and then get directions back to that place later!

 

Travel Wallet

This seemingly simple item has made our life while traveling about 10x easier. It holds our passports, extra visa photos, copies of IDs, yellow fever vaccine certificate, cash, credit cards, a pen, and keys. It’s basically our one stop shop for everything we need while at the airport or border crossings. We like to stress the importance of keeping your passport safe, easily accessible to you, and in a place you will always remember. You definitely would not want to lose your passport while overseas! And you will learn that having a pen with you turns out to be a huge help! You might suddenly become the most popular person on the plane if you’re the only person with a pen while filling out the declaration forms before entering a country. Here are the travel wallets that have worked so well for us while we’ve been on our Round the World trip ⇒

         

Packing Cubes

If you’ve never heard of packing cubes, they are fabric bags that zip closed and are used to compartmentalize your luggage. They come in all different shapes and sizes and therefore are great to pack your belongings in groupings that make sense to you. Some people keep whole outfits together in their packing cubes, others pack by keeping similar clothing items together, others pack haphazardly, but regardless of how they are packed, they keep the clothes all together and more compact than if you would have just put them all together in your big bag. I personally like to pack my packing cubes by keeping similar items together (all my shirts and sweaters in one, pants and shorts in another, socks and undergarments in another). This system keeps me organized because it makes it easier to pack and easier to find the thing I am looking for. These are the exact packing cubes I have in my backpack right now. And this set of 4 packing cubes also comes with an extra drawstring bag that can be used to separate the dirty clothes out from the clean ones within the packing cubes!


Toiletry Bag

Lastly, I can’t recommend a separate bag for toiletries enough. This makes it easy to grab it and head to the shower or toilet without having to look for all your toiletries spread out in various areas of your bag. The toiletry bag pictured below is the one I have taken on my trip and I love it because it has two compartments that clip in and clip out of the whole bag itself. I use one section of my toiletry bag for soaps/shampoos/conditioners, one section for my hairbrush and comb, and one section for makeup. So if I’m going to shower in a shared hostel bathroom, I just take the soap/shampoo/conditioner section with me. But if I’m going to the bathroom to get ready for the day by brushing my hair and applying a little makeup, I take those sections with me. And the whole bag is able to hang from a hook, keeping it accessible but out of the way.

 

Still need help staying organized while traveling? Let us know your questions in the comments!


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Organized While Traveling


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There’s a reason why Lonely Planet named Colombia the #2 destination you can’t afford to miss in 2017, and that is because, well, it’s a destination that you just can’t afford to miss! (Crazy logic, right?!) But in all seriousness, Colombia was one of the countries we were most looking forward to on our Round the World trip, and it lived up to our expectations, and then exceeded them. Lots of people told us not to go there or that they themselves would not go there, but what you tend to find out the more you travel, is that people like to make assumptions about places they’ve never been. So if they can’t speak about the place from first hand experience, it’s probably not worth listening to their opinion anyway. Colombia has everything a traveler could ever want and more! The country is amazingly cheap (one of the cheapest out of the 20+ countries we’re visiting in 2017!), it has an array of sceneries and climates, an interesting history, a lively culture, friendly people, and the food is to die for! We compiled a list of 15 things not to miss while in Colombia (along with their costs), so you can see for yourself why both the Happy Nomad Couple and Lonely Planet think its such a great travel destination! 

 

Cartagena

1. Walk around the Walled City

Cartagena, Colombia

Cartagena was founded by the Spanish in 1533 and was quickly made into a major port for trade. In order to protect themselves against attacks from pirates and the like, the Spanish constructed a massive colonial fortress wall around what is now known as the Walled City. Nowadays, the area is known for having been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and as the most popular tourist destination in Cartagena. The streets within the walls are sprawling with all types of shops, restaurants, and hotels. Even if you aren’t staying in one of the luxe hotels within the walls, it’s still fun to walk around to admire the brightly colored buildings, check out the view of the Caribbean Sea from the fortress walls, and maybe grab an ice cold paleta to cool you down in the process. Don’t forget to go see the famous yellow Clock Tower on the city entrance side while you’re there!

PRICE: FREE

 

2. Stroll through Bocagrande

Cartagena, Colombia

Beaches, shopping, dining, what more could you want? For a break from the chaos that is present in most areas of Cartagena, opt to spend some time in Bocagrande. The buildings are modern and the vibe is super relaxed. The beaches have umbrellas and chairs you can rent, as well as people to wait on you for drinks and/or food from nearby restaurants. The area is very safe which makes it a perfect place to get lost just walking around and admiring the beauty of the cityscape next to the sea.

PRICE: FREE

 

3. Visit an island

Cartagena, Colombia

There are so many to choose from in Cartagena, so you’d be crazy to miss out on going to just one of them! You have choices such Isla Baru, Islas del Rosarios, and Tierra Bomba among others. Each beach has something different to offer. Some offer parties and drinking with large crowds, and others offer peace and tranquility under the sun. Do you research to find out what’s the best option for you! You can sign up for a tour with a local tour office within the Walled City or you can just buy your ticket at the dock and go it alone (although the latter option is not possible for all islands). Make sure you get to the dock early though, because the seats on the boats fill up quickly, and the islands are all 30 minutes to an hour away by boat. Well worth it though for some time on the beautiful island beaches of Cartagena!

PRICE: varies, our one day trip to Isla de Pirata (part of the Islas del Rosarios) cost about $48 USD per person (included boat ride and lunch)

 

4. Check out Getsemani

Cartagena, Colombia

What was once one of Cartagena’s dodgiest neighborhood, is now becoming one of the hottest places to hang out for a night. The bright colors within the Walled City continue to this area of town as well as some super artistic street graffiti. There are lots of cool bars and restaurants here and the neighborhood absolutely comes alive at night. You can also find food carts here with long lines of people waiting for some late night grub. This is known for being one of the more authentic areas of town, staying true to its roots and not letting tourists completely take it over. So to see how the local Colombianos party, definitely spend a night checking out this up and coming neighborhood.

PRICE: FREE

 

5. Ride the local bus

This might seem like a weird thing to recommend, but once you experience the local buses yourself, you’ll see exactly why we say you can’t miss it. It’s transportation like we’ve never experienced before, although we have to warn you, it ain’t glamorous. The buses are easy to spot. Most of them are decorated with flashing lights and dangling tapestries in the interior. Look at the top of the front window to see the neighborhood(s) the bus stops at. Depending what time of day you ride, it can be cramped and hot (yup no air conditioning except for the open windows). But the cool thing is, the bus will stop wherever you tell it to. There are NO set bus stops. When you see a bus you want to hop on, flag it down, make eye contact with the bus driver, whatever it takes. And once you’re on and near your destination, yell PARE (STOP in Spanish), and the bus driver will literally stop right there. Doesn’t matter where, they will stop. It’s kinda crazy, but makes for a very efficient system for the riders, and a shorter walk to wherever they’re heading.

PRICE: $0.73 USD per person for 1 ride

 

Medellín

 6. Take a trip to Comuna Trece

Medellin, Colombia

This neighborhood definitely has a rough past rooted in drugs in violence, but its now on the up and up and makes for a little piece of history in Medellín that has to be seen. Some of the best street graffiti we’ve seen in all of South America is painted on the walls and buildings of this community. And the views of the city from the top of the hill are spectacular. It’s crazy to imagine how conflicted the area once was by criminal activity originating from none other than Pablo Escobar himself. Today in Comana Trece, you’ll find security and large escalators to take you to the top since the climb uphill is incredibly steep. You can go it alone (like we did) or purchase a tour where the history and graffiti are explained in great detail. And if you find yourself captivated by the history of this neighborhood, you can delve deeper and sign up for a Pablo Escobar tour also.

PRICE: FREE, but you can also purchase a tour

 

7. Eat a buñuelo

bunuelo photo

Photo by duto.guerra

If we had to pick the food we miss most from all of South America, it would have to be this wonderful round treat. You can find them everywhere in Medellín usually for a mere 500 Colombian pesos. They are nothing more than fried dough balls, but if you manage to get one when they are fresh and hot, they are fried dough balls from heaven. They’re cheap and easy to find, so you have no excuse not to give them a try.

PRICE: $0.17 USD each

 

8. Go to a soccer game

Medellin, Colombia

In case you didn’t already know, Colombianos are crazy about their soccer! There are two teams based in Medellín (Atlético Nacional and Deportivo Independiente Medellín) who share the same stadium. When you walk in, you’ll notice there is one section of the stadium that is absolutely decked out in team gear, waving team flags and chanting and cheering for their team nonstop! And if the home team scores a goal, be prepared for the crowd to erupt. It’s hard to not get into the spirit even if you aren’t a big soccer fan. And while you’re there, give the hometown favorite soda, Manzana Postobon, a try (they sponsor the Atlético Nacional soccer team)! The drink is apple flavored and quite addicting.

PRICE: varies, our tickets cost $8.00 USD per person

 

9. Party in El Poblado

Medellin, Colombia

This is 100% the neighborhood to be in if you want a night of letting loose, grabbing a few brews, and having fun! The neighborhood of El Poblado is bustling with people every night of the week, being that a lot of international visitors are staying in nearby hostels and hotels. There are tons of restaurants, cafés, and of course bars and clubs to suit anyone’s fancy. The best part is the random dance parties that take place around the local street performers or the bars pumping out the catchy Cuban music. You’ll definitely want to spend a night or two down in this lively area of the city.

PRICE: depends how hungry and sober you are

 

10. Take the Metro Cable to Parque Arví

Medellin, Colombia

Spent too much time in the city lately? The perfect change of pace is just a metro cable away. Parque Arví is a beautiful national park beaming with super tall trees and tons of history. The Metro Cable takes you on a ride over the hilly favelas of Medellín where you can see how the people on the outskirts of the city live from an aerial view. The last stop in the cable car brings you to the national park, whereas the other stops bring people to their high up the hill neighborhoods. Right after disembarking on the last stop, you can buy food, drinks, souvenirs, or join a guided tour for just a couple dollars per person. From there, you take off on a hike through the forest filled with a wide variety of flora and fauna or you can visit the river complete with a small waterfall and space for campsites. Parque Arví is the perfect breath of fresh air while visiting Medellín.

PRICE: Park entrance is FREE, for round trip on Metro Cable to Parque Arví is $3.63 USD per person

 

11. Check out Botero Plaza

Medellin, Colombia

You might think you’re not familiar with the artist Fernando Botero, but take a second to Google him and you might realize otherwise. You may have seen his work on the internet in the form of some popular memes before? (Click here to see what we’re talking about). Anyway, even if you’ve never heard of him or seen any of his work, we’re pretty sure the works he’s donated to this plaza will definitely entertain you. The plaza has 23 large sculptures arranged around the park that make for great photo ops. (We don’t want to show you and ruin the fun, you have to go see them yourself!) And if you’re interested, the plaza is also the home of the Museum of Antioquia.

PRICE: FREE to walk around the plaza, the museum entrance fee is $6.29 USD per person if you are not a Colombian citizen

 

Guatape

 12. Climb up La Piedra del Peñol

Guatape, Colombia

600+ steps to the top of this mountain may seem like a lot of work, but once you’ve made it to the top and see the views down below, it all suddenly seems worth it. If the views don’t motivate you, there’s also a snack shack up top. And if snacks don’t motivate you, there’s a bar up there too. One of the three should be motivating enough to get you to the top. Make sure you spend enough time up there taking pictures, eating, and drinking to justify the journey up the massive staircase.

PRICE: $6.29 USD per person

 

13. Walk the colorful streets

Guatape, Colombia

Want to visit likely one of the most colorful places you’ve ever seen? Then just walk the streets of the tiny town of Guatape. The city and its residents work together to keep the buildings bright and beautiful, as they have been for many years. As you walk around, you’ll notice lots of buildings have painted scenes on the bottom of them. These pictures represent what it is that building is used for or what the people who live inside do as an occupation. It’s super fun to walk around guessing what people’s jobs are. You’ll spot shoe cobblers, bar tenders, farmers, and lots of other things in between. And don’t miss the famous square with the ultra colorful stairs and silver fish atop them. That spot is definitely the most Instagram-able in the whole town!

PRICE: FREE

 

Salento

 14. Go on a coffee tour

Salento, Colombia

Guaranteed, your appreciation for coffee will increase at least 1000% after you learn what it takes to get your morning cup of joe brewed. Salento is smack dab in the middle of the famous Coffee Axis region of the country. Colombia’s average annual coffee production is the 3rd highest in the world overall, and number 1 in Arabica bean production. That means there’s a lot of coffee growing in them there hills. When you go on a coffee plantation tour, you’ll learn all about the trees the coffee beans grow on, the different types of beans, how to know when they are ripe to pick, how to get the bean out of the shell, how to dry them, and how they are roasted. You might even get to pick some beans and try some coffee while you’re there!

PRICE: varies, our tour with Finca Momota was $4.19 USD per person

 

15. Hike Cocora Valley

Salento, Colombia

One of the most beautiful hikes in Colombia, is located in the coffee axis region through the Andean Mountains! Down the road from a bunch of coffee plantations, you can make your way to Cocora Valley for a full day of hiking and adventure. This hike takes about 5-6 hours to complete and is fairly strenuous during some portions, but takes you full circle back to the beginning so you don’t have to double back and see the same things again. You’ll definitely want to wear some sturdy athletic shoes for this hike because it will take you up and down hill sides, over suspension bridges, and through thick vegetation. Most notably, you’ll pass by Colombia’s national tree and also the tallest palm tree in the world, the wax palm tree. It’s easy to spot because its really thin and really tall!

PRICE: $1.05 USD per person

 

Any questions about what to do in Colombia? Let us know in the comments!

 

To find out more about our time and budget in Colombia, click here!


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5 Things You NEED to Survive an Overnight Bus in South America

If you’re traveling through multiple cities in South America on a budget, chances are your travel plans at some point or another will include a long bus ride. And if you’re realllllllly on a budget (like us), your travel plans will probably include an overnight bus.

We’ve taken over a dozen buses through South America (the longest ride being 22 hours long!) and there’s a few different reasons we like taking them overnight:

  • you save $$ since you don’t need accommodations for the night
  • you don’t miss any sightseeing time during the day
  • less traffic at night = less total travel time

It’s definitely the most economical way to get around all over the continent. But in order to embark on the adventure that is an overnight bus, you’re gonna wanna be prepared. After thousands of miles traveled in overnight buses in South America, we’ve compiled a list of 5 things you need in order to survive these long journeys and make it to your next destination smoothly.

>This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on one of the product links, we’ll receive compensation, which will help us keep producing our content. For more information, please see our Disclosure page.

#1) WATER

This should go without saying, but it’s important to remember because the bus operator more than likely does not have water for you on the bus. Even if they are feeding you a meal while onboard, the drinks they serve are usually juice or soda! It’s really important to stay hydrated while traveling so you’re at the top of your game everyday exploring new places, and juice and soda just won’t cut it! Grab a bottled water at the bus station or fill up a bottle you already have before you leave (if the water if filtered/potable). We always like to keep two kinds of reusable bottles with us when we travel because it’s more economical and environmentally friendly than buying bottled water everywhere. We have this little water pouch that folds flat when it’s empty, therefore not taking up any unnecessary room or weight (both important considerations while traveling). You can grab this one or these two on Amazon for less than $15! The other water bottle we always have with us is the LifeStraw bottle. Not only is it a sleek bottle, but the integrated straw also filters and removes 99.99% of Waterborne bacteria. It’s easy to get an upset stomach when you’re drinking water that isn’t up to your normal standards, so the Lifestraw can be a lifesaver in other countries!

Platypus flat water bottle#2) SNACKS

Overnight buses can leave at all hours of the day (or night), but if you’re anything like us, snacks are always a necessity. And nothing is worse than being hungry while stuck in a moving vehicle for hours on end. Meals on overnight buses are more the exception than the rule, and you’ll probably have to be on the bus more than 16 hours to be offered a meal anyway. Sometimes the buses will stop at rest stops with restaurants or shops on the way, but it isn’t guaranteed. Before departing, we like to go to a local market or convenience store and buy some fruit, some trail mix or chips, and something sweet like cookies or candy. The latter aren’t the healthiest of options, but we try to make the long bus rides less miserable by thinking of them as road trips with our favorite snack food stocked. Snack food makes even the most awful ride a little bit better. So spring for the snacks that you’ll want to reach for when you get those hunger pangs right before you pass out asleep on the bus.

South America snacks#3) WARM CLOTHES

This is a hard lesson to learn the first time around if you aren’t prepared. These buses can get COLDDDD! Like really cold. They pump that air conditioning out no matter the weather or time of year. So if you get on a bus in shorts, a tank, and flip flops, you might get frostbite. Yes, that is how cold it is. Your best bet is to enter the bus wearing a jacket or sweater over a shirt, comfy pants, and socks with tennis shoes (let’s face it, your feet always dictate how warm you are right?!). We’ve even seen some people go as far as to bring a blanket with them on the bus. Whatever it is that will keep you warm and cozy and will help you sleep the ride away, bring/wear that. Or lose an appendage to frostbite, your choice.

#4) ENTERTAINMENT

Really nice buses offer everyone their own personal TVs in the headrest like on a nice airplane. Decent buses have a TV playing at the front for everyone to watch together (more than likely, a movie in Spanish). And the rest of the buses, have nothing at all. If the bus you’re going to be on is of the latter variety, or if watching a TV for hours on end just isn’t your thing, you’re probably going to want something else to do for the hours you aren’t sleeping. This can include a book or magazine, podcasts, games on your phone, notebook for writing, a coloring book, offline downloaded Netflix shows, etc. Basically anything that can keep you occupied that you can do while stationary and won’t need WiFi for. So if you need to download any books, podcasts, shows, etc, be prepared and make sure to do so before your bus ride!

#5) External Battery

Some buses have USB ports to charge electronics, but this is reserved for only the nicest buses. And even if you are lucky enough to come across a USB port on your bus, no guarantees it actually works (we’ve been let down many times by a USB port that didn’t offer even 1% of a charge). So if you plan to use your electronics as entertainment while on the bus, it’s a good idea to have to back-up external battery with you, so once you get to your destination, you can still use it to navigate your new city, view your reservation information, and have it on your for emergency purposes. We have this small Insignia brand external battery that is capable of charging three electronics via USB port at the same time, so we are never without our devices. Just make sure its fully charged before departing!

 

The bus systems in South America are an amazingly simple and economical way of getting from Point A to Point B, albeit taking more time than a flight normally would. As long as you come prepared for your overnight bus with all the necessities it takes to survive one, you should have an easy and enjoyable ride. And you can treat yourself to a delicious postre once arriving in your destination since you saved so much dough on your transportation 😉 

Have any questions about taking an overnight bus in South America? Let us know in the comments!


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Overnight Bus South America


Photo by Galeria de Fan Bus, difusión y prensa

*Based off overnight bus experiences in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Argentina

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