Surviving a Coach Tour

So you’re thinking about  booking a tour to travel around your home country or beyond. Wonderful! Before you start daydreaming too hard about how you think it’s going to go, let’s get some reality out of the way first. Tours aren’t all about you. There, I said it. Deal with it. You aren’t the one planning every detail of the trip – where you are staying, what landmarks you’ll be seeing, and how you will get there. Someone else is in charge of your itinerary, so brace yourself for that fact. If you like to be in control of every aspect of your life, perhaps a tour isn’t for you. Consider traveling on your own or with a small group of friends and take a pass on the tour group full of strangers hosted by a tour company who aims to please the general consensus rather than the individual.

That being said, if you’re still on board for a guided tour, here are a few things that’ll help you get the most out of your experience and make it a positive one… not only for you, but the people around you!

Be adaptable!

Let’s think critically of what a coach tour implies… you’re going to be on a tour bus, probably sleeping overnight on it at some point, with a lot of other people. Lots of people. That’s a lot of personalities and needs to satisfy. So the more you can just take everything for the adventure it is, the better off you will be. We are all human here, so keep that in mind. Sometimes traffic dictates alternate routes, holiday crowds are overwhelming, and hotels make room assignment mistakes. It just happens. It’s not the end of the world.

The coach on the train which took us through the EuroTunnel from the UK to France!
Tight quarters, but a crazy cool experience to be riding in a train beneath the English Channel, beneath 35 meters of bedrock!

There were times when our tour was derailed for hours by the timing of trains, traffic, and legalities of driving code. We weren’t always able to see everything that was suggested we would see on the itinerary, but that’s OK! We couldn’t control everything, so we just went with the flow. And those who did, enjoyed themselves more than those who didn’t. In the end, you won’t look back on your trip and remember what you missed. You’ll remember what you saw, tasted, and experienced.

Attitude it everything!

I cannot stress this enough. Honestly, I can’t. The more positive you can keep yourself, the better time everyone is going to have. Nobody likes a Negative Nancy, so snap out of it! Focus on the opportunity you have rather than how you would have done it differently… unless the tour company is genuinely awful, don’t stress the small stuff. Think about how much work goes into planning the tour and then be grateful that all you had to do was sign up for it rather than doing any of the heavy lifting.

Make friends!

Who doesn’t like making friends? Well, on a coach tour, you’re going to be in cozy quarters so it’s best to be friendly than off-putting. Connect with your fellow travelers! It’s almost the best part! You will be spending the next “x” amount of days with these people, so have a good time and get to know them.

My tour included 57 people from all over the world. Sharing in the culture of others, having a chance to ask questions about their piece of the world, and build lifelong friendships with them. I met people from Bangladesh, Australia, New Zealand, the UK, USA, and South America. Our little clique explored the cities of Europe together, laughed, sang, ate delicious food, and created so many inside jokes that all I need to say is “banana” and I know I’m being heard. My tour around Western Europe would have been no where near as inspiring and life changing if it hadn’t been for the people I shared it with.

Always Be Prepared!

Bring a travel blanket and pillow. Heck, bring some sleeping pills if you’ll be overnighting it ever. And if you snore? Bring anti-snoring whatevers to keep your fellow passengers happy. Anytime the coach stops to refill or offer a stretch-break, pick up refreshments so you will always have a snack. Keep your electronics charged and bring a book. Seriously, the simplest things will keep you happy. You’re embarking on a roadtrip, plan accordingly.

This is what the food looks like at gas stations/truck stops in France.

Plus, when you pop into those gas stations and rest stops you just might be surprised by the quirky snacks and impulse buys you’ll find… like paprika flavored potato chips!

Heed my advice: Focus on having a good time, and guess what, you’ll actually have one. It seems common sense, but sometimes a reminder can help prepare us for what’s to come.

Now go out there and start planning your next adventure!  

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Jaymee is the creative director and writing force behind Beaux Cooper Media. She loves to collaborate with other writers and journalists across the genres. Jaymee lives on the beautiful coast of Rhode Island with her cat, Ada, and dog, Bean.

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