How to Sleep on a Charter Bus: Pro Tips For Great Shuteye

So you're planning to spend several hours—or even several days—on a charter bus rental. That’s a lot of time to fill! You can use that time to marathon your favorite movies, play some bus games like Heads Up! with your fellow passengers, or maybe even get a little work done using your motorcoach’s onboard WiFi.

But you also know you’ll want to arrive at your destination feeling refreshed and ready for the fun—or if you’re heading home after a big sports tournament or corporate event, you may need to get some shut-eye to avoid post-travel exhaustion. Whether you’re planning to snooze the entire time or just catch a quick nap between stops, we’ve put together this guide to help you fall asleep while traveling.

Read on to discover how to sleep on a bus—it’s easier than you think!


sleeping on a charter bus

Pack Smart to Sleep Like a Pro

One of the best ways to ensure a restful sleep onboard a charter bus rental is by packing the right travel essentials. You could have tons of luggage storage for you in the undercarriage compartments (if you’re on a full-size charter bus, that is), or plenty of overhead bins to keep smaller personal belongings and the gear you need to drift off to sleep. The exact space will depend on the model of bus you choose! Just an FYI: anything under the bus will be inaccessible while you are driving. 

When packing for a multi-hour charter bus journey, here are a few essentials to consider:

A Neck Pillow

Charter buses come with plush seating and ample legroom—even more than a standard airplane—but you can always add more comfort with a travel-sized neck pillow. Not only will a u-shaped pillow help with neck support, it can also prevent dreaded neck pain from sleeping upright or prevent your head from bopping against a window if you’re traveling at night.

Don’t want to take up valuable in-cabin space with a big pillow? You can find a variety of compressible and inflatable options. And if a u-shaped pillow isn’t ideal for your sleeping needs, you can always pick a chin-supporting pillow to keep your head upright or opt for a wrap-around travel pillow to support your head and neck—it’s like a much more portable version of your favorite couch pillow.

Noise-Canceling Headphones or Earplugs

Let’s be honest—not every bus passenger has a knack for falling asleep while surrounded by chattering people, and even if you love being around your friends, there’s a chance they may be more talkative than you are. This is where noise-canceling headphones can come in handy.

Not only will noise-canceling headphones or earbuds help you drown out sounds from the highway and other passengers, but listening to relaxing music or an audiobook can also help induce sleep and even minimize the dreaded experience of feeling carsick. (Don’t worry—we’ve got more tips on preventing motion sickness if you're prone to it, which we’ll get into later!) 

Rather keep your ears free from devices? There’s a simpler solution for you: silicone or foam earplugs. They’re cheap, easy to find at any convenience or drug store, and perfect for drowning out any sound around you.

An Eye Mask

If you’re traveling during the day, beams of sunlight and reflections can keep you awake. Similarly, when you’re riding at night, headlights and beams from streetlamps may disturb your shut-eye. So if you aren’t in a window seat with easy access to lower a shade or curtain, an eye mask is the perfect addition to your sleeping kit to make it easier to fall asleep while you’re on the road.

A Blanket

It never hurts to be prepared, and a light blanket can be a valuable sleep aid for all types of trips. When you’re traveling to and from areas with colder weather (like Portland and Detroit!), you’ll want a blanket to stay warm and comfortable in your bus’s AC. But even if you’re traveling to a place like the sunny shores of Florida or California, keep in mind that even though most buses have climate-controlled interiors where you may even be able to adjust the airflow in your seat, the cabin can still get a bit chilly after the air conditioning runs for several hours—especially if you’re prone to getting cold easily.

How to Maximize Your Comfort on a Charter Bus

Comfortable clothing, a pillow and blanket, and noise-canceling devices can help, but there are a few more tricks you can try to get comfortable enough to fall asleep on your long bus ride.

Stay Hydrated

water bottle

Bring a reusable water bottle along with you. If you have limited space in your bag, you can always bring an empty reusable water bottle onboard and refill it at rest stops or when you get to your destination. If you’re not a big water drinker, there’s also no harm in bringing a few juice boxes or your favorite non-caffeinated bottled drinks to keep you hydrated on the road. If you're traveling with kids on a school or youth group trip, hydration is even more important! Make sure they have plenty of water or juice throughout the day.

Eat the Right Snacks

Avoid eating or drinking anything caffeinated, overly sugary, or acidic before or during your bus ride. These types of drinks and food are more likely to make you feel anxious, jittery, or sick while you’re onboard. Instead, stick to light and non-perishable snacks that are slow-digesting and won’t give you a sugar rush. A couple crowd favorites for long bus rides include things like granola bars, pretzels, and mixed nuts.

Choose the Right Seat

As a general rule, the best place to sit on a charter bus for a smooth, peaceful ride is toward the middle of the cabin. Choosing a window seat will give you something to prop your head against if you need, but you can always bring a travel pillow if an aisle seat is all that’s available.

Stretch Regularly

Although charter buses have spacious seats with armrests and extra legroom, sitting in the same position for multiple hours can make your muscles and joints stiff. Every time your driver pulls over for a rest stop, be sure to step out of the bus, walk around, and stretch. It’ll help get your blood circulating, make your body feel better overall, and you’ll feel refreshed once you get back in your seat.

Need to Take a Sleep Aid?

Tried all the tips above, but still finding it hard to fall asleep? You might want to consider taking a sleep aid to help induce drowsiness before your ride. Popular over-the-counter sleep aid options include Zzzquil, melatonin supplements, and Dramamine—especially if you find that you get motion sick when traveling in vehicles. Just be sure you chat with your healthcare provider before consuming any over-the-counter medication, so you know what’s right for you.

Now You’re Ready for a Comfy Trip with Price4Limo

Now that you know all about how to sleep on a charter bus, it’s time to get ready for your trip! Price4Limo provides group transportation solutions for any occasion. From weddings and family reunions to company retreats, sports tournaments, and school field trips—there’s no limit to the events we service. When you call us at 1-866-265-5479 to book your next group trip, you can expect the highest quality service, quick online rates, and a ride plan tailored specifically to you.