Roadtripping by Greyhound and FlixBus: What You Need to Know, Part 3 of 3

The view from the Greyhound near Benson, ArizonaThe view from the Greyhound near Benson, Arizona

In anticipation of the highly-awaited total solar eclipse of April 8, 2024, many intrepid travelers planned epic journeys to witness this celestial phenomenon. We made the journey in a way that most people probably didn’t . . .  we undertook the journey by bus. This three-part series recounts the experiences and lessons learned from an ambitious six-day adventure roadtripping by Greyhound and FlixBus from Oregon to Texas. Part 1 covered the essentials of preparing for and embarking on such a marathon bus voyage. Part 2 dove into the realities of life on the road, navigating the challenges and simple pleasures of slow travel. In this final installment, Part 3 reflects on the the practical things we learned along the way for anyone who is considering a trip like this.  

Steins, New Mexico as seen from the Greyhound window

We learned a few things.

How to Pack

For one, we learned that traveling light is really where it’s at. There was even less room than on a plane, if you can believe it. The overhead bins were narrower, and the space to cram your bags under the seat in front of you was also narrower than on a plane. There were no trays, and on most buses no pockets and no water bottle holders (to be fair, they were there, they were just either stretched out or broken so that they didn’t actually work.)

Where to Sit

We learned that it smells more like exhaust fumes if you sit in the back rear of the bus. We learned that it really doesn’t matter where you sit because you only have views out of the side windows because the seatbacks of the Greyhound buses are too high. 

High-back seats on the Greyhound.

High-back seats on the Greyhound.

Planning Ahead

If we do take a trip like this again, I would probably use the shipping option again if I could, and take with me just what I needed for the first half of the trip and then ship it back, and ship stuff out ahead of time to have at my destination for while I was there. I probably wouldn’t do a trip like this by myself, but with a companion it was fine. If I was traveling by myself, I would be very tempted to purchase another ticket so that I could keep the seat by me open for myself. There were many legs of the trip where the bus was completely filled.  Give yourself plenty of things to do like listen to music, read, watch downloaded movies or TV shows, but give yourself time to talk to your seat mates and look out the window.

The Greyhound bus stop in Odessa, Texas

The Greyhound bus stop in Odessa, Texas

Being Flexible

We learned we won’t do a trip like this again unless it is something very special or very important that we get to and that we can’t afford to get to any other way. If you do take a trip like this, the more self-contained you are the better. If you can make it through all the stops where there are no food or drinks because you brought stuff with you, you’ll be happier. At most stops, there was just nothing there. Sometimes, even filling our water bottles was a challenge because the stations weren’t open. I was probably dehydrated because I was trying to not have to get up and go to the bus bathroom unless I really had no choice. But . . .  thankfully the bathrooms we encountered along the way and on the bus were not that bad. We took wipes to clean up with and feel a little fresher. 

Stretching Your Legs

At every stop, even if you can’t get off the bus, at least stand up in the aisle and stretch your legs. Get off if you can and walk around a little to keep up some circulation.

The Greyhound bus stop in Midland, Texas

A nighttime stop at the Greyhound bus stop in Midland, Texas.

Staying Comfortable

I am always cold, so I wore comfortable leggings, socks, easy to take off shoes, and a sweater-like poncho. I also packed a light blanket, which I was very grateful for on the leg of the trip where the AC was stuck on high. We packed nuts, beef jerky, trail mix, and some other easy to eat snacks that we leaned on when we were hungry but there wasn’t anything to choose from. Bring a neck pillow and a small travel-sized pillow if you’re going to be trying to sleep. I brought an eye mask which helped a lot with trying to sleep at night. I brought noise canceling headphones but didn’t end up using them. We brought an umbrella because we thought it might rain when we had an hour in Sacramento, but it wasn’t raining and we ultimately sent the umbrella back in the UPS box. 

What Not to Bring

Don’t try to sneak on weed or alcohol. The Border Patrol would have found whatever weed you had stashed in your suitcase. It may be legal in California or elsewhere, but it is not legal in Texas. The drivers all repeatedly said that they would kick anyone off who was caught drinking either on or off the bus or in the bathrooms. We didn’t see anyone get kicked off, but I have no doubt that they would have done it.

Staying Entertained

Take books and other things to pass your time that you don’t need internet or power outlets for. Bring a portable phone charger. Even if your ticket says it comes with wifi and power outlets, you can’t expect that they will always work. 

Final Thoughts

While the 6-day Greyhound & Flixbus journey from Oregon to Texas and back for the 2024 eclipse was grueling at times, it was ultimately a rewarding adventure. Beyond witnessing the awe-inspiring total solar eclipse, the slow-paced bus travel allowed us to embrace the journey itself — soaking in vast American landscapes, meeting fellow travelers, and being reminded of the simple joys of music, books, and moments of stillness. It’s also a bit about letting go of control . . .  you are on someone else’s schedule, you stop when they stop. If you’re the kind of person who, like me, is constantly having to make decisions, it can feel like a real respite to have those responsibilities stripped away. 

The discomforts also ultimately reinforced valuable travel lessons: pack minimally, be self-sufficient, stay flexible when plans go awry, and savor even the most ordinary experiences as unique memories. Though challenging, journeys like this build resilience and appreciation for life’s simpler pleasures that can be easily overlooked in our daily routines. An epic trek like this, whether you bus it or drive it or take the train, is not just about the destination, but about embracing the full experience with an open mind and appreciation for the mere privilege of freely going from one place to another. We’re so glad we did it! We were glad to get home too, and that appreciation for being back at home in our own beds made it all the sweeter to have arrived.

. . .

Read Part 1

Read Part 2

Vanessa Salvia is an accomplished freelance writer and editor with extensive experience creating high-quality content for various mediums. Her work spans writing articles for newspapers and magazines, crafting SEO-optimized web content, and assisting authors in polishing their book manuscripts. To learn more about her services and portfolio, visit