Have I ever told you the story about my unforgettable bus experience in Europe? Well today is the day you find out about my embarrassing experience I had in Prague.
And if you’re not in the mood for a story, you can skip to the bottom of this page to find out six lessons to keep in mind for a smoother bus ride.
First let me tell you, I already missed one bus in Amsterdam on my way to Berlin, so I was determined to catch the my next bus. I was going to Vienna from Prague and if you have ever booked a flixbus or any other bus in Europe, you know the struggle of finding the right bus station. They recommend you get there 15-30 minutes before departing so you can load your luggage and get to your seat on time.
I had booked my ticket for 2pm so I decided to head to the station an hour before just ‘in case’ ya know? Soon, 2pm passed and I just thought to myself, “Busses are late all the time”. Mind you, I had no data or WiFi around so I couldn’t look up the status of the bus to see where it was located. I just sat on the curb waiting. Finally after what seemed like eternity, a.k.a fifteen long minutes, it arrived! I was the first one to load my luggage and show the attendant my bus pass. He tries to scan it and it makes a weird rejection beep noise. Then proceeds to talk to me in Czech, as a line of people form behind me. Being fluent in only English, its safe to say I had no idea what he was saying! Panicking, I quickly moved out of line so the others can board the bus. I was so confused till finally, with some clear body language and a few English words, I realized I booked my ticket for 2AM instead of 2PM *palm to the face* I couldn’t believe it!! I was so caught up in not missing my bus, I didn’t even think to double check my ticket. To be fair, it was in military time and I wasn’t super familiar with the that clock back then. But it gets better!
As I watched everyone else hop on the bus one by one, I was drowning in my embarrassment and my anxiety started to kick in. After a few deep breaths, I calmed myself down because I had experiencing missing my first bus so I knew how to handle it. After watching everyone settle into their seats from the sidewalk, the attendant came up to me and tried scanning my ticket one last time. I knew it wasn’t going to work but he wanted to try. It made the same beep noise and he looked at my upset face, feeling sorry for me, he put his fingers to his lips and whispered “Shhhhhhh” and waved me on the bus! I was SO relieved! I cheerfully hopped on the bus and claimed my seat to settle in for my 10 hour bus ride to Vienna.
It was definitely an embarrassing moment but also un unforgettable one.
After taking a couple more bus rides, I got more confident in riding the bus. Here are a few ways you can become a BUS PRO in Europe and not miss busses like me! 😉
6 tips for booking your bus ticket & becoming a bus professional
1. Always, always, ALWAYS, arrive early. This was my first lesson that I learned the hard way.
2. Please check the time on your ticket…. obviously! This should be a no brainer but you know me! You don’t need to make the same mistake.
3. Research before buying. Do an online search to compare websites and buses. A lot of the times, I was able to find a cheaper ticket just by doing a little research online. Here are six apps you need to save money in Europe.
4. Look at the cancellation policy. Flixbus has a policy where if you know you are going to miss your bus 15 minutes before your departure, you can cancel it and get a voucher to put towards another ride. Knowing the policy can save you in the long run just incase you happen to miss your bus or book it at the wrong time.
5. Facebook can be a great tool for connecting with customer service. Contacting companies through Facebook can be a quick way to communicate. I was able to get a refund within a couple hours with flixbus to book another bus ride right away.
6. Bring snacks! You never know when you might get hungry 😋