Coach at Skopje Bus StationUnless you have your own transport, the easiest way to travel Eastern Europe is by bus.

I’ve just returned from a bus trip around Eastern Europe and here here are my tips to make your journey more comfortable.
  • Buy your ticket at the station a day or two before you leave to avoid any delays and make sure you get a seat. Online tickets are not accepted and will either need to be printed out, or exchanged for a paper ticket at the station.The bus won’t wait if you don’t have a printed ticket, so make sure you have this well in advance of your journey, in case there is a queue or the ticket office is closed.
  • Arrive 30 minutes early – buses tend to to leave on time and they will close the luggage compartment a few minutes before leaving. There’s also a chance you won’t get a seat if you don’t arrive early and claim your spot.
  • Bring some spare change to use the toilets at the bus station before you leave. Most buses don’t have working toilets on board, so you should also avoid drinking a lot during the journey as you will need to wait until the stops to use the toilets and these might only be every 3 hours.
  • You may need to pay a small fee to enter the bus platforms to catch the bus in some countries (like Macedonia), so bring some change with you.
  • Bring toilet paper as the toilet stop may not provide this, especially if they are free.
  • Bring snacks for your journey, so you don’t need to rely on what’s available at the stops. You also might get delayed by a few hours at the border crossings, so its good to be prepared.
  • Bring a travel pillow.
  • Most bus tickets have seat numbers, so if someone asks you to move, ask them to help you find your own seat number on your ticket. Usually people sit wherever they like, but in some cases people may want to sit in their allocated seats, especially if they’re travelling in a group and the bus is busy.
  • Use omio.com or getbybus.com to find out when the buses go in advance of arriving at the station, or find out on travel forums for an idea of bus times and the cost before you arrive, so you know what to ask for at the station. If you screenshot the bus details that you want to book this can help alleviate communication issues, especially in smaller towns.
  • Ask a local which bus station number to catch your bus from (it should have this on your ticket).
  • Once I had my ticket I’d let my next accommodation know my expected arrival via booking.com, which was great for morning arrivals, as it meant I could check in straight away.

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