If you get the chance to travel by bus there a lot of things to know about the bus life. The most important thing to remember is that this shared space easily becomes cluttered with everyone’s stuff. It is your home on the road, keep it clean, and be cognisant of your belongings cluttering up the space.
In a perfect world there is at least one available bunk that becomes the junk bunk. Bookbags, shopping bags, and sometimes even instruments occupy the junk bunk. If there is no junk bunk, and every bunk is full of people, this makes storing personal belongings difficult. The worst part about personal belongings inside a small space is that if you get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, you are going to have to be cautious that no ones shoes have fallen out of their bunk. Shoes in the hallway are the most dangerous aspect of using the bathroom in the middle of the night, sprained ankles become a common thing. First rule about shoes on the bus is that they should never leave your bunk. Put them between you, and the wall, not near the curtain opening.
Over the road, and even at many shows, the bus generates it’s interior power via a generator, or sometimes an inverter. The inverter takes power from the main engine and transfers it to usable interior power. This power keeps your phone charged, the TV’s on, and the internet running. It also feeds power to your appliances inside the bus, like the refrigerator. The frig can become very crowded with pizza boxes, leftovers, and just junk that doesn’t belong. Think about the stuff you want to keep as private consumption, and put your name on it, otherwise the frig purge, that happens often, will take your pasta and place it right in the garbage. ome buses are equipped with coolers for drinks like water bottles, and beer. Stocking the bus is everyone’s responsibility, ice, snacks, etc. If you have a rider that gets fulfilled by the promoter it is everyone’s responsibility to makes sure there is bus stock included, if not, it becomes everyone’s responsibility to empty the dressing rooms and stock the bus with those contents. Nothing is more discouraging the next day when you still have 8 hours to travel and no snacks. All you can do is think about how full the dressing room was when the bus departed the venue.
Shore power length is important if you want to run quiet. Running quiet means that the generator is turned off, and interior power is supplied by a 50amp (shore) plug. If you’re in a 30amp world, you’re either on a minibus or RV. The 45′ coaches everyone sees have at a minimum, one 50amp plug, some buses even have two.
Some buses are outfitted with two generators, and central air, which are located in the bays. These take up important space usually reserved for suitcases/gear.A lot of bands get a rude awakening when they come to find out the bays are not large enough or there are not enough of them to hold everyone’s suitcases and gear. Make sure to question how many open bays there are before booking a specific bus, or you will find your luggage and gear needing an additional trailer. If you get a trailer, this costs the band more for the company to pull it with their bus, as well as the driver to pull it behind the bus.
Bathroom breaks while traveling are scheduled with the driver. If you miss the chance to use the facilities during a stop, you may not soon get another chance. Everyone knows that it is downright wrong and ignorant to defecate on the bus, yet sometimes these things happen. If this happens be prepared to smell up the bus for hours, as well as pay a large fee to have it cleaned from the tank. Buses are not made for fecal matter, no matter what you may think. There are some with choppers than liquify solids, yet this still doesn’t eliminate the smell completely. A moving bus can make it difficult for some men to shoot straight, so fellas make sure you wipe the area following your relief.
If you need to go inside while the bus is stopped, let’s say, to use the bathroom, as the bus is fueling up. There are a few ways to look at this scenario. If it’s daylight, and most everyone is getting off the bus, there are plenty of people taking account of who is on/off the bus. In this case you should still stick to the laminate rule, and that rule works as such.
Let’s say you wake up overnight, everyone else is still asleep, and the bus is stopped, getting fuel, allowing the driver to stretch, etc, be sure to tell the driver, and/or LYL (leave your laminate; many times the driver will look for a laminate either on their seat or the captains seat/jump seat. This tells the driver someone is off the bus. If your laminate has a picture of you on it the back, even better. This is has been tour etiquette for quite some time. You don’t want to get left behind, it happens, and there are plenty of stories. Remember this, next time you step off the bus without leaving your laminate on the driver’s seat, or close by so they see it. If you get left behind, you have to find your own transportation to the next city/gig.