- Pack early. Do whatever it takes to get yourself organized before Wednesday morning so you're not rushing out the door to catch your train to your bus to your mooched ride from your younger brother. Hopefully you're packed already and not throwing sweaters and leggings into a bag while crossing your fingers that past you left a pair sweats at home the last time you were there.
- Pack light. Only bring the necessities so you don't pull a muscle toting around all your wardrobe changes. Mom and dad should have things like toothpaste and soap, so don't worry about those. You don't need four pairs of shoes. You definitely don't need three books, but bring those just in case. In case what, you ask? I don't know.
- Pack a snack. Ain't nothing worse than a hungry traveler. (read: I am the worst when I'm hungry.)
- Buy your bus ticket ahead of time and print it out at home. That way when you travel on the first and second busiest travel days of the year you'll have physical proof.
- Bundle up, in layers. The bus could be as roasty as a convection oven or the heat could be broken. You won't know until you board. If the windows are steamy, you'll be glad you have several jackets and sweaters to take off. If the windows are still frosted over, you'll be glad you have several jackets and sweaters to hunker in to. Added bonus: bundling means you have more room in your luggage for books. Second added bonus: bundling makes you appear larger, which deters would-be seatmates from trying to squeeze in next to you. Which leads me to:
- Make yourself seem both large and undesirable as a person. Who cares what the rest of the bus really thinks of you as long as they don't want to sit next to you and you get two seats to yourself. This is, of course, assuming that not everyone will have to buddy up. More likely the bus will be full to capacity, in which case:
- Make yourself seem both desirable and not crazy. You're gonna want a normal person to want to sit next to you for the next three hours. Normal attracts normal. Still,
- Headphones are your friend. You can catch up on Serial. Pretending to sleep is also an effective way to not interact with your seatmate. Or maybe read one of those three books you packed.
- Enjoy the ride. Hey, it's three hours (for me) that you (I) don't have to do housework or respond to emails--savor it! Take some time to clear your mind and let go of city life as you escape north for a few days.
I can't promise you'll have no snafus or stresses during your Thanksgiving travel, but I can promise that if you follow my tips you'll end up in Madison on Wednesday afternoon waiting patiently for my brother to pick you up. :) Happy Thanksgiving!