Tips for bus travel in times of Covid-19

Tourism has been one of the sectors most affected by the coronavirus and recreational travel has taken a back seat. Now that travel in Latin America is normalizing, after a reduction in daily contagion cases, many people wonder: How can I travel in the middle of a pandemic?

In this blog we share with you some of the recommendations that we were able to collect from international Institutes and Control Centers that published various guides and suggestions for taking bus trips during the pandemic.

General recommendations

First we will talk a little about the general recommendations and measures that are maintained to avoid contagion in any situation. These are rigorous hygiene habits that have been shown to help prevent the spread of the virus.

One of the main recommendations is to use a mask at all times while you are away from home. There are different types of masks, the most effective is called N95, which filters 95% of airborne particles; It is also recommended to use surgical masks, which are quite effective and finally, if you wear a fabric mask, it is recommended that it be made of at least two layers of fabric.

Another important recommendation is frequent hand washing, this is effective since the virus is covered by a protective layer of fat; when we wash our hands we remove that protective layer of fat and the virus dies. It is also advisable to have a gel hand sanitizer, wet towels or a spray with a 70% alcohol solution with you for when you cannot access a sink.

You should also avoid touching your eyes, mouth or nose when you are in the street. If you need to cough or sneeze, it is important to do so by covering your mouth with the inside of your elbow, in this way you avoid the spread of particles in the air and these remain in an area with which you usually have little contact.

Finally, we recommend that you avoid the affective greeting with people, say hello from afar, avoiding contact with either cheeks or hands. An alternative that is frequently seen is the salute with the elbow or perhaps with the feet, but a simple gesture of the hand is enough. Likewise, you must maintain a distance of 2 meters with other people.

Recommendations for bus travel

Transportation companies are taking their own prevention measures governed by the authorities now that some of their services have been enabled. In general, they are making the trip with a reduced capacity; buses travel at 50 to 60% of their total capacity. They are cleaned and disinfected completely after each trip and the bus staff must wear a mask as a requirement.

Bus desinfection in terminal

Now we will give you recommendations to travel as safely as possible by bus and avoid contagion as much as possible. Something very important to take into account is that zero risk does not exist, however, with these tips the risk will be considerably reduced:

Evaluate the reasons for your trip

At this time it is important to take into account the reasons why you are making the trip. Is it a vacation trip to relax? Do you feel like traveling after being locked in your house all year? Or maybe is it an important business trip? The ideal is to avoid trips made for leisure or relaxation and only travel if necessary.

Another important aspect to take into account is your health, if you have a risky disease or are among people with high risk, it is best to avoid travel. Also take into account the people who travel with you.

We know that you are tired of seeing the same street every day and now that some trips have been enabled you are surely looking to take advantage of this and travel to get out of the ordinary. We recommend you to do tourism within your city, we are sure that there are several places that you still have to visit. If you really want to travel, find a place nearby.

Choose a safe destination

You must be adequately informed about the epidemiological situation of the destination, as well as the entry restrictions. The more cases of COVID-19 there are at the destination, the greater the likelihood of becoming infected while traveling and spreading the virus to others upon return. On the World Health Organization website you can see the Dashboard with the destination’s situation in relation to COVID-19. We recommend you check the countries that are going through a new wave of infections and avoid traveling there.

Avoid traveling to places where you have to make many stops or stops. It is preferable to travel to destinations close to your city and avoid moving to far away places. Once at your destination, we recommend doing activities that are outdoors and avoiding closed places with several people.

Make the purchase of your tickets safely

Once you have decided your destination, it is time to buy the tickets. To avoid crowds and physical contact for money exchange, we recommend buying your tickets online. In the Tickets Bolivia portal you can purchase tickets with a credit or debit card, through PayPal or by bank deposit. In this way you avoid direct contact with people.

It is also important to choose the time of travel. It is advisable to avoid traveling in peak hours such as early in the morning or late at night, where many people decide to make the trip. You can wait a couple of hours and make the trip to avoid contact with more people.

At the time of travel

The time to travel has come, you must take into account all the general recommendations that we gave you in the first instance such as the use of a mask and you can also use a face shield to take better care of yourself during the trip. Do not forget to wash your hands before and after entering the bus.

Try to travel in the window and open it a little during the trip. This allows constant air circulation within the bus. Finally, we advise you to make the trip with gloves; in this way you avoid contact with the surfaces inside the bus. Once you wash your hands before boarding the bus, you can put on your gloves and take them off at the destination to re-disinfect or wash your hands.

We hope that these tips have been of great help to you and that you take them into account when making your bus trips. Do not forget to take care of yourself at all times and be ready to travel in any situation.

Top 4 reasons to travel Bolivia by bus

As air travel is expensive for most bolivians, and trains do not reach most destinations, bus travel is essential for the transportation of passengers and products in this country. In fact, bus travel is the most common form of public transportation in Bolivia and in South America, both for short-distance and long-distance travel.

paisaje altiplano
Bolivian Altiplano (www.panoramio.com)  

South America is a region of contrasts, and road conditions, too, vary between countries and regions, and even within a country. In Bolivia there are roads that are paved and in good condition, and others that, due to the landscapes they cross, are subject to landslides or flooding, and are more difficult to maintain, especially during rain season (December-February).  

Just as road conditions vary, so does the quality of bus services, depending on the destination to which you are traveling. The more popular destinations tend to have better buses; more remote or less “touristy” destinations may not have very good quality buses to take you there.

All things considered, traveling by bus is one of the most affordable ways to get around Bolivia, and it offers the view of landscapes and cultural experience that you would otherwise miss. So here are our top 4 reasons for traveling through Bolivia by bus:

rio

1. The environment

Did you know that buses have the smallest carbon footprint of all transportation services? Its true. Cars, trains and planes are all more costly to the environment than buses. One bus can replace 3 cars and spends 60% less energy per passenger mile than trains. In recent years, Bolivia has experienced a modernization of its transportation services, so the buses offered by transportation companies are every time more energy-efficient and environmentaly friendly.

2. Cost-effective

Traveling by bus is the cheapest way to get around South America in general, but this is even more so in Bolivia, where bus tickets are way cheaper than in countries like Argentina, Chile and Peru. Although bus companies raise their prices during high season, and prices can even sometimes change from one day to another according to demmand, the prices of tickets are consistently cheaper than in neighboring countries. For example, bus tickets from Uyuni (one of the hottest tourist destinations in Bolivia) to Potosi can cost around 5 dollars in a good-quality bus. So, traveling bolivia by bus helps you save cash you can spend on something else.

There’s also been a control over the prices for the main destinations in Bolivia. The ticket has a price limit stablished by the goverment for each route. Say what you want about buses, but at the end of the day, bus tickets are much cheaper than any airfare you will find and with buses, what you see is what you get; everything is included in the price you originally paid.

bus-yungas
The Old road to Los Yungas, La Paz, Bolivia

3. Scenery

Pretty simple: If you travel by bus you will see landscapes you would miss if you traveled by plane. You get to enjoy the great scenery while traveling: the incredible mountains of purple and green and pink stone on the way from La Paz to Uyuni; the Bolivian Altiplano flatlands with faraway snowcapped mountains; the valleys of Sucre; the tropical jungle you cross on the way from Cochabamba to Santa Cruz; the tropical mountain forests of the Los Yungas regions. Traveling by bus is the only way to take in many of these sights.

Unlike in airlines, a bus travel allows you to view the beauty of the countryside while traveling. When using an airplane, you will not have much of a scenery apart from the clouds that you will see all through your journey.

National Road in Bolivia with the snowy Sajama.

4. Accessibility

Bus travel is ideal for the adventurers at heart. There are so many small towns with a rich history and national parks that are just waiting to be explored and you can’t easily get to most of those by plane.

So you want to get off the beaten path? Are you interested in going places that most tourist haven’t even heard of? Then going there by bus may very well be your only choice. Air travel in Bolivia is pretty limited, and trains only reach very few destinations. But if there is a road, there is a bus. So plan your bus travels and go where (not many) have gone before!

Travel in Bolivia by bus

One way to travel economically and efficiently is by bus. In Bolivia it is one of the most common ways of transporting between cities or provinces. The buses cover practically all the tourist routes within the country and you can find departure times of your choice. Below we explain how to buy bus tickets to travel in Bolivia in a safe, relaxed and economical way.

Traveling by bus allows you to appreciate the great road landscapes that Bolivia has to offer. Also, did you know that buses have a smaller carbon footprint in transportation? a bus can replace 3 cars and uses about 60% less energy per passenger-mile than traveling by train. So you not only enjoy a rest and a walk with the best views, you also help the environment with your decision to travel by bus.

Bolivian Altiplano (www.panoramio.com)

Online

Online purchases give you the facility of being able to do them from home or wherever you are, without having to go to the terminal and buy the ticket in person, thus avoiding the crowds. Also, buying online you can do it in advance of up to a year before your trip.

You can buy bus tickets online. In the Tickets Bolivia portal you can find information about the travel options, costs and schedules available and make the direct purchase of tickets through the internet.

If you do not have a credit or debit card enabled for online purchases, you can also make the purchase through a bank deposit if you are within Bolivia. If you have any questions about the purchase to be made, you can contact the company at their contact numbers to ensure the trip and the available options.

At the terminal

Of course you can also buy tickets from the same departure terminal. This is a common way to do shopping and you should normally go to the terminal the same day of the trip and even when you are ready with your suitcases to leave and see the options you have in the terminal. Normally you cannot buy tickets days in advance at terminals in Bolivia.

Bus Terminal. La Paz, Bolivia.

The cost of the terminal tickets may be lower, but in high season the prices are usually the same as online. You can also secure a space on the bus by buying in advance.

Precautionary measures

Little by little, trips between departments and provinces within Bolivia are being enabled, and it will not take long for the borders to be opened to public transport. Given this, transport companies are taking the necessary measures to operate safely.

The buses travel with 50 to 60% of their total capacity ensuring the necessary social distancing, in addition, they are completely disinfected after each trip made. To board the bus it is mandatory to wear a mask and to have hand sanitizer with you. You can also access this disinfectant on the bus.

Bus disinfection. (APG, http://www.periodicobolivia.com.bo)

Now that the routes and services are enabled, you can travel maintaining the necessary caution and buying your tickets from home to avoid crowds and maintain the required distance.