What you should know about bus travel in Bosnia and Herzegovina

What you should know about bus travel in Bosnia and Herzegovina

“Your ticket,” he was blurting out his words at me. Again? I just gave him my ticket. What receipt should I put into my taxes folder if the Bosnian bus driver took that one as well? He just looked at me with daggers in his eyes. He was a no nonsense man.

Just before that I tried arguing my case for keeping my rucksack between my legs. I had always done so. Never was it a problem. It had all my valuables in it, so I wasn’t gonna give it up without a fight. He didn’t care. He probably didn’t speak English. But it didn’t matter. “Luggage!,” he yelled one more time. It sounded final. I didn’t want to be left behind.

Grumbling, I lowered my bags on the floor and took out my electronics. Well, that certainly took away just as much space. I quickly hid them in a shoulder bag before he could see and protest. I had to be quick. Once somehow had broken my laptop thanks to rough handling of my bags. Under my watch this wasn’t happening again.

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What you should know about bus travel in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Hidden Fees and Good-to-Knows

“Two Marks,” he demanded with an outstretched hand. You had to pay to store your luggage in the bus trunk. Well, that made sense now. It was about money (and probably safety too to some extent). Thankfully someone had warned me about it a day before so I stopped myself at spending it on cake at the bakery. I was still hungry. But I was on the bus at least.

Another traveller ran into trouble as well. He wasn’t allowed to board. His ticket was not printed. Never mind that his iPad showed the digital version. He was left standing there. The bus driver just ignored him. No meant no. Somehow he managed to get on the bus.

I saw him running towards the ticket counter. They might have taken pity and filled one out for him. When I bought my bus ticket, it was filled out by hand on print through paper and I had to show my passport. Luckily, I was able to pay either by cash or card. The luggage fee was only in cash. Better to have it exact.

What you should know about bus travel in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Know This When Doing Bus Travel in Bosnia and Herzegovina

    Know This When Doing Bus Travel in Bosnia and Herzegovina

  • Better buy your bus ticket directly at the bus station (cash preferred)
  • Prices do not change if you buy on the day or in advance
  • Ask for the bus platform when you buy the ticket
  • Be on time, the bus doesn’t wait for you (it might be late though)
  • Have 2 Bosnian Marks ready for luggage storage (keep your valuables on you)
  • Have the ticket ready when you hand over your luggage and again after boarding
  • There will be occasional toilet breaks (usually you have to pay 1 Mark for using the toilet)
  • For bus travel between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia, you can check www.croatiabus.com for current times and prices (you will have to hand over your passport at the border, the bus will drive a bit – don’t freak out – but you will get it back right after that)
  • If you’re crossing borders, schedule in extra time because usually there will be queue the hold up (on my way from Mostar to Dubrovnik, we crossed borders three times, resulting in an hour delay)
  • If there is WiFi on board, it will stop at the border
  • If you shop between the borders, for instance in Neum, check what currency is written on the shelves (I thought it was surprisingly cheap until I realised at the till that it was all written in Bosnian Mark and not Croatian Kuna)
  • There are no trains in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Shop Comfort Essentials for your Bus Travel in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Do you usually travel with public transport? Would you try bus travel in Bosnia and Herzegovina?

What you should know about bus travel in Bosnia and Herzegovina

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    • Tamara
    • 10/04/2018

    I’m so sorry you had such rude experience with that driver! They certainly can be pretty unprofessional. I often go from Zagreb to my hometown in Bosnia with CroatiaBus, and sometimes some driver would ask a foreigner for a ticket but on the Croatian language. And the other person would just look confused and say “Excuse me?” but the driver would keep talking on Croatian. It’s like they’re joking with the person on purpose.

    When it comes to tickets, when everyone gets in the bus one of the drivers just rips one piece of your ticket, you keep the rest. I don’t know why they took the whole thing in your case.
    Suitcases and big bags go into the bus trunk. Maybe your rucksack was too big? Like a hiking size? I always carry a backpack with snacks, water, a book, electronics, passport.. And I usually put it in the storage that comes above your head so I have more room, but you can put your passport, phone or whatever in the little storage that’s in front of you. Be it a handbag or a backpack, they have no right to take that from you. I’m not sure if this is a reason but I think I heard them say once that the police on the crossing borders does not allow big- anything in the bus where the seats are. So maybe if drivers think your bag might propose a problem later they want to put it down in the trunk. They probably didn’t have the English knowledge to explain that to you haha

    Oh and yes, if you buy the ticket online you need to bring it to the bus station and they give you the actual ticket after they type your ticket number or your name in the computer. And you need to come to the station an hour earlier for this, for some reason, but at least you won’t be late for your bus afterwards

    1. Reply

      Hi Tamara, yeah that’s the impression I got. Thanks for your input on this. I’ve only had this one experience so it’s good to hear your take as well. And my backpack was a daypack, not a giant backpacker backpack. Not sure if it was just a grumpy dude that day. In Germany, however, bags aren’t allowed within the bus if they can’t be stored overhead as they pose a safety risk. Maybe that was it? It certainly was too big to put under the seat.

  1. Reply

    Thanks for the tips! I was thinking of heading to Bosnia to go whitewater rafting and I was hoping to take public transportation. It sounds like it will be a little difficult for me since I have a lot of equipment I will be taking. Any thoughts on more than just one bag or if there will be more luggage fees for that?

    1. Reply

      Hi Trevor, I never knew you could do whitewater rafting in Bosnia. Do you bring all your own stuff and not hire a tour? I assume you could hire a taxi for a day. Bosnia isn’t that expensive. Not sure about added luggage fees. You might have to buy an extra ticket I guess.

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