Frequently Asked Questions
- Do I need to be an experienced camper to travel on the Merry Green Marvel Bus? No. We like to say everyone who rides the Marvel is stepping out of their comfort zone and going to the edge of your comfort zone is where life begins! Typically a tight community of adventurers quickly forms and we support each other to try things you may have never experienced before. Whether it's taking on a challenging hike or sleeping in a tent or under the stars or even experiencing out of the city woods and darkness or maybe learning new cooking skills the Marvel calls you to stretch yourself and grow!
- Does the Merry Green Marvel have a toilet? Yes. The bus has the standard issue bus toilet. We also aim to stop for passenger breaks about every 2-3 hours for folks to have a bathroom break and stretch.
- I need some personal privacy, especially where I sleep. It seems like the bus layout doesn't provide much privacy. How do I get privacy? Once aboard the bus it is close quarters. Privacy is not what the Merry Green Marvel adventure experience is about. Having said that there are ways to check out while the bus is rolling by sitting in the back corner of the bus where we have a bench seat and a desk; what we call the poet's corner. There are also eight overhead bunks where passengers can climb up to get a nap and some "just me" time. When the bus is not doing a night drive and we've pulled into a campsite then passengers can opt to sleep on the bus or set up their own tent or use on of ours if you request it before the trip.
- Can I charge my phone or other device on the bus? We have 12 USB charging ports on the bus available to passengers that work only when the bus is running. We strongly recommend you use your phone minimally and power it down or use airplane mode to save battery power. Passengers often bring back up battery packs as well.
- Does the bus have water? Yes there is a 4.5 gallon water dispenser inside the bus to fill your water bottle. We also have 60 gallon water capacity in the kitchen storage bay of the bus for cooking, cleaning and drinking. Please bring your own water bottle that you can continue to refill through out your trip.
- Can I bring a carry on bag? Yes. You may bring a small carry on bag, such as a day pack on board the bus with you for things you need easy access to. For your larger bag we recommend the larger hiking back packs or duffel size bags which are stored under the bus and can be accessed when we park the bus to camp or other needed times. Think minimal when you pack and try to get everything you need in luggage about the size of an airline carry on bag. We will run out of storage room if passengers bring large suitcases or bags. Once your trip is determined we'll send you and your group a what to bring list. The idea is to get what you need from your big bag before morning departure to make it through the day so we don't need to be slowed by going through bags at stops through the day.
- What should I bring for bedding? Light weight, easily packed sleeping bags are essential for your trip. Be mindful of the weather to know how well insulated your sleeping bag should be. If you don't have a bag or don't want to carry it with you to get to the bus you can also rent a sleeping bag from us for $10/trip.
- Do I need to bring a sleeping pad or blow up mattress? No. The bus has upholstered foam cushions that make up the seating and night time sleeping space of the bus. These cushions can be carried off the bus into tents at night or if it promises to be a clear night with few bugs campers also opt to sleep out under the stars like a cowboy!
- Can I take a shower everyday? Sometimes. There are no showers on the bus. Most of our service trips have arrangements for showers everyday such as at our campground. Adventure trips try to access daily showers but for a number of reasons you may need need to skip a day or enjoy a no soap swim in a lake or river.
- Can I bring alcohol on the bus? The Merry Green Marvel follows all prevailing laws concerning the consumption of alcohol (which vary from location to location). The ground rules for drinking alcohol are usually established before each trip according to the group's needs/discretion. Many of our trips are with students and there is usually an abstinence contract for the duration of the trip signed by each student prior to the trip according to their school guidelines. It is sometimes legal to drink alcohol on the bus, and usually okay to drink alcohol at camp. Please check with your driver for rules regarding any particular location and respect your fellow passengers by consuming alcohol in moderate amounts.
- Can the bus accommodate special dietary concerns? Food storage is limited on the bus. We normally carry enough of a variety of food options to sufficiently accommodate many food allergies or preferences, but because of the amount of orchestration that is involved in creating a meal plan for bus load of folks, the availability of certain items, the cooking facilities that we carry, etc, we cannot guarantee that your needs/preferences will be met. However if we know your food needs/restrictions well in advance, before the trip, we can better accommodate your needs. As our tastes may be different from yours, if you have food allergies or preferences you may find it more comforting to bring along your preferred food items (like non-wheat breads, specialty pastas or cereals, dairy-free cheese, vegan "meats") just in case. During our meal preparation we will be busily coordinating a delicious, healthy meal for up to 40 people and while we strive to please everybody, it may be difficult for us to recall specific needs and cater to individualized menus. At each meal you get to pick and choose what ingredients to include when you prepare it - to ensure this and to avoid cross contamination of foods that you do not want to eat, you must be present and participate at every meal during preparation.
- What's the philosophy behind Merry Green low budget travel?
To be clear we are not a hotel-a-day, never-leave-the-pavement type bus tour. We strive to create an affordable travel experience that creates community, camaraderie, and compassion.
- Are masquerades and costume bags a regular part of the Merry Green Marvel experience? Absolutely! The service work we do and the adventure challenges we take on can be hard core. It's important to bring some levity to our earnest conviction to build a better world. We strive for the right mix between serious, hard work and letting loose and laughing at ourselves and the world we live in. A merry band of seekers we are!
- Is The Merry Green Marvel just for young folk? Only if you let it be! I've been involved guiding and bus driving for years. I've seen women and men in their seventies hike down to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and back up again. On the other end of the spectrum I've hiked up to a dome top in Yosemite National Park with five year old children. The commonality is they were prepared and knew what they were getting into. Some of the most memorable and magical trips I've seen were the group chemistry that comes from an inter-generational group. It's why I encourage family reunions with a service or adventure theme as well as elders forming a group that is moved to respond to the call of service and adventure.
- Do we have to stay on the bus at night? The bus is the soul of the Merry Green Marvel experience, however we recognize that the notion of sleeping on a bus or in a tent can be too much of a stretch for folks to do day after day especially for a week or more trip. We are happy to discuss with you options on any trip that might involve dormitories, camp cabins, friends you know along the way, hostels, motels, AirBnB, etc