I'm a 23 yr old Aussie travelling to SA in November. My main form of transport will be by bus, but I'm curious to know whether or not or how far i need to book in advance for seats. Obviously i would rather not book too far ahead as I want to keep my options open. How possible is it to 1/2 days before or on the day? Interested to hear others experiences on the matter.
As far as Peru is concerned, there is no need to book in advance more than one or two days. Sometimes you can simply go to busterminal and take the next bus. November and following months are low season. And you need only one seat. Avoid travelling on December 24, 25 and December 31, January 1. Then it will be very crowded. As from December 24, midday until December 25 end of day, hardly any buses will be running. Apart from these obviously difficult short periods, there is no reason to worry about this.
It will vary depending on where you are and where you are going. In most places you can book a day or two ahead with the exception of long weekends, holidays, and high season to certain destinations. High season going to somewhere like Cusco is in the winter but not, for instance, in Chile and Argentina when it is the summer.
In Peru generally there is no need to book with exception to the days Hendrik mentioned above, I did have problems when booking long journeys and wanted to travel in the 1st class area, they generally have occupancy of 10 people so its not a bad idea to book your ticket a day or 2 before, On that matter t is worth the extra to book 1st class for long journeys, that extra bit of comfort means you arrive fresh rather than frazzled and the cost of these tickets are still affordable, ex Mancora-Lima is 16-18 hours and cost 110 soles ($35)US, Happy travels
I have never booked more than a day advanced and have never had a problem. Most of the time I don´t book an advanced because sometimes it is hard to tell when you want to leave. The only downfall to that is that sometimes you have to wait in the bus station for three to four hours, but its better then missing a bus completly because you had other plans.
We are currently in S.America and like everyone has said it depends where you’re travelling in between, space isn’t usually a problem, the only time it was a bit tight for us was when we got the last 2 cama seats between Buenos Aires and Santa Cruz. But that was very much due to the fact that there were only 15 seats total on the only bus going that way that day! Apart from that we sometimes book the day before, particularly if it’s a long journey and we want good seats. However tomorrow for example, we are travelling between Puno and Arequipa and we’re just going to turn up at the bus station as there is a bus every hour! It’s really pretty easy and worse comes to the worse and you can’t get a bus, you can just book a ticket for the next day and spend another night in the hostel. Not ideal obviously, if you’re planning on leaving but to be honest you will def lose a day here and there throughout your trip due to bus schedules, laziness and traveller’s belly! (currently overstaying in Puno due to my husband being attacked by the 3rd one!) Safe travels.