As an islander, I consider myself to be a bit of a ferry veteran. Growing up, the ferries were the only way to leave the place. Now that I’ve fled to the mainland, the ferries provide the only cheap passage to my family. I can’t count myself as a lover of the voyage, but I’ve learned to survive without an aneurysm. Here are a few of my tried and true ferry survival tips.
If you’re taking a car, it’s more than worth your while to make a reservation. Either way you’ll have to get there early and wait a bit, but with a reservation at least you know you’ll get on. Otherwise you may have to wait a sailing or two, which I can assure you is painfully boring.
Sit near the appropriate exit
If you’re a foot passenger, you’ll want to beeline to the passenger exit and grab a nearby seat. This isn’t as important if you have someone picking you up, but it helps a lot when you’re taking the bus. Busing from the ferry sucks enough without having to stand the whole way. Also, never sit near the arcade or any kid-designated sections.
BC Ferries has finally deigned to put in self-service stations for tickets that take debit, but everything else is cash or credit only. If you’re forced to eat ferry food, or want to grab a caffeinated beverage, it’s easiest to have some cash on hand.
Bring your own food
I cannot stress enough how much ferry food sucks. The food is completely overpriced, and will make you feel sick nine times out of ten. Eat before you go, bring a snack, or grab a coffee to tide you over.
Bring several activities
Treat yourself like a toddler on a long flight. The ride is only an hour and forty minutes, but it feels as if time actually slows when you cross the Georgia straight. Grab a book, some school work, an ipod, and maybe a movie for your laptop.
Don’t bother checking your bags
It’s kind of a waste of time. As long as your luggage is manageable, it’s not that bad to lug around the boat. If you check it you’ll have to wait airport style for it to be thrown carelessly into view.