Making Commutes Better
The U.S. Census Bureau says that the average American commutes 26.1 minutes each way to work every day. That adds up to about an hour of daily commute time. Of course, commuters in some cities find themselves behind the wheel or stuck on public transit for much longer than that. Spending a long time commuting might not be fun, but there are steps you can take to make the daily trip to and from work better. Here are 10 survival tactics and gear tips that can help any commuter make it through the day.
Take Time to Prep Your Brain for the Day
Commuting can be tiring. You might wake up feeling refreshed, but you’re exhausted when you get to work. Instead of zoning out on your commute, try finding an activity that helps you warm up for your workday. Considers crosswords, Sudoku or articles related to your industry. After work, find an activity that helps you calm down. Reading, listening to music and writing in a journal are just a few ways to wind down. If you have a long commute on public transit, be sure to choose a bag or briefcase with organizing pouches to store before- and after-work activities.
Practice Mindful Breathing
In an ideal world, you would be able to relax fully while commuting. Unfortunately, you can’t relax too much while you’re behind the wheel or on a crowded subway compartment. While you may not be able to close your eyes and zone out, you can practice mindful breathing. Try taking deep, controlled breaths when your commute becomes particularly stressful. You can find smartphone apps and blog posts that will guide you through mindful breathing exercises too. Mindful breathing is also a great tool for business travelers with flight anxiety who need to hop on a plane.
Plan Around Traffic
Crowded freeways, buses and trains are common complaints among commuters. If possible, choose to travel at less busy times of the day. For example, you might be able to leave for work before rush hour and use the time you save to get in a workout or catch up on emails. In fact, packing that extra-large bag with workout gear and hitting the gym is a great way to boost your energy and mood during the workday.
If your workplace offers flexible scheduling, consider working slightly unconventional hours to cut down on your commute time. Leaving early or staying late once or twice a week can provide the mental break you need to make it through a grueling week of commuting.
Opt for Commute-Specific Shoes
5358 USB Scansmart Laptop Backpack
Driving in tight dress shoes or standing on a bus in high heels is no fun. That’s why you should pack the work-appropriate shoes and wear something more comfortable during your commute instead. The Swissgear 5358 Scansmart backpack boasts a zippered panel that turns into a side-access shoe bag when you unzip it. With 34.1 liters of storage space, you’ll have enough space to carry a second outfit if you want to change for the commute home too. A built-in USB charging port is ready to be paired with a battery so that you can even charge your electronics while on the go.
Learn a Few New Tricks
Whether you drive or take public transit, a long commute is the perfect opportunity to learn something new. Break out your pack and load it with learning-oriented books, games and gear. Download an app that helps you learn a foreign language, read a book about a subject you know nothing about or try your hand at a craft activity such as crocheting. Learning a new skill while on the go can help make your commute seem shorter. It can also increase your overall happiness and self esteem.
Choose the Right Transit Option and the Right Bag
Swissgear 2913 Hybrid backpack
Various surveys have concluded that taking a train is more relaxing than either driving or taking a bus. Trains generally offer spacious seating and adequate room to stash your commute baggage. If you take the train to work or fly on business, consider the Swissgear 2913 Hybrid backpack that turns into a briefcase when you use its side-carry handle. There’s plenty of luggage compartment with room for work files, snacks and other essentials. An exterior side pocket boasts RFID-blocking technology to ensure that you can keep sensitive documents safe on a long commute or work trip. The TSA friendly lay-down design will help you save time as you clear security for your plane too. If the hybrid backpack does not offer enough room for your air travels, check out our carry-ons and luggage sets.
Let Commute-Related Anger Go
If you suffer from road rage or get irritated by other passengers on public transit, take a deep breath. Being angry about your commute has a negative impact on your whole day. Relaxing music or a humorous audio book might be just what you need to make your commute less stressful. Consider packing a small aromatherapy kit in one of the zippered pockets on your bag for stress relief on the go. If anger from commuting impacts you at work or at home, consider making an appointment with your doctor or a counselor.
Tune Out of Technology
Scrolling through your social media feeds is an easy way to fill commute time on public transit, but it can also drag you down mentally. Choose reading, drawing or playing simple games instead. Taking a break from all the technology allows you time to reflect. It can also help you avoid drama or debates on social media. Putting down your device and letting your mind rest is especially important if you get a lot of screen time at work. Be sure that you’ve packed a book, craft or other activity in your briefcase before you leave home for the day. Having something else to do will help you resist the temptations of technology.
Keep Your Gear Safe and Secure
Swissgear 2700 USB Scansmart Deluxe Laptop Backpack
Whether you drive your own car to work or take public transit, keeping your belongings secure should be a top priority. If you drive, you need to make sure that your work and personal essentials stay organized and don’t shift all over your car. After all, you don’t want your lunch to spill all over the floor of your vehicle before you get to work. If you’re a commuter who prefers public transit, you want to know that your laptop and other belongings are safe in your travel laptop bag. There’s plenty of room in this commute-ready Swissgear 2700 USB Scansmart deluxe laptop backpack for everything you need. A dedicated water bottle pocket makes it easy to bring a drink with you on the go. This laptop backpack is TSA friendly and features a USB port that can be paired with a battery for on-the-go charging too.
Try a Different Route
When life as a commuter gets boring, try switching up the route you take to work. A simple change in routine can make a big difference in commute happiness. Science suggests that changing your routine can actually benefit your brain. Changing your route even once a week can help alleviate commute woes. If you take public transit and don’t have alternate route options, sit in a different train car or area of the bus every day to keep things fresh.