7 things you need for a better public transit commute
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I commute about three hours a day to work total by a combination of car, train, and foot. I would say it probably takes a good six months for a commute like that to become just a natural part of your routine, but there are definitely some items you can get to massively improve your time spent on public transportation (unfortunately, wings are not on this list).
1. Noise-canceling headphones
Trains, subways, and buses are loud. Sometimes eavesdropping on strangers is fun, but most days, I just want to pretend I’m anywhere but sitting on public transit. A good pair of noise-canceling headphones lets you escape your surroundings a bit and really sink into some good music (or even a Podcast). My favorite kind of headphones are Bluetooth—no worrying about wires—and hook onto your ears so that when you and a million other people are bumbling to get off the train, there’s no risk of them falling out of your ears.
2. Portable charger
Sometimes, I remember to charge my phone at work during the day, but more often than not, I don’t. Rather than end up on the train ride home staring out the dark window, longing for my episodes of ‘The Vampire Diaries‘ downloaded from Netflix, a portable charger in my bag can save the day. Just charge it overnight at home when you charge your phone, remember to take it with you (that’s key), and then it’ll be there waiting for you at the end of the day. This one is thin enough to fit in a tiny purse for concerts, too.
3. Anti-bacterial wipes/gel/spray
I know they’ve done studies that have shown that subway handles are just as dirty as toilet seats (or something to that effect). I don’t even want to think about it. So I do two things: I keep a little bottle of anti-bacterial gel in my bag in case I want to eat something on the train, and I keep a thing of wipes at my desk so I can clean off my phone once I get to the office. Wipes with hydrogen peroxide are the kind they use at hospitals, so that’s the kind I want.
4. Insulated water bottle
I know I can’t be alone when I say I hate office coffee. Not only is it lousy, but it also takes ages for our single-serve machine to brew a cup, and there’s always a line 20 deep by the time I get there. That’s why a water bottle that can keep beverages hot for 18 hours changed my life. I can brew my own coffee at home, pour it into this bottle, and it’s still as hot as it was when I first brewed it by the time I get to my desk. It also doesn’t spill a drop when I toss it inside my purse and then toss my purse on the train seat.
5. A phone/tablet kickstand
If you’re fortunate enough to be on a train or a bus with a table or tray in front of your seat, you can basically use your noise-canceling headphones to create your very own public transit theater. Stick a kickstand on the back of your phone or tablet case, and then prop that baby up on the table/tray. You’ll be able to sit back, relax, and pretend you’re on your couch at home watching your favorite Netflix show. Or even just use your free hands to eat your breakfast.
6. Digital magazine subscriptions
There are loads of advantages of digital magazines over physical ones: first and foremost, when it comes to commuting, you don’t have to stick a physical magazine in your bag (the September issue of Vogue is like carrying around a Bible). You can also have access to an entire library of magazines rather than just the one you can carry, plus you don’t have to wait for it to arrive in the mail.
7. Small umbrella with case
Even if you do manage to remember your umbrella on a day it’s supposed to rain, when you get onto the bus and your umbrella is soaking wet, what do you do then? Low and behold, umbrella’s with little cases exist, so you can fold up your wet umbrella and seal it off. Then you chuck the whole thing in your purse and the wetness is safely contained.