Ways to make your commute (also the library and office experience) more bearable:
For London commuting: By Bus, train, tube etc.
The world would be a better place if decent headphones were mandatory or at the very least music volume levels were capped while travelling on planes, trams, trains, tubes and the bus. I recommend Bose headphones as the ultimate splurge item. Available to buy as earbuds here or over the head design here. They look great and are comfortable to wear. These really are a five star purchase. Otherwise if you do not want to break the bank you could try Sony’s cheaper version. There are lots of varieties out there. Speak to friends or techy people in the office who can recommend and review items. The commuting world will thank you.
Try not to spill the beans. The ultimate way to wake up in the morning is to have a long shower but only second to that is a big mug of fresh coffee. If you love freshly ground coffee then Bodum has the travel mug of dreams, its travel French Press design allows ground coffee or loose leaf tea to be enjoyed on the go, available here. Starbucks also have a great selection of travel coffee mugs, available here, my favourite is the create your own tumbler. The Keep Cup is a very resilient and versatile design, available here. I recently stumbled across these mug cosy knits and fell in love with them… ok they are not an essential but make fun presents for coffee/ tea lovers alike- go for it make your mug feel smug! .
My favourite coffee pick up line as a freebie here and might come in useful if you see the perfect hottie on your commute “so I’ve Been thinking about you a latte…” or it could come across extremely creepy and you will need your new trainers (see next section) to sprint away.
Do not run out of juice, ensure you have a portable phone charger with you. Anker products offer various designs. The Powercore models are my favourite because they are small in size and light in weight – the perfect addition to my handbag, available here.
Running or Walking: First rule = Save your sole.
Wear a good fitting pair of trainers. I recommend going to profeet or somewhere similar where you receive a one-to-one appointment (call before turning up to avoid disappointment). The staff are extremely knowledgeable and helpful. There are not heaps of designs to choose from; however, it is functional rather than atheistically pleasing trainers which is their aim. Your feet are measured and you are given a running assessment to see what type you should be running in to achieve the maximum comfort possible. I found out that I run over the ankle slightly and was directed to two pairs of trainers that would be suited to me. Likewise if you have a neutral run you will also be directed to the best trainers suited to your feet.
You brave souls. I am not anywhere near to being a confident London cyclist and will not pretend here that I ever cycle anything more than on a Santander bike for a jolly! However, lots of my friends cycle to work and really enjoy there commute. So I asked these daredevils what were there tips and tricks. It goes without saying please be safe and wear a helmet. A very handy commuter back pack was high up on their list. I love this small back pack from Howies that comes armed with a pack away reflective road sign rain cover.
Try something new:
Ever been tempted to purchase a Brompton? You can transform your bike into a neatly folded, easily carried package within a few seconds. Its small size means that it is welcomed on most public transport (even during peak times) and inside buildings for safe storing. Bike theft is on the rise, however you can simply take your Brompton with you. At work, home or out and about due to its compact size the Brompton is welcomed at most places and venues. You can arrange for a test ride here.
What about embracing the retro vibe and bringing back the micro scooter? Children of the 1990s/2000s will surely want to relive their childhood high here each morning before you even get to work #winning.
For poor weather commutes:
A sturdy umbrella (ella ella!) or a decent waterproof jacket. Men’s Northface waterproof jacket available here, Women’s waterproof available here. Men’s Berghaus waterproof available here. Women’s waterproof Berghaus jacket available here.
For sunny commutes (not that it happens very often in London but nevertheless):
- Water bottle; and
If you do exercise on the way into the office… on behalf of employers and fellow employees everywhere please shower, spray or at the very least dry shower.
Lastly get ‘appy with your commute:
- City Mapper: Never miss a train, bus, tube again. It plans the quickest and most rain-safe journeys. Although you will start to wish you could use the catapult option (when is that going to become a relaity guys?). Free for iPhone and Android
- Tube Map: Always an essential to make your life underground easier and less maze like. Free and available for iphone and Android.
- Tube Exits: Every minute counts if it could mean a couple more in bed before dashing to the office. This app ensures you get on the tube carriage closest to the exit when you leave the train. Iphone only. £0.69.
- Waze: One for drivers. When I used to drive especially as part of my job- a friend introduced me to this app. Waze relies on its 50 million users inputting real-time traffic and road information to tell you which roads to avoid. It also takes you on bizaree and time saving routes so get prepared to view some backstreets and alternative routes. One of the best bits is it tells you which petrol stations are the cheapest. Free for iPhone and Android
- Cycle Streets: The closest thing to satnav for bikes. Free for iPhone and Android.
- Santander cycles: You can plan your route according to your cycling ability, find the nearest docking station and set an alarm to let you know when your free cycle time is up. Free for iPhone and Android.
- Dubbledecker: A live bus arrivals app with access to real-time bus arrival times and nearby bus stops in London. Available for iPhone. (£0.69)
- Commute Greener: Plans the greenest way to get around. You can map your progress. Free for iPhone and Android.
- Uber: The go to taxi app. It lets you estimate your fare before you accept and great customer service. Free for iPhone, Windows and Android.
- Commuter: combines live travel data for UK National Rail services with Tfl London Underground, London Overground, and Docklands Light Rail (DLR), giving you realtime route monitoring across the UK. Free for iPhone.