When I was a baby my parents didn’t have that much trouble with getting me to sleep. Apparently a simple 5 minute drive around the village was enough to get me to sleep every time. To this day I still struggle to stay awake on any kind of moving transportation (other than scary planes) for more than 2 hours. If it’s the morning, it’s more like 10 minutes…
So when I got my first summer placement job that was a good hours drive from my home I needed to make sure I was ready for the commute. I’m not a massive fan of driving really. I find it makes me quite anxious but I would rather take the hour commute than the 2 hour train journey where I will most likely fall asleep and miss my stop – oh the times that this has happened!
I thus developed a few tips and tricks to make the most of your commute. Whether thats driving, by train, bus, plane or even cycling, there are tips here to suit all!
Do you have everything for the day?
First things first, make yourself a list the night before to make sure you have everything you need for the day. I’m talking daily essentials like your phone, purse, bottle of water, tissues, your transport tickets, a planner, charger to the odd bits you may need for work or whatever it is you’re doing that day (paper, pens, equipment etc.).
A whiteboard or notice board with a list of general stuff and the specifics in two columns seems ideal to me!
Is your transport kitted out?
Obviously if you’re a regular car commuter you should be checking tyre pressure (also on bikes!), oil levels and radiator fluid regularly (this will save you from future pains at the mechanic). It also helps if you keep your car free of rubbish and maybe even have an air freshener to get you ready for a productive day!
I would also recommend the following essential items to have on board:
- A cloth/small towel for condensation build up
- A blanket/comfy hoodie
- A torch
- First aid kit
- Emergency long-lasting snacks (eg. flapjacks/popcorn/dried fruit)
The last 3 of these I would also say would be really useful for a biking commute too if possible. A plastic bag/cover is a must for bikes too in case it rains (wet bums = no fun).
Lastly do you have a full tank?! If not you’ll need to schedule time to go fill up as well.
Sort your sat nav/phone out before starting the journey
I use google maps for navigation on my phone and it’s worth routing out your journey before you leave so it’s not going to interfere along the way. Along with this make sure you have enough battery to last you your journey or get an in car charger to get you through.
Music, podcasts, audiobooks, videos, interviews etc.
On the subject of phones, make a good driving playlist to play through your car speakers for the journey – or tune into a great radio station. In my opinion this is the most important point on this list. For some people, music is distracting but for me it keeps me sharp and focused.
It’s not just music though. Podcasts, audiobooks, interviews and pretty much anything that involves listening can get me through longer journeys and make me feel like i’m being productive as well.
I also find it really useful to have the odd CD or even mixed tape in the car in case all else fails me. I do live in Wales, a lot of the time if I’m travelling through the Valleys I lose signal on EVERYTHING!
You may as well make use of that cup holder in your transportation! I make use of mine by having a handheld travel mug that is full up with coffee to get me going through the horrible mornings that I dread thinking of. I also keep a fresh bottle of water handy as despite coffee’s benefits in the waking up business it’s pretty rubbish in the keeping you hydrated business. Beware of bladder control with all these drinks though…
This one is up to you really and depends on where you’ll be parking but having a small tin with some coins in it for parking machines can be a life safer in times of need. I really advise on keeping this stash small and hidden though as a few years back our car was broken into for the cash tin (they took about £15 worth of cash – was it worth it?).
A partner in crime for travel games
Lastly if possible, get yourself a car share going or a partner in crime for the journey! I have found that the funnest and most rewarding commutes have been shared with another and make it so much less of a chore at the time. Plus then you can play eye-spy and other travel games!
If you’re more of a loner who needs a break from people or enjoys screeching along to car music, that’s fine too. I think we all need a bit of crazy car singing away from others at times…
So whatever you’re dealing with on a commute, the best advice is to be as prepared as possible so that when you’re on the commute you can just focus on the day ahead instead.
That or stress over how busy it is…