It's early in the morning - the sun is shining, the birds are singing. But you can’t hear the chirpy tones of nature as someone is talking loudly on the phone; you can’t even see the morning light as you're deep underground, or lost in a sea of people.
We're, of course, talking about commuting on public transport. Love it or hate it, it’s a time many of us wish was over faster. (We can hear your gloating laughter, work from homers.) Read on for our tips on how to make your daily commute more enjoyable.
Keep your peace with noise-cancelling headphones
Although it's fun to occasionally eavesdrop on the conversations of nearby strangers, sometimes you want to tune out the world when journeying back home after a long day, or to get into the zone before work.
Investing in a good pair of noise-cancelling headphones means that you can block out unwanted sounds and interruptions as you entertain yourself on your phone or listen to music. Plus, the noise-cancelling feature means that you don’t need to turn up the volume too loud, so they're a great option for maintaining good ear health.
Bring the entertainment
Sick of staring out the window as you travel to work? Make sure to pack things that will keep you entertained. Arm yourself with a book, a game on your phone, or download a compelling new podcast or audiobook. Just don’t forget to bring a portable charger in case your phone runs out of battery.
This is also a great time in your day to try meditation or mindfulness exercises - noise-cancelling headphones are your best friend, here. And don't forget to treat yourself to a nice drink in a reusable, insulated travel mug.
Switch up your route
Knowing the route that works best for you will make your journey less stressful in the long run – after all, you could be doing it every day! If you have more than one transport option, ask yourself whether you prefer a longer route with fewer changes (or none at all), or a shorter door-to-door trip that might involve hopping between trains, buses, or both.
If your job offers flexible start and finish times, try changing up your routine to avoid rush hour, and give yourself a better chance of getting a seat on your bus, train or Tube.
Be prepared with an emergency weather kit
Arriving at your home (or worse, at work) a little soggier than when you set off is never a good feeling, so whatever the forecast, make sure you're well prepared with an emergency weather kit. Using a compartment of your bag or a portable pouch, stash an umbrella, packable raincoat and gloves, plus suncream and sunglasses.
If you're a regular commuter, slip on some trainers before leaving home and change into your work shoes when you get there. Your journey will be extra comfortable, and you’ll always have dry shoes!
Create a back-up plan (and another one, too)
No matter how reliable your transport of choice, sometimes the unexpected can happen (actually, it’s pretty safe to say that it will happen at least once). Make sure you know that a broken-down bus can’t stop you from strutting into work on time by creating a back-up plan.
It’s important to know exactly what you would do if your regular transport method temporarily stops. Research the nearest alternative route and try it at least once so you’re familiar with it, and make a note of timings so you have them on hand if needed. Better still, have an emergency taxi fund to ensure you've covered all bases.