15 Tips for Improving Your Daily Commute

A smiling young woman looking out the bus window

Daily commutes are the bane of everyone’s existence – you’re either squashed like a sardine on a jam-packed train or stuck bumper to bumper in the morning rush hour. Unfortunately, it’s just something you have to do to get to and from work on a daily basis.

But it’s not all doom and gloom – luckily, there are lots of ways you can make your commute to work a little more enjoyable and make good use of the time that you have to yourself.

To find out how to make your morning journey more pleasant, keep reading for our top tips listed below.

1. Avoid the rush hour

If you have set working hours that are non-negotiable, then it will be tough to avoid the rush hour, unless you drive to work early and grab a coffee from a shop close to the office to unwind before your hectic day begins.

On the other hand, if you have an understanding employer, you could discuss new working hours or flexible working so you can avoid the busy times on the road and cut down your two-hour commute. For example, instead of working 9am to 5pm, you could consider working 7am to 3pm or 11am to 6pm.

2. Use public transport

If you have a public transport route on your way to work, it’s usually easier and cheaper to use it. It will save parking fees, petrol costs and car maintenance, as well as any unforeseen road issues in the process.

In addition, when you choose to ride on public transport, you will know your estimated time of arrival and can avoid the stress of traffic jams and other road hazards. You will also feel more alert when you get to work, as you wouldn’t have spent the past hour focusing on the road.

3. Use your time wisely

Whether you’re travelling by car, train, bike or bus, you can find ways to use your time wisely. This can include listening to podcasts, reading the news, following up on the latest social media happenings, booking your next trip abroad or singing your heart out to your favourite ballad (ie: ‘My Heart Will Go On’ by Céline Dion).

Whatever it is, remember that you can use your commute journey to either improve a skill or catch up on the tasks that you wouldn’t otherwise find time for.

4. Control your road rage

Road rage gets the best of us, especially when sharing the road with reckless drivers who undertake you on the motorway, drive too close to comfort or, worse, swerve in and out of lanes while on their phones.

And I know how easy it is to turn into a completely different person and toot your horn (clearly speaking from experience here), but when you feel your blood boiling, count to 10 before mouthing every single swear word under the sun. This will give you enough time to relax and push passed the situation, ensuring that it doesn’t spoil the rest of your day.

5. Create playlists of your favourite music

Your long commute to work is a great way to discover new music and, ultimately, boost your mood.

You can listen to new albums from your favourite artist, playlists that will get you pumped for your evening workout or something relaxing to listen to at work when Jane from Accounting is getting on your very last nerve.

6. Leave earlier than normal

This is easier said than done, especially if you’re the type of person who hits the ‘Snooze’ button for a good 30 minutes in the morning. But if you really want to improve your commute, you need to commit to your sleep schedule.

Start by going to bed a little earlier so that you can wake up earlier and have more time to get to work in the morning. This won’t only avoid the mad rush of office workers but also ensure that you wake up in a good mood.

7. Stretch your legs at the traffic lights

If you’re driving for a long period of time, your legs are likely to get stiff. Now, I’m not suggesting that you lift your foot off the pedal while you’re driving!

Instead, lift your legs up when you’ve stopped at the traffic lights to reduce the risk of blood clots forming from being idle for too long.

The best part? No one can see that you’re getting your stretches in while you’re on the road!

8. Keep an emergency snack kit handy

An evening traffic jam is even more infuriating if you’re starving and eager to get home to eat. To help you curb your hunger and get through the mental breakdown, keep some long-lasting snacks in your car.

Dried foods like pretzels, nuts, dried fruit and crackers are a great way to curb your cravings and keep your energy levels high until you make it home. To find even more creative ideas, check out our list of the healthiest snacks around!

9. Develop alternative routes

Usually, there are several routes you can take to get to the same destination. So, to give yourself more control over your commute, why not map out and memorise the alternative routes that you can take?

It will not only save time but also will stop you from panicking when you’re stuck in a tricky situation, ensuring that you still get to and from work in a reasonable amount of time.

10. Check weather reports the day before

Similarly, checking the weather report the night before can help you plan for your journey the following day. For example, if it’s snowing, there are risks of closed roads or train cancellations, so you will need to know what other options you have for getting to work.

You can also plan what you’re going to wear so that you can be comfortable on your journey. A pair of loafers won’t do you any good if it’s pouring down with rain, for example, but a raincoat and leather boots will be in your favour.

11. Keep a charger handy

Being stuck on your way to work with no phone battery is far from ideal. You’re not able to contact your boss to let them know you’re running late or search for alternative routes on Google Maps.

To avoid being stuck in this kind of situation, be sure to always keep a charger on hand – whether it’s a power bank or a USB cable so that your phone never runs on empty.

12. Connect with wriends and family

With such fast-paced lives, it’s hard for us to catch up with loved ones. But with over 30 minutes to spare on your commute, why not kill two birds with one stone and catch up with your friends and family?

You can send them a string of messages or pick up the phone and find out what they have been up to. It will not only fill your time but also put you in a good mood, as you’ll feel happy after talking to people that are familiar to you.

13. Use the time to brainstorm

Do you find less and less time throughout your day to brainstorm or think about ideas that you’ve been placing on the backburner? If so, use your time wisely by brainstorming on your daily commute.

If you need to write ideas down, use an app like Evernote to help you jot things down and refer back to them at a later time. If you happen to be driving, make a mental note and write them down once you get to your destination.

14. Carpool with a coworker

Carpooling with a coworker can be tricky, especially if you tend to work different hours and in different departments, but there are instances where it can work!

If you live far from your workplace, post a message in the office group chat to see if anyone else lives nearby. You can then discuss setting off times and finishing hours to see if it’s beneficial for you both to share journeys. It will not only cut your costs in half but also help you form a bond with your colleague.

15. Remind yourself why you’re commuting

When your commute starts to feel like a drag, you should remind yourself why you’re making the journey in the first place. Is it because you’re working for a reputable company or in your dream position? Is it because the organisation has a great company culture and you simply can’t part from your work bestie?

Whatever it is, write it down and make a list of things that you’re grateful for. This sense of appreciation will help you understand why you do such a difficult commute day in and day out, and it will make you feel more appreciative of your situation.

If you can’t get your boss to let you work from home and it’s not worth you moving closer to work, our advice above might just make your journey a little better and a lot more enjoyable.

How do you survive your daily commute? Let us know your tips and tricks in the comments section below.