June 16, 2020

Tips for Commuting When You Live in a Big City

If you’re brand new to it, big city living can take a bit of an adjustment. One of the main differences that you’ll find between suburban and city living is the way you commute and travel. Regularly hopping in your car to get to work every day will probably be a thing of the past. Reducing the risk of damaging your car and saving money on auto insurance is a nice bonus to commuting by bike or using public transportation. Depending on where you live, your options for commuting will vary, but there are plenty of tips for commuting that apply no matter what city you find yourself in. Let’s go over five simple tips to help you commute in a big city.

1. Public transit? There’s an app for that

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In most major cities, public transportation services usually have an app you can download to help you with your commute. The Long Island Rail Road’s app provides schedules, updates on delays, and pricing information. You can also look on social media, many public transit services have profiles on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram where they post delays and cancellations. It’s always helpful to check for any schedule changes or disruptions in service before you leave, you never know what’s going to happen or when you’ll need a backup plan.

2. Layer your clothes

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The temperature on a bus, train, or subway is completely unpredictable most of the time. It could be hot outside and absolutely freezing once you step onto the train car. Don’t get caught shivering, always pack a jacket or sweater in your bag. Bringing an extra pair of shoes is especially useful if you’re walking or biking a significant distance. Get a light pair of tennis shoes or sneakers for your commute and then change into your work attire as soon as you arrive at the office.

3. Entertain yourself on the way

Download some podcasts or sign up for a music service like Spotify or Apple Music so you don’t just have to stare at the window on your way to work. Make sure you have a good pair of headphones so you can drown out other people’s conversations or outside noise. You can watch TV, movies, listen to an audiobook, anything to make use of your time. If you’re taking a train that goes underground, download your music onto your phone directly. If your media requires WiFi to be played, you might lose service during your trip.

4. Map out your route ahead of time

Don’t set yourself up to get lost or stressed out. Whether you’re biking, using public transit, or driving, you should plan your route in advance. You might even want to take a practice ride and get used to the flow of traffic if you’re starting a job with a new commute in a place you’re not familiar with. Before you leave in the morning, check for any accidents or delays, so you don’t get surprised when you’re already on your way.

5. Give biking a chance

Biking to work is often easier than you think. Investing in your own bike is always an option, but community options like the bike-sharing stations in Hoboken, NJ are making it easier than ever to ride without owning your own bicycle. Safety is key when you’re commuting by bike, so research your local laws and learn about traffic patterns in your area. Even if you’re in a cycling lane, you still need to keep your attention on your surroundings at all times. If you need to avoid a car or a person suddenly, you want to give yourself as much time as possible to adjust. Still, biking is one of the most satisfying ways to commute to work and can save you a lot of time and money, all while being a great workout.

If you’re moving from the suburbs, getting to and from work might seem more complicated in a big city. Once you understand the different methods of transportation and the geography of the city, it’s not intimidating at all. You might even find yourself with more free time to read on the train, or burning a few extra calories commuting by bike. One of the benefits of living in a big city is having so many options for how you get around, so take advantage and see if you can save money or time on your commute.