Commuter Problems

So this morning, I’ll be heading up to NYC.

I’m excited. I like New York City… I don’t know if I could necessarily live there, but visiting is fun. A day here and there, maybe two… I get a taste of the city in a short amount of time. I prefer a more laid-back place to call home (hey Philly), but it’s nice to switch up the pace once in a while.


The past couple of Fridays, NYC has been my office. I wake up early just like any other day, but instead of hopping in my car for my normal ten-minute drive to the FP home office, I take the train an hour and a half to The City.

Stepping outside of my usual environment has made me realize that I like change now and again. I think I need it to keep up a fresh perspective on life and to allow new things in to inspire me. New York is a place that’s been inviting me to welcome such change, and I’m excited to start making the commute here more often — mostly for work — but a little play, too.

One thing though… I need to master the art of commuting.


I definitely take way too many things with me, and I can never decide whether to try and get an extra hour of sleep on the train ride, or immediately grab a cup of coffee. How do I make productive use of the travel time? Do I lug a suitcase around with me all day, or find a place to store it? How do I feel a sense of home in a new, temporary place? What are the easiest ways to save money when commuting?


I’d love to get a little insight from you, our readers. Do you guys commute to work? Do you have any tips or tricks you can share with me? Via train, plane, or automobile… traveling is part of my job, and finding little things that help along the way will make commuting to and from my destination that much smoother.



+ Any advice is good advice, so feel free to leave suggestions in the comment section below! And if you know of any amazing places or people in New York City you’d like to see featured on BLDG25, let me know!

Hi, NYC :)

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7 years ago

my mom always takes the train to work, and she usually listens to either podcasts or guided meditation! Also she tries to talk to a lot of people near and around her to help pass the time, it creates a great atmosphere to start your day. (:

7 years ago

I travel from Philly to New York every day. I take Septa to NJ transit. The trip takes me 2.5-3 hours each way and I have been doing it for over 2.5 years. After that long I have gotten some experience as to what works and what does not. I start my day usually with hot lemon water or tea. I try to leave coffee for when I get to work since the coffee shop socialization is a great start to my day. On the way up I love to read. This way if I am awake enough I can enjoy a great book, or I can doze off if I need to catch up on needed shut eye. It is also a time to think and reflect, especially in the mornings. This is actually the time I come up with my best designs (always have a sketchbook handy!) In the evenings when I am more tired sleep comes easier, and I allow myself to catch up on my favorite shows to make the time go by quicker. My commuter bag essentials are;
– An apple
-A granola bar
– A bottle of water
– EO hand sanitizer in lavender (smells so nice and relaxing and comes in a super small size)
– A book/Magazine or E-book
– My tablet
– Headphones
– A sketchbook (pocket size)
– An extra layer (sweater/sweatshirt or if its super cold gloves/hat)

This has been working for me for awhile so I hope it helps you too! Good luck!

7 years ago

Commuting is hard work, no doubt. I’m almost 4 years into my 2 hour roundtrip commute by train, and it hasn’t gotten any easier. Music, podcasts, and books are my saviors. It helps to tune out the craziness that is public transit in the Bay Area. Since I have to leave so early, I usually just wake up and get to the train — I’ll take care of breakfast, coffee, etc. when I get to work (not the best idea, but it’s worked for me!). Otherwise, I’d be running late all the time!

x Samantha

7 years ago

I commute to work via the automobile in Los Angeles and I too pack probably more than I should in my trunk, but I am always prepared. Its really weird because my commute in is 30 minutes, my commute home is 1 and 1/2 hours. I don’t know why but the return commute is always longer, but it always is. I’m thinking of getting a good book on tape to listen to – I’m interested in Lucid Dreaming, so I’m thinking of getting a how to non-fiction book/CD on that topic. I love novels too much, so I’m not getting one on tape/CD – if I listened to it in the car, I’d get hooked on the story and have to listen to it all night after I got home.

Best Regards,
Susan Jizba

The Weaver Of Words…..give me 15 words and I’ll tell you a tale

7 years ago

When finding your way to a new place in NYC always use MTA Trip Planner. It can give you the best route to take based on which method of transportation you want to use (subway, train, walking etc.). They’ll give you the best details for transferring and service interruptions and you don’t have to worry about losing service using live directions.

Second tip- packing light is key. You don’t know when you are going to have to stand on a train, or walk 20 blocks and you don’t want to be stuck with a 20 pound purse full of snacks (when there’s so much awesome food around you) and other things there is only a remote chance of you needing. Backpacks are the best option for your NYC commute, you don’t have to switch shoulders every so often to keep the weight even and anything on wheels leaves you vulnerable to all the bumps and steps and fast pace people around you.

7 years ago

I second the light packing. I commute by bicycle, but sometimes walk or take a cab, and you will always find me in a windbreaker, rain coat, or light jacket with big zippered or snap-shut pockets. Things feel a whole lot lighter if you’re wearing them around your body, instead of shouldering the weight of all of your stuff one on strap. It’s also less inviting to anyone looking to grab someone’s bag! To pack lighter, take out everything at the end of each day, and then audit if you really need each item the next day. For me, this means instead of my notebook I just tear out a few sheets of paper to take with me; instead of a ton of snacks, just enough for the day.

Jenny ekberg
7 years ago

My normal everyday commute is 1h 20 min each way and it’s killing me! So this post was great for me. Xxxx

7 years ago

A lot of train stations have lockers that you can rent to place your bags in for the day so if you didn’t want to lug a huge bag around with you all day (but need it because it has a change of clothes that you’re going to wear instead of the pajamas that some people *cough* me wear to commute or something) you could take the stuff you need out of that and leave it there.

Otherwise, a tote bag or even a gym bag can hold a lot of stuff and they’re being make chicer and chicer these days so it won’t be really out of place to have one.


7 years ago

I would stick to the same hotel. If it were me, I think going to the same place would make me feel more at home. You get to know the manager, and the way they set out breakfast, and the decor, and everything.
And a lot of hotels have deals. Stay ten nights, get one free, or something to that effect.
The same goes for lunch places and coffee shops. Having your favorite coffee shop is homey, and you can get frequent-buyer points! (Or pack food, which is cheaper but gives you more to carry.)

7 years ago

This might be useful for you.

7 years ago

I find that snacks are the easiest thing to save money on. I always carry a couple snacks (almonds and dried fruit, maybe some protein-type granola bars for a super-hungry emergency) and a bottle of water that I can refill. A couple packets of Emergen-C make me feel a little less anxious about germs.

I carry a notebook, a pencil, a pen, and a book or magazine to read. I also make sure to have a few good playlists, a podcast (radio ambulante, invisibilia, this american life), and I have a meditation app called “Stop, Breathe, and Think.” I carry everything usually just in a canvas tote bag but honestly, I wish I could find a smallish backpack that was cute but also could carry my macbook air (which I almost always carry, too). The tote bag is an okay solution, but it gets real tiresome on the one shoulder.

All that said, Cafe Madeline on Cortelyou in Brooklyn can take all my money. Traveling for work can be rough, but they make the sort of comforting foods I would make at home, and that makes it so much easier! It’s also a decent place to work from.

7 years ago

This blog, being insightful and incredibly in the loop, also maintains an approach to the working woman- What makes it easiest to keep the balance between fun and serious topics such as your “Vulnerable” post? I appreciate your multiple posts on SXSW and your ability to constantly know what to post for your audience, when did you learn of what your permanent audience would be and how to reach them? All of the photos are aesthetically pleasing. As a company, do you find it most efficient for one blogger to do the entire post, research, and photos or is it more productive to split the work within a post? Thank you for making a blog that is well researched, where there are frequent posts, and where reader feedback is encouraged!

7 years ago

I work at 6am most days, so I am up and at ’em pretty early. I have a 1.3 mile trek to the trolley with a 30 min ride to work. Then in the afternoons I attend classes. I have found that the best thing to do is pack food! I used to spend so much money on coffee, lunch, and snacks, but now I leave home equipped with a travel mug, a lunch pail, and a reusable bottle (bpa free, of course!). I usually have a backpack on me and possibly a smaller tote for days I need to change out of my work clothes for school. And to make my traveling more tolerable, I always have a book and headphones. On the trolley, I usually close my eyes and listen to music to relax a bit before the busy day begins. I keep a tiny pad of paper handy too to jot down any reminders or personal notes that come to mind throughout the morning.