(Image Credit: Florian Lehmuth)

Commuting Essentials for the First Timer

(Image Credit: Florian Lehmuth)

(Image Credit: Florian Lehmuth)

Whether you’re traveling by bus, bike, or train, being a first-time commuter can feel a bit overwhelming. Not only do you need to make sure you don’t show up to work unprepared, but you also will want to bring along some travel essentials to make your commute more enjoyable. Here are a few items that you might want to add to your checklist.

Comfortable shoes

Everyone wants to look professional on the first day at a new job, but don’t expect to wear a pair of stilettos and still be able to walk around the office by the end of the day. This is particularly crucial for people who have a long distance to walk. Luckily, there are plenty of shoes out there that are multipurpose and are both walking and office appropriate. Or, wear a pair of sneakers and bring another pair to change into once you arrive at work.


This can be in the form of a large tote bag, briefcase, or backpack, but it is inevitable that you will need something to carry all of your belongings in (especially if you do plan on bringing that extra pair of shoes). Find something that is appropriate for your personal workplace and style, and be sure to check to see if it is the right size and will fit everything that you need. Plus, you will want something that is weather appropriate if you plan to spend any time commuting outdoors.


An umbrella is another important item for those of us who are outside for some of the trip. The last thing you want is to show up for work looking like a wet dog; your new boss might not be too impressed. Find a compact, light umbrella, and always keep it either in your bag, car or office, depending on what makes the most sense for you.


Most commuters need to incorporate some sort of public transportation into their daily routines. This can mean dealing with crowded buses and train cars, where people have the tendency to make some extra unwanted noise. Bring a pair of headphones with you wherever you go in order to block this out and listen to something more pleasant instead.

Reading material

Another great distraction for your commute is having something to read. Spending ample time each day traveling back and forth from place to place gets boring fast if you don’t come prepared. Grab a newspaper or magazine before you leave each day, or keep an electronic reading device in your bag that you can easily pull out in just about any situation.

Travel mug

If you’re like me, waking up early to commute and have a productive day necessitates at least one cup of coffee. There isn’t always going to be time to drink this before you leave for work, though, so a travel mug is a great way to cut some time and bring your beverage of choice with you instead. It might be worth investing in one that is high quality for better temperature control if you have a long way to travel.

It might seem like it is impossible to remember everything you need on your commute, but you will be fine if you just do a little preparation ahead of time. If you feel well prepared for your journey, your big first day will feel that much less overwhelming. Start your own list, pack up a bag, and give yourself ample time to get where you need to go. You’ll feel like a pro in no time.

Image courtesy of Florian Lehmuth
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