3 tips to improve your long commute

Depending on your career and where you prefer to live, you may find yourself with a long commute. It can be a difficult choice and sacrifice. Here are three tips to help you survive your long commute.

Long commutes can be difficult but with preplanning you can reduce your stress and frustration. Or maybe you can use your commute time to expand your future options. Hopefully you won’t have this commute for a long time, but in the meantime there are things you can do to improve it.

White handbag, sneakers, and sunglasses while gathering long commute tips.

Use your weekends to finish your chores

Some commutes are longer than others and to some degree it’s all relative. The reality of the situation is you’ll have limited time at home during the week. 

Try to get all of your chores done on the weekends. If you don’t have money in your budget to pay for a cleaning service, consider the following to help you feel more in control of your life.

Clean your kitchen by end of Sunday night. 

Put those dishes in the dishwasher. No one wants to see your mess. And you probably don’t want to attract unwanted critters with the dishes you’re avoiding during the week.

Have enough clean laundry on hand for a week or two. 

Getting everything done on weekends sounds great until you run out of minutes. Washing large loads of laundry is more environmentally friendly. 

And doing chores in bulk usually takes less time in the long run. Try rotating your chores every other weekend.

Find ways to save money because long commutes can be expensive

Both public transportation and driving are expensive commute options. Trains (and other public transportation options) feel more expensive because you see those charges on your credit card or checking account.

Driving gives you more flexibility, but costs more in gas, tolls, and car maintenance. And don’t forget sitting in rush hour traffic can be frustrating.

Check with your employer for a commuter discount program (i.e. WageWorks). 

You may be able to pay for part of your commute with pre-tax dollars. 

Be warned: keep an eye out for cutoff dates to change your deductions and ticket purchases. You don’t want to lock away more money into the commuter programs than you actually need.

Do the math to figure out which ticket is most cost-friendly.

If you’re not in the office 5 days a week, a weekly or daily passes may be cheaper than buying a monthly pass. Double check the calendar during the winter holidays and any months you’re taking a long vacation. It may sound like a lot of work, but it could save you a noticeable amount of money for the year.

Bring your own food (breakfast, lunch, snacks). 

Buying food every day at work is expensive. Bringing your own meals and snacks takes a little planning, but once you get into the habit you could easily save at least $10 a day.

And if you don’t want to give up your favorite local coffee, try bringing your own in a S’well bottle. Buy a few of them so you don’t have to worry about cleaning it out every night.

Bringing your own lunch not only saves you money, it’s also a lot healthier than what you’re probably buying.

Use your travel time to improve your future

A long commute is not likely something you want to do forever. You could use the time to improve your future or advance your career.

Get an advanced degree while you travel

Maybe it’s time to consider starting an advanced degree. Traditional universities are offering online programs so students can flex around their work schedules.

And don’t forget to check with your current employer for a tuition reimbursement program. You may qualify for the program if you’re studying something relevant to your job.

Start a blog

Working on your writing skills is a great way to use your time regardless of the topic you write about. Maybe it’s something relevant to your career or use your time to write about a topic you’re passionate about.

If you have a wireless data plan you could use your travel time to create a new income source so you don’t have to commute forever! You can earn money via advertisements, sponsored posts, affiliate marketing, and selling digital products.

Make sure you don’t vent about your employer or use your company-issued computer. You may find yourself looking for a new job sooner than you thought if you do that.

Catch up on your reading

There is never enough time to read or listen to audio books. When you have a long commute try checking out the latest best sellers or pick up books related to your career. Use your extra time to learn and engage your brain.

Or learn how to sleep on the train. 

Of course if you’re driving you need to stay away, but if you’re taking public transportation, sleeping while you travel may be an option. An extra nap will help you feel fresher and maintain your energy. Set an alarm on your phone if you’re worried about missing your stop.

Wrapping up. What other tips do you have to improve long commutes?

Long commutes may not feel fun, but you can use the time to be productive. Stay organized at home and setup a routine to help you reduce your stress.

Long commutes are not for everyone. Try to find a way to make this work especially if you don’t have any other choices in the short term. Hopefully this season will pass and will prove to be a useful experience for you.

What other ideas do you have for managing your long commute?

Pin for later

3 tips to improve your long commute