Tag Archives: Driving

How To Survive the Summer Commute

Because I am a true California girl, summer is by far my most favorite season of the year. I love the long days, endless blue skies, and the super warm weather, not to mention the nights we are able to BBQ and dine al fresco at our local eateries.

However, one thing I do not love is my long commute in the blazing heat! Sure, I have a working air conditioner (thank goodness for that), but with a long drive and black interior in my car, it sometimes feels like I am heading to and from the office in my oven.

There are a few simple items that have really helped make my commute just a tad bit easier. The best part? Most of them are simple staples that you probably already have laying around!

Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle

This type of water bottle is an absolute essential for me. When looking for a bottle, I found out that one of the most popular brands is S’well. I must admit I was a little surprised at their cost per bottle ($25-$35). What could be so fabulous about this type of water bottle? However, after a sip of surprisingly still cool water from my water bottle after it sat in 100+ heat for an hour, it became very clear that the money was well spent!

I keep this filled up for my drive to and from work, and I am happily refreshed with cool water whenever I need to take a sip.

Windshield Sun Shade

I have to admit this is a relatively new addition to my car’s accessories. Whenever I thought of windshield sunshades, I was immediately transported back to the 1990s with accordion-style cardboard shades (which were just plain awful!). However, I am excited to announce that the market carries a number of different options, which hopefully make them a bit easier to use. I chose a two-piece vinyl material option, which actually folds up into a very small bundle. While it takes an extra minute or so to put it up, I’m always so grateful to return to a car that hasn’t had the front seats baking in the sun for hours (hello shorts, skirts and dresses!).

Old Towel

Along the lines mentioned above, grabbing an old towel to throw in your trunk is such a great idea. I cannot explain how many times I have thrown it over my driver’s seat leather to provide a little extra coverage from sun coming from one of the side windows. It’s also a great accessory to have when you’re wearing your cute summer outfit and you cringe when your bare leg hits your car’s warm interior. Nothing genius about this idea, just a nice-to-have.

Lip Balm

I am a major lip balm queen and typically have a tube of this in just about everything I carry. However, I find that it’s not always super accessible. I leave a tube of my favorite balm (Burt’s Bees) in my drink holders for a quick moisturizing swipe through my commute. While I have found other brands tend to get mushy when they are left in a hot car, Burt’s Bees seems to hold up a bit better (though it definitely softens a bit).

Extra Sunglasses

Sunglasses are my other must-have during the summer. Like lip balm, I tend to have a few pairs in different work bags and purses, but always seem to find myself scrambling for a pair when I get into the car. I like to conveniently keep a back-up pair of sunglasses in my door compartment. That way, whether I have my purse within arm’s reach or not, I have something to get me through the drive.

For those of you that commute through the hot summer, I hope these tip help make your drive a bit more convenient! Happy Summer!

Tips for Commuters

For most of us living in metropolitan areas, a long commute to work has become a standard. Whether you get to your job by car, train, bus or bike, you have to add in a significant amount of extra time to ensure you get to your desk. A 2013 report issued by the U.S. Census Bureau suggests that the average U.S. worker spends 25.5 minutes in the car for their one-way travel to work. That being said, for those of us living in densely populated cities, we know that our commute times can almost double the national average.

A quick breakdown of a daily work day shows that a 45 min. one-way commute for the average metropolitan commuter, still takes up a chunk of our time.

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So how can we leverage the 6% of our day into time that is less mindless and more positive? Here are some of our tips.

Bri: My favorite ways to relieve the stress of the Bay Area commute are tasty beverages, lengthy podcasts and audiobooks. In the morning, I like to brew a latte to take with me in a big travel mug. I recently purchased a Copco traveler (Copco.com – $5.99) that is microwave and dishwasher safe. On my way home, I fill up my Nalgene water bottle (Nalgene.com – $12.99) and, if needed, download another podcast.

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Kris: I recently moved to the suburbs and as a result, my current commute is a beast (and one that doubles the national average). In short, I spend a lot of time in the car. My ride typically starts with the radio news, so I can catch traffic conditions and some of the news highlights. I’m on the go from start to finish at my job and rarely have time to catch up on world news, so I like to be sure to catch up on what is going on worldwide. Next, I move onto a podcast (perfect for about an hour commute) on something juicy like celebrity entertainment. I find switching gears away from my work brain, helps relax me as I transition into my evening.

I also am an avid audiobook listener. It’s a great alternative for bookworms with long commutes, and catching up on a chapter or two on your drive home always gives you something to look forward to. Lastly, I also use my drive home as a convenient time for me to catch up on phone calls to family and friends. Because I drive on off-commute hours, the timing doesn’t always work, but it gives me a nice chunk of time to stay connected.

Mere: Los Angeles freeways are notoriously known for heavy traffic. I have been tackling the LA driving scene for over 10 years, yet somehow I often find myself surprised to see so many cars on one road. My commute is about 40 minutes from home to work, and then back again at the end of the day, which in perspective isn’t too bad (especially for LA). I try to leave on the early side of the morning to avoid excessive LA-traffic, and although sometimes I find myself lucky (pulling into work 5 minutes earlier than usual), there are other times when I question how traffic can be at a halt before the sun is even up!

Most mornings, I enjoy listening to the radio. Call me “old fashioned” by I enjoy morning radio talk shows and music during my morning commute. I have also found that podcasts can be one of the best ways to fill time in the car. I was recently obsessed with Serial by This American Life. To those also completely consumed with Serial, it will come as no surprise that I actually looked forward to getting into my car each morning. I also enjoy The Dinner Party Download, America’s Test Kitchen, Bon Appetite, and Ted Talks. I found that the nearly hour-long program holds my attention and keeps my interest for much of my time in the car.

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Regardless of what means of transportation you take to work, chances are it involves some transit time. Do you have a good tip to pass time on your commute? If so, we’d love to hear.