Commuting to work can inevitably feel like a chore, especially if you’re stuck in traffic or have a long commute on the subway. No matter how you get to work, we’ve got some recommendations to make your journey more comfortable and enjoyable.
By spicing up your commute, it won’t feel as much like a chore. Sure, you might still dread actually going into work, but you can at least enjoy the ride there a bit more.
We know that people get to work in various ways, so we’ve broken this list down into three major categories. The first section focuses on items that every commuter can use, while the second focuses on commuters who drive, and the third on commuters who use public transit.
Table of Contents
- For All Commuters
- For Commuters Who Use Public Transit
- For Commuters Who Drive
For All Commuters
Whether you drive yourself to work or you use public transit to get there, these are items that any commuter can use for a more enjoyable ride.
Audio Streaming Subscriptions
An audio streaming subscription is a great way to get entertaining content hands-free. Whether you’re driving or using public transit, listening to books, podcasts, or music can make your commute go by so much faster.
- Spotify: Although there are other music and podcast streaming services out there, Spotify is easily the best. For only $9.99 per month, you get access to music from popular artists, as well as smaller, more niche artists and a ton of podcasts. And if you’re not sure whether it’s worth it, you get a 30-day trial to try it out for free.
- Audible: If you’d rather listen to a book or a short story, Audible is the way to go. There are also podcasts and guided meditations to listen to, but the bulk of what Audible has to offer is in audiobook format. And if you’re new to audiobooks and don’t know if you’ll like listening to a book, you can take advantage of the 30-day free trial. You’ll get one free credit (two, if you’re an Amazon Prime member) to check out any audiobook you want. Audible has a $7.95 per month plan that gives you access to their library or a $14.95 per month plan that also gives you a free book credit every month.
Travel Mug or Water Bottle
There’s nothing worse than starting your commute and then realizing you didn’t bring anything to drink. So why not make sure you can bring your coffee, water, or both on your commute with a great travel mug or water bottle?
- Swig Life Triple Insulated Stainless Steel Tumbler: Whether you drink coffee, tea, or any other beverage that needs to be kept hot, Swig Life’s mugs are a great choice. This travel mug, which comes in a ton of different styles, keeps drinks hot for up to 12 hours or cold for up to 24 hours. Plus, you can throw it in the dishwasher for easy cleaning.
- Contigo Autoseal Insulated Travel Mug: This travel mug from Contigo comes in a plethora of different colors and sizes. It can keep drinks hot for up to five hours or cold for up to 12 hours, and the auto-seal technology prevents it from leaking or spilling. The lid of this travel mug can go in the top rack of your dishwasher, but the stainless steel body must be handwashed.
- TLINNA Smart Bottle: Insulated with medical-grade stainless steel, this smart bottle from TLINNA keeps beverages hot for up to 12 hours or cold for up to 24 hours. It’s leakproof and can display the current temperature of your drink on the top of the lid simply by tapping it. You’ll need to handwash it, though.
- ICEWATER 3-in-1 Smart Stainless Steel Water Bottle: This smart water bottle can hold 20oz of water and keep it hot for up to 12 hours or cold for up to 24 hours. It glows every hour to remind you to take a drink and stay hydrated. There’s also a built-in Bluetooth speaker, although this feature likely won’t come in handy for your subway commute.
- Hidrate Spark 3 Smart Water Bottle: This water bottle from Hidrate makes the entire bottle glow either at regular intervals that you set or when you’re falling behind on your water intake goal for the day. What’s awesome about this bottle is that you can link it to the Hidrate app (Android/iOS) to help you keep track of water intake goals. You’ll have to handwash the body and sensor, but you can throw the lid and the bottom ring in the dishwasher.
Portable Power Bank
In a world where so much of our daily life depends on our smartphones and other technology, running out of battery just sucks. So, make sure you never run out of battery by keeping a portable power bank with you at all times. Even if you drive to work, a portable power bank will do a better job charging your phone than a car charger typically will.
- Anker PowerCore III Elite 25600: If you’ve got the money to spend, this power bank has all the power you’ll need. It has a whopping 25,600mAh cell capacity, allowing you to keep multiple devices charged at once. There are two USB-C ports; charging a single device through one gives you an output of 87W. Then, there are also two USB-A ports. If you have four devices charging at once, the combined output is 78W.
- Anker USB-C Portable Charger: Although this portable power bank is less powerful than its sister option above, it’s also much more affordable. The differences between them come down to power output, price, and ports. With this 10,000mAh power bank, you’re limited to one USB-C port with a max 18W output and one USB-A port that has a max 12W output. However, you’ll only be paying about a third of the price of the option above.
For Commuters Who Use Public Transit
If you use public transit to get to work, you can use your commute as extra leisure time with products like a Nintendo Switch or a video streaming service. If you have a longer commute, these products will help that time fly by.
Earbuds or Headphones with Active Noise Cancellation
For commuters who drive, earbuds or headphones with active noise cancellation, or ANC, are imperative to keep outside noise out. With a great pair, you can easily focus on watching a TV show, listening to music, or catching up on work.
- AirPods Pro: If you have an Apple device, the AirPods Pro earbuds are your best bet. These are water- and sweat-resistant with a rating of IPX4. They also have an adaptive EQ feature that automatically tunes the music to your ear shape. They also come with a wireless charging case that’ll keep them charged whenever you put them away.
- Jabra Elite 85t Earbuds: These earbuds are known for their exceptional noise-canceling technology. With the Jabra Elite 85t earbuds, you can adjust the levels of both ANC and HearThrough mode through the Jabra app (Android/iOS). With ANC turned on, you can get about five and a half hours out of these earbuds. They come with a charging case, though, that provides about 25 hours of battery life. Similar to the AirPods Pro, these buds also have an IXP4 rating. Like these but want something more affordable? Check out the Jabra Elite 75t earbuds.
- Sony WF-1000XM4 Earbuds: Another outstanding option is this pair from Sony. When using noise cancelation, the battery will only last for about eight hours; however, that’s more than plenty for a commute. And with an IPX4 rating, they are also water- and sweat-resistant.
- Skullcandy Indy ANC: These are more affordable but still pack plenty of quality. Skullcandy’s Indy headphones can last for up to 19 hours on a single charge, have ANC tech, and are water- and dust-resistant with a rating of IP55.
- Bose QuietComfort 20: These are some of the comfiest in-ear headphones you can get your hands on. With Bose’s proprietary StayHear+ tips, these headphones stay securely in your ear and significantly reduce ear soreness when listening for long periods of time. The ear tips also play a role in blocking out sound by creating a seal. It’s worth mentioning, though, that these earbuds are not IPX rated, meaning they haven’t been tested for water, dust, or sweat resistance.
- Sony WH-1000XM4 Headphones: If headphones are more your jam, you can’t go wrong with this pair from Sony. They come from the same series as the earbuds from Sony above and they’re just as awesome. They have a 30-hour battery life, speak-to-chat tech that automatically lowers the volume during a conversation, and Dual Noise Sensor tech that helps shut out the sounds around you when you don’t want to be bothered. There’s no IP rating for these headphones.
- Wyze Over-Ear Headphones: These are the best budget noise-canceling headphones out there. While they might not be as great as the headphones from Sony, they’re still pretty dang good headphones and only a fraction of the price. Four noise-canceling microphones work together to keep outside noise out. As far as battery life goes, you can get up to 20 hours of use on a single charge. These headphones from Wyze do not have an IP rating available.
Portable Wi-Fi Hotspot
You can use your phone as a mobile hotspot to use external devices like a Nintendo Switch or a laptop; however, if you’re not on an unlimited data plan, this could suck up your data really fast. Plus, a portable Wi-Fi hotspot will give you a more reliable connection.
- Skyroam Solis X WiFi Smartspot: This portable Wi-Fi hotspot has a pay-as-you-go plan, helping you stick to a budget and not unknowingly use too much data. With a 4,700mAh battery, it’ll keep you online for up to 16 hours, depending on whether you use it solely for Wi-Fi or to also charge your devices with it. And Solis has an app (Android/iOS) that you can use to manage everything easily.
- MightyWifi Mobile Wi-Fi Hotspot: This option from MightyWifi is slightly more affordable and initially comes with 5GB of high-speed data. Once you use up those 5GB, you can buy extra data, either local or international, through MightyWifi’s Cloud app (Android/iOS). There’s a built-in 5000mAh rechargeable battery that can give you about 12 to 14 hours of use at a time.
A Nintendo Switch is the perfect way to pass the time on your commute, especially if it’s a long one. There are two consoles and a slew of games from which to choose. The original Switch has a large display, detachable controllers, and the ability to switch your handheld console to a TV display at any time; unfortunately, it’s sold out pretty much everywhere right now.
- Switch Lite: Nintendo wanted to offer customers a more affordable, handheld-only version of the Switch, so it created the Switch Lite. You can play any Switch games on it; it’s literally just a smaller version of the original Switch that can’t play on a TV. It costs $199.99.
- Switch Games: There are so many amazing Switch games to choose from, but when choosing one for your commute, it might be smartest to choose a game that doesn’t have much of a story and is easy to stop at a moment’s notice. A few top titles that are easy to pause and then hop back into, like Luigi’s Mansion 3, Super Mario Odyssey, and Untitled Goose Game.
Video Streaming Subscriptions
If you’re not into playing games, a video streaming subscription is a great way to pass the time. It’s really easy to start and stop a TV show or a movie, which comes in handy if you have a shorter commute or a commute with multiple steps.
- Netflix: This is one of, if not the, biggest video streaming services out there. Netflix constantly has a rotating library of popular TV shows and movies from multiple networks. They also have a ton of fantastic original shows like Stranger Things, The Witcher, Orange Is the New Black, The Crown, and Disenchantment. A Netflix subscription starts at $8.99 per month, increasing only if you need more simultaneous screens or a higher streaming resolution.
- Hulu: A more affordable video streaming option is Hulu. Although you can pay more to get rid of ads, Hulu’s subscriptions start at $5.99 per month (and you can save even more if you pay annually). Like Netflix, Hulu also has some great original shows like The Handmaid’s Tale, Veronica Mars, and Solar Opposites. Then, there are also popular shows from major networks like Modern Family, Archer, and Rick and Morty.
- Prime Video: If you’re an Amazon Prime member, surprise! You already have access to Prime Video and you don’t have to pay anything extra. You can start watching some of Amazon’s great original TV shows like The Boys or The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel or original movies like The Big Sick or Love & Friendship. If you’re not an Amazon Prime member and don’t want to be one, you can still purchase a Prime Video subscription starting at $8.99 per month.
- Disney+: This is the best subscription service if you love everything Disney. You’ll have access to Disney classics like The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, and 101 Dalmatians, as well as a ton of more modern Disney shows like The Bad Batch. Plus, you’ll be able to stream new Disney movies on the service only a few short months after they premiere in theaters. A Disney+ subscription is available for $7.99 per month.
For Commuters Who Drive
If you drive yourself to work, you obviously can’t use noise-canceling headphones or a Nintendo Switch. But there are still plenty of items that can make your commute more pleasant.
Carplay/Android Auto Head Unit
The head unit that comes with a vehicle usually doesn’t wow anyone. If you spend a lot of time in your car, upgrading your vehicle’s stereo display is a must. With a better interface and much cooler features, you’ll wonder why it took you so long to upgrade yours.
- Kenwood Excelon DNX9907XR: Although a bit pricey, this Kenwood unit delivers a ton and is worth the cost. It has a 6.8-inch HD monitor and works with both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. There’s built-in Bluetooth capability, HD radio, and Wi-Fi. It also features Garmin Navigation with 3D terrain and four available camera inputs, though you’ll need to buy the cameras separately.
- Alpine iLX-F309 HALO9: This is a slightly more affordable option that still has some great features. It has built-in Bluetooth tech, an HD radio, and is ready to work with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. It doesn’t come with a built-in navigation system, but you can use navigation through your smartphone. Also, it supports a rear camera if you want to purchase one separately and use it as a rearview backup camera.
- ATOTO A6 Pro: This is a much more affordable head unit, but it doesn’t come with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto pre-installed. You’ll need to purchase an adapter if you want to use either of these services. However, even with the adapter, it’s still a much more cost-effective option than the head units from Kenwood or Alpine. Without the adapter, you’ll still have built-in GPS navigation, Bluetooth capability, dual Wi-Fi band connection support, and support for a backup camera.
- Hikity 10.1 Inch Android Car Stereo: This is another affordable head unit that requires a dongle for Apple CarPlay or Android Auto to work. It has a large 10.1-inch display, a built-in WiFi and GPS module, Bluetooth capability, and an FM radio. Plus, it even has an included waterproof backup camera with night vision.
Sturdy Phone Mount
When you drive to work, having a mount for your smartphone makes it so much easier to change the music or make phone calls. Plus, if your usual route to work is cut off for any reason, it’s easy to pull up a different route through your preferred maps app.
- iOttie Easy One Touch 4: This phone mount is the best option for most people. The One Touch 4 mount can be attached to either the windshield with a suction cup or your dashboard with an adhesive pad. And it’s super easy to secure your phone in it; as soon as your phone touches the One Touch trigger, the side arms close around it automatically.
- Kenu Airframe Wireless: If you love the quick and convenient aspects of wireless charging, this phone dock from Kenu is perfect for you. Every phone that is Qi-enabled can wirelessly charge with this mount. Plus, you won’t have to deal with any pesky charging cables if you go the wireless charging route. You can attach this mount to your air vent, dashboard, or windshield.
- Trianium Magnetic Dash Car Mount: If you’re not looking to spend a whole lot, you can’t go wrong with this phone mount from Trianium. It has four magnets built into the base and comes with a metal plate you can attach to your phone. Then, any time you want to attach your phone to the mount, all you have to do is align the magnets and the metal plate. If you use wireless charging for your phone, you’ll have to remove the metal plate from your phone before charging and replace it after.
Comfy Car Seat Cushion
Taking long road trips usually lets you see just how uncomfortable your car seats are. When you’re driving to work and back, you might not notice it as much, but you can be sure that your car seats probably aren’t doing your back any favors. Getting some lumbar support or a comfier cushion for your tush can make a world of difference in your commute.
- ComfiLife Gel Enhanced Seat Cushion: Made of durable memory foam with a gel layer on top, this car seat cushion from ComfiLife would be a phenomenal addition to your commute. It’s ergonomically designed to reduce pressure on your tailbone and help promote a healthy posture. Plus, the cover is machine washable for easy cleaning.
- Dreamer Car Lumbar Support: If you’re more focused on lumbar support, go for this cushion from Dreamer. It’s curved to support the natural curvature of your spine and relieve muscle tension all over your back. If you’re guilty of bad posture, this cushion will be a welcome relief.
- Xtreme Comforts Desk Chair Cushion: This cushion is a great option if you don’t want anything that’s already contoured. Xtreme Comforts offers a flat, memory foam cushion that will contour around you when you sit down. Just like the cushion from ComfiLife, this one has a machine-washable cover.
A dash cam is a necessity for any driver, but especially for commuters. If you’re ever in a car accident or if someone bumps your car in the parking lot and doesn’t leave a note, you’ll have your trusty dash cam to help you back up your story when talking to the cops or your insurance.
- Garmin Dash Cam Tandem: This dash cam is pocket-sized and has two cameras, both with 180-degree field of view lenses that record simultaneously. One camera records your car’s interior and the other records the road in front of you. If you get into an accident or someone hits your car, there’s built-in GPS to help capture exactly where it happened and Wi-Fi connectivity that lets you view everything on the Garmin Drive app (Android/iOS).
- Thinkware U1000: If you want to be able to record the road in front of and behind your vehicle, go with this dual dash cam from Thinkware. The front camera records in 4K resolution and the rear records in 2K resolution. And there’s Super Night Vision tech that helps catch any incident clearly, even when it’s dark outside or you’re in a parking garage. You can use the Thinkware Cloud app (Android/iOS) to help manage everything.