Commuting is often the worst part of the workday, but it doesn’t have to be.
With the right gear, travel to and from the office can be smooth, simple and — dare we say — maybe even enjoyable.
Whether you travel by car or public transport, we’ve rounded up six products to help you start and end the workday on the right foot.
Because while you can’t control the traffic or the weather – or the local government’s mismanagement of public transportation funding resulting in woefully outdated subway signal equipment that causes delays on nine out of 10 rush hours! – you can control what you bring along for the ride.
1. Mancro laptop backpack ($28.99; amazon.com)
Keep your computer safe and your shoulders happy with this very well-reviewed bag from Mancro, which features a padded compartment for laptops up to 17 inches plus a nifty external USB charging port. If you prefer not to carry a backpack, we also love the style and functionality of the Baggallini Avenue tote ($119.95; baggallini.com).
2. Bose Quiet Comfort 35 wireless noise-canceling headphones ($349; amazon.com)
Bose’s best-selling noise-canceling headphones will tune out everything from the sound of screeching subway cars to the gossip of excited schoolkids. This model features the great sound quality we’ve come to expect from Bose and ditches the pesky tangle-prone cord. Listen to your favorite podcast, audiobook or soothing music, to get ready to take on the day or to decompress after that jerk Steve once again ate your very clearly labeled yogurt out of the office fridge.
3. Kindle Paperwhite ($129.99; amazon.com)
Amazon’s latest iteration of its beloved e-reader is as lightweight as ever, but now also waterproof — great news if you’re a lifeguard, and simply a cool feature on what’s already an excellent device. Adjustable backlighting makes the Paperwhite easy to read anywhere, while the glare-free display won’t strain your eyes the way a typical device screen can. The Paperwhite’s battery lasts for weeks, so it won’t die on you no matter how long you’re stuck underground.
4. Anker PowerCore II 10000 mAh ($35.99; amazon.com)
Because not all devices can stay powered as long as the Paperwhite, it’s smart to keep a portable charger on hand whenever you know you’ll be away from an outlet for a while. This excellent option from trusted brand Anker holds enough power to charge your phone about three times, but is still small enough to fit in your purse or laptop bag. If you want an even smaller device for a quick top-off in emergencies, check out Anker’s PowerCore+ Mini ($19.99; amazon.com). Those who drive to work should check out Anker’s highly rated dual USB car charger ($9.99; amazon.com).
5. Repel windproof travel umbrella ($23.95; amazon.com)
Repel’s compact travel umbrella weighs just a pound and is small enough to toss into your purse or briefcase just in case, on days that are threatening rain. Water-repellent Teflon coating (yes, the same stuff used on many nonstick pots and pans) makes it easy to shake off droplets once you’re inside, and despite the umbrella being tiny, Repel’s durable, resin-reinforced fiberglass ribs help prevent the dreaded wind flip. It even comes with a lifetime warranty, so in theory, you could use it till the day you retire.
6. Yeti Rambler 20-ounce tumbler ($29.99; amazon.com)
You can’t go wrong with this exceedingly durable tumbler from Yeti. The company boasts that its insulated stainless steel cups are “virtually indestructible,” so unless your job specifically involves running over coffee mugs with a tractor, Yeti will keep your coffee safe and toasty on the go.
Note: The prices above reflect the retailers’ listed prices at the time of publication.