According to TUC figures, the number of people spending more than two hours travelling to and from work every day has jumped by 72 per cent over the past decade to more than three million. And with house prices in central locations continuing to rise, and youngsters needing to move further to afford rent, that trend is only set to continue.
But if you have a long and tedious commute every day, the good news is that there are some cool gadgets on the market that can make it more bearable. Check out our top picks for making the journey to work the best it can be.
Whenever you’re on a long journey, the ability to take a quick nap can make all the difference in terms of how you feel when you arrive. The Infinity Pillow from Huzi is a versatile travel pillow that aims to help you towards that restorative reset.
It comes in the unusual shape of a Mobius strip, which means you can fold, twist, stuff, wrap and bundle this sturdy pillow in a number of ways. Whether you want to wrap it around your neck, cover your face, or just scrunch it into a shape that will best support you, this is ideal for anyone who struggles to get comfortable and doze off on a train, bus or plane seat.
There are backpacks, and then there are commuter backpacks. Specifically designed for the long haul between home and workplace, the Everlane Modern Commuter Backpack is a thing of beauty, with a 100 per cent cotton twill exterior, a cotton/polyester lining, and full-grain leather details, as well as very comfortable, contoured straps.
At the same time, it also offers great functionality, with eight well-positioned pockets, so whether you want a distinct compartment for your keys, wallet, pencil case, notebook, water bottle … whatever, it’s easy to quickly come up with a system that will work for you. The construction is sturdy, there’s a padded laptop sleeve that will (just) fit a 15-inch Macbook, and it comes with a range of colours.
The right music, through high quality headphones, can whisk you away from the annoyances of your commute and take you to a better mental place. So trying to save money by buying cheap headphones (which inevitably stop working after a while anyway) is a false economy indeed.
Instead, consider investing something decent, like these luxury, high-end PRYMA 01 headphones (it’s pronounced ‘pree-mah’ in case you’re wondering). They’re the creation of Sonus Faber, an Italian audio manufacturer who've been designing world class sound products for more than 30 years, and craft all their products by hand. The result is truly exceptional sound quality, plus they look pretty darned stylish to boot.
The Brompton foldable bike is extremely trendy right now, but don’t let that put you off. It’s not just about looks; its foldability really does help you combine a cycle ride with a train or bus commute.
It takes a little while to get used to the folding and unfolding of the thing, but once you’ve had a little practice, you’re laughing. It’s a very nice bike to ride too, and because you can carry it into whichever building you’re going to, you won’t need to chain it up outside; so it’s much less likely to be stolen.
This clever little gadget is basically an espresso machine you can carry around with you. A compact, portable coffee machine, the Portable Espresso Maker is hand-powered, with a built-in cup and scoop, so you can make a decent cup of Joe wherever you go.
With a water capacity of 70ml, it holds up to 7g of coffee, and while the drink you make isn’t quite as good as using a real machine, it’s pretty darned close. Simple to fill and operate, its internal semi-automatic piston unlocks from its carrying position and you press this to control the amount of coffee that comes out. Small quantities of water are injected into the coffee adapter and after a few pushes, you get a rich, bold espresso. Very clever and very cool.
The problem with batteries is that they always run out so quickly. And yet on our commutes, we’ve become more and more dependant on our devices; for keeping in touch, doing a bit of extra work, or just getting a blast of entertainment.
That’s why this portable battery charger is so essential for long journeys, or when you’ve just forgotten to charge your phone or tablet overnight. Small and lightweight enough to carry in your bag or pocket, it provides the equivalent of almost three-and-a-half iPhone 6s charges or three Galaxy S6 charges. It also comes with surge protection, short circuit prevention and more advanced safety features to keep you and your gadgets safe.
Main image: Courtesy of PRYMA