Shopping·11 min read

19 Useful Products That’ll Make a Return to Commuting Way Easier

products that'll make your morning commute easier
Design: theSkimm | Photo: Day Owl, Amazon
August 19, 2021

Last year, many of us said buh-bye to a life of scrambling in the mornings to make our train or bus or beat the traffic, and hello to daily Zoom meetings. With a return to office now on the horizon (and already a reality for some), we’re looking to crack the commuting code. Aka we wanna make the journey from bed to office chair — bless the support — wayyy easier. Reset your alarm clock, we’re rising and shining.

For a car commute:


A charger that can juice up your phone, laptop, and stylus pad at once…

Ever have those mornings where you realize you forgot to charge your devices right before heading out the door? Meet your multi-port solution. Before you hit the road, just connect what you need. Plus it’s compatible with iPhones and Androids. ($25.99, Amazon)

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A car visor

A car visor extender to help with visibility...

Morning and evening commutes can be tiring, and getting a glare on your windshield can make for a huge driving hazard. One thing is for certain: Good visibility is a must. This extender attaches to the driver’s seat built-in visor and can dim the brightness of oncoming headlights. Safety first. ($29.95, Grommet)

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Car Trash

A mini garbage that’ll prevent a sea of wrappers from collecting underneath your seat…

You can attach this bin to the back of your passenger seat or to the gear stick. Instead of crumbling receipts or used napkins and throwing them onto the floor, you’ll have a place to put everything. PS: Throwing stuff in the back doesn’t count either. Into the bin it goes. ($9.99, Amazon)

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Handbag hook

A handbag hook that attaches to your passenger seat headrest…

So your bag doesn’t go flying when you round a corner. Now you’ll have a place to hang your coat and lunch tote too. Let’s be real, your purse looks better right side up instead of upside down on the floor. ($6.99/4 pack, Amazon)

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Audible Sub

An Amazon Audible subscription so you can listen while you drive…

Just because your hands are on the wheel doesn’t mean you don’t have the time or ability to listen to a good story. Sure, you won’t be physically turning pages, but you’re dedicated to your book club. With Audible, you’ll get access to tons of Audible Originals, audiobooks, and podcasts. To test it out, you’ll get a 30-day free trial. And to get you started, we rounded up six titles we’re loving right now. Happy listening. (Sign up here, Amazon)

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dish cloths

Swedish dishcloths to soak up spills...

You can use these cellulose cloths all around the car since they’re incredibly absorbent and fast-drying. One can last up to 12 weeks and 200 washes before being composted. We love how easy they are to use if you accidentally knock your water bottle while driving. They’re great to have on hand if you sometimes eat breakfast or lunch in your vehicle. ($14.95+/6 pack, Amazon)

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For a bus commute:


Bose noise-cancelling headphones for when someone decides to take a phone call on speaker...

Get ready for crisp, clear sound. These wireless headphones are a must-have while in public when you’re trying to block unwanted noise. Whenever you need to really focus, slip these on and play your favorite tunes. They feature three levels of noise cancellation, are Alexa-enabled for voice commands, and can connect to your phone or laptop via Bluetooth. ($249, Amazon)

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Portable charger

A portable charger so your phone never dies during a full day of meetings...

Better safe than sorry. When you’re running around the office or working all day on a project, the last thing you wanna see is that dreaded low-battery warning. This is one of those staples that’s great to keep in a bag for emergencies. You’ll truly never regret having it on hand. ($29.99+, Amazon)

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Air tags

Apple AirTags to help you find any item you may lose during a trip…

It’s easy for a wallet or keys to slip out of your bag, especially if you’re juggling more than one thing. To ease the panic that can occur when you realize — oop — something is not where it should be — attach an AirTag to valuables. It’s incredibly simple to sync ’em with your iPhone so you can trace items. If you’re an Android user, try Tile Mate. ($29+, Amazon)

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A used-book subscription

A used-book subscription so you can save money…

To keep great reads in circulation, this monthly subscription sends you gently used books. To refine the selection you receive, you can select what genres you enjoy most. From there, you’ll be shipped up to four books a month. Once you’re done, you can keep the books for yourself, pass them to a friend, donate them, or ship them back. ($6.79+/month, Cratejoy)

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For a train commute:

Lunchtime essentials

Lunchtime essentials that’ll prevent leaking as you travel from point A to B…

We all know eating in the office is a whole new ballgame since Covid-19. Packing a lunch is now the norm, from full meals to snacks. To keep your food fresh, we highly rec this lightweight bowl that’ll snap closed. For snacks like fresh fruit or pretzels, check out this glass bowl that’ll screw shut. And to be ultra safe, pick up a trio of reusable utensils that come with their own carrying case. Psst...we’ve tested all of these items and love ‘em. They’re durable, dishwasher-safe, and very convenient for life on the go. (Shop the collection, W&P)

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Commuter Pouch

For when you need to charge your laptop mid journey...

Collect your wires. This pouch will keep everything in one place: wires, adapters, and random must-haves like lip balm. So you don’t have to fumble while the train is moving fast. ($29, Day Owl)

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A card holder for easy access to your ticket, ID, and credit cards…

Carrying around a packed wallet can get clumsy and messy. To cut clutter and be ready when the conductor walks by, transfer your important items to a card holder. This way you can quickly flash your monthly pass when it’s time to show your ticket. ($8.99, Amazon)

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A modern satchel

A modern satchel that’s a briefcase and purse in one…

Introducing business chic. Aka it’ll help you accessorize to impress, while still holding all your essentials. You can pack your laptop, a charger, a water bottle, an umbrella, and more. Whatever you need to carry for the day will have a home so you’ll be fully prepared when the moment arrives. ($195, Haerfest)

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For a subway commute:

coffee cup

A collapsible silicone coffee cup that’ll make your morning ride much easier…

Hiii, subway — it’s been a while. With this on-the-go mug, you’ll be able to drink your cup of java while heading to the office. Once you’re done, you can collapse it down and toss it in your bag. It’s incredibly compact and won’t hog space or create waste (and that’s pretty cool). ($15, Amazon)

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 double-layer mask

A double-layer mask that has a pocket for a filter…

With adjustable ear loops, you’ll be able to get a snug fit. It’s also pretty lightweight, which makes it a perfect option for warm-weather travel. Once one gets dirty, you can gently hand-wash it before wearing it the next day. As a reminder, masking up on any public transportation is important (and often required). So no matter what mode you’re traveling in, always make sure you’ve got a mask with you before heading out. ($8, Blue Bear Protection)

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Sneakers to save your feet from aches and pains…

Plenty of shoes look great on — but then you realize they’re not very comfy to walk in for extended periods of time. While it’s way easier to wear heels around a padded office floor, it’s not so easy when you’re trying to gracefully get down subway steps. That’s why a trusty pair of sneaks is the way to go when you’re heading to and from home. We’ve been wearing these for months and find them lightweight, with plenty of arch support and cushion. ($30.99+, Amazon)

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Personal Alarm

A personal security alarm that hopefully never has to be used…

But you should always be prepared, especially if you’re taking a subway home late at night. When the alarm is activated, a loud siren is omitted to attract attention and ward off any danger. It can be used multiple times and attached to keys so you’ll always have an added measure of security close by. ($16.95, Grommet)

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No Touch Tool

For when you need to refill your subway card just before the train arrives...

Avoid touching buttons. Consider it the new alternative to using your hands. This keychain is shaped to fit around door handles too. The stylus end can be used on keypads and elevator buttons. And the shorter hooks function as a bottle opener. Aka your new go-to tool. ($4.50+, S3Holding on Etsy)

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If you buy anything from this email, theSkimm may get something in return. Oh, and if something’s out of stock, oops, it was there (and all prices were accurate too) when we published. Thanks.

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