Commuting this time of year can be tough — you have to haul stuff, stay warm and dry, be entertained, and keep your sanity. Over the last eight years I've tried all modes of transportation to my 14-mile-away office, and whether it's walking, biking, or riding the bus or train, I've picked up on a few key elements for making the trip a little more enjoyable. Here are my gifting tips for those commuters in your life.Clockwise from top left:
1. Noise Silencing Earbuds: Not only to keep yourself entertained, but to drown out the unavoidable noises around you. These are great because the ear buds work like ear plugs, and they even come with an app to use with your smart phone that further silences noises. Etymotic hf5 earphones, $149.
2. Thermos: Coffee is key to being awake by the time I get to work. I've tried several travel mugs, and this one is hands down the best at keeping beverages piping hot for the winter and icy cold in the summer. Klean Kanteen Insulated, $25.95-29.95.
3. A Durable Bag: Because a canvas bag just isn't going to cut it on the floor of a wet train or bus, or outside in nasty weather. Look for a leather, nylon, or waxed canvas bag with a reinforced bottom, or even one with little feet to keep it elevated off the floor. 2Unfold Laptop Bag / Heritage by hard graft, £400.
4. Reusable Bags: I use these all the time for toting stuff back and forth from work. They stash away so easily in my desk drawer or bag, and actually expand to a fairly large capacity. Envirosax, $39.95/set of 5.
5. iPhone/iPad (or other mobile device): If I had to pick one thing that has made my commute more tolerable, it is the invention of mobile devices. I can talk to my mom, browse the web, check email, listen to a podcast, etc. And last year I was gifted an iPad, which even further improved my commute by providing an abundance of reading material without all the weight. iPhone & iPad, prices vary.
6. Touch Gloves: So that you can still use your mobile device without your hands freezing while you're waiting for the train or walking to work! Agloves, $19.99-29.99.
7. Bike Handle: Genius. This handle makes carrying a bike up and down stairs and onto a train so much easier. Bicycle Frame Handle, $38.
8. Boots: Because trudging through the rain and snow is one of the worst parts of commuting. I have a few different boots to wear depending on the weather, but if you're going to pick just one, Hunters are classic, and you can get boot socks to keep your feet warm in the winter. Hunter Boots, $135-225.
9. Lunchbox: This is the one thing I don't actually have, but should. I usually use one of my reusable bags, but they don't do anything to protect from spills, and they definitely don't keep food warm or cold. Something insulated and lightweight that folds up seems ideal. Lunch Tote by BUILT, $24.99.
(Images: as linked above)