My Morning Commute, 8 Train Essentials.

by Her Happy Balance on January 29, 2013


*Hey bloggers, I have finally joined the world of #hashtaggingeverythingandtheirmother and have a twitter account! I would love if you followed me @HerHappyBalance and I can’t wait to follow you guys back!*

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I live in the suburbs and work in the city. So every day I have a pretty decent commute into work that involves a 15 minute drive to the train station, taking an hour long train ride, and then about a 10 minute walk from the station to my building.  When I really have to run to catch a train, I think I can do it in 7 minutes…that is if I don’t mind looking like a crazy woman in the process.  I’ve gone from being a total transit dumby  (as in never took a train ride alone before ever) to a seasoned train veteran. In fact, one of my accomplishments I put in my 2012 jar was that I took my very first solo train ride and didn’t get lost or miss my stop.  Hooray for small things 🙂 So over the months of train rides I’ve come up with a list of essentials, here we go:

1.) Get a lanyard that can hold your train pass. I’ve watched people on the train stumble around in their pockets for their ticket stub and they can’t find it and end up having to pay an additional fare. If you consistently store you trail pass or tickets in the same place you’re less likely to lose them. This is especially true for me because I buy monthly passes, they’re pretty expensive and I do NOT want to lose them!

My lanyard was free, so not Coach....Anyone want to get me this fancy one?!

My lanyard was free, so not Coach….Anyone want to get me this fancy one?!

2.) Become friends with your train conductors. Usually  I take the same trains coming and going every day, so I see the same faces all the time. If the day comes when you forget your pass, but you’re friendly with your conductors they usually will let you slide because they know your face and have seen your pass day in and day out. And, if you become friends with them, they’ll look out for you too. After my first big presentation at work my conductor friend brought me a candy bar and told me that he was thinking about me and hoping I made out alright. Yay, friends.

My candy bar gift from my train friend. Yes it was instagram worthy :)

My candy bar gift from my train friend. Yes it was instagram worthy 🙂

3.) Invest in an eReader. I was given a Kindle Fire for Christmas and I absolutely love it. But before I had it, I was reading any and everything I could get my hands on. I’d go through books on the train so fast that I couldn’t keep up with buying new ones. An hour train commute gives you a lot of time to read! When I ran out of books I’d read the newspaper but would often finish all the sections I wanted to read well before my ride was through. With my Kindle, I can stock up on books and as soon as I finish one, I can just start another. And if I run out of books then, I still have sudoku and crossword apps that I can amuse myself with.



4.) Choose a 2-seater over a 3-seater. Now some people will disagree with me on this one but I stand by my opinion. I take the train during peak hours (aka rush hour) and because of this, the train almost always fills up. Frequently, people are left standing in the aisles. If you choose to sit in a 3 seater there is a very good chance that you’ll get stick sitting in the middle spot sandwiched between two commuters, but you won’t have an arm rest or window to lean on. Three peas in a pod, not so fun. If you choose a 2 seater, you know that at the very least only one other person can share a seat with you and both of you will have something to lean on. Two > three.

5.) Have a fully charged phone on you. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for trains to be delayed, cancelled, or even sometimes you’ll get onto a train and the equipment can malfunction and you are stuck somewhere random. If you’re job is expecting you in at a certain time for a meeting and your train is late or you need someone to come and pick you up at the station you’re stranded at, it’s nice to have a phone on you that actually has some battery life. Bonus: follow your train station on twitter to hear about delays!

6.) Check the weather forecast. Dress warmly if  it’s cold outside. The train door will constantly be opening and letting in cold air at each stop. And always carry an umbrella on you, just do it, you can thank me later.

What I've felt and looked like leaving the house lately! (source)

What I’ve felt and looked like leaving the house lately!

7.) Don’t be THAT guy/girl. I have seen way too many weirdos on my train rides. There was the guy that played his guitar during the whole ride. The girl who got into a full-blown fight with her boyfriend and was dropping the F-bomb at a ridiculously loud decibel over her cellphone. The old man who keeps falling asleep on you (WORST EVER). The people who listen to their iPod with earbuds in but it’s so loud that you could totally sing along to their Shakira song if you wanted to…and you’re sitting 6 rows back from them. I’ve seen 10 year olds throw tantrums, as well as 40 year olds. Et cetera. Just be normal.  Bonus: watching said weirdos is highly entertaining. 

For a glimpse into what I’m dealing with, click here! (Like People of Walmart but on trains…not for the weak of stomach and mind)

8.) Bring Snacks. This goes along with #5…you may get stuck somewhere and you may be starving. I always have some nuts or freeze dried fruit in my satchel. Sidenote: people that bring really smelly ethnic foods or crunchy foods onto the train generally do not get picked first as a seat mate. So, if you are feeling crabby, go to town on a bag of something crunchy and people will most likely not sit with you and let you enjoy some alone time. 

One of my favorite train snacks

One of my favorite train snacks


Whats your morning commute like?

Do you have any tips for surviving a train ride or traffic?

Does anyone else wonder why we don’t have a teleportation device yet? I neeeeed one!

Comments on this entry are closed.

pickyrunner January 29, 2013 at 7:49 am

Man, this makes me really glad I live across the street from my school…and that I work within walking distance of the marina. I have zero patience for traffic and waiting.

Her Happy Balance January 29, 2013 at 3:38 pm

I am not patient at all…but with this commute I’ve learned to just accept it and make the best of it with lots of books. You’re so lucky that you’re close to school and work!

quartercenturysouthernliving January 29, 2013 at 8:16 am

I drive to work, but it sounds like you have come up with some great ways to enjoy your commute more!

Her Happy Balance January 29, 2013 at 3:39 pm

Well I’m trying to 🙂 A drive doesn’t sound like too terrible of a commute though. You can jam out to the radio at least!

quartercenturysouthernliving January 29, 2013 at 3:47 pm

Mine isn’t bad at all, I definitely rock out to the radio and I carpool 🙂

ashleybwalton January 29, 2013 at 8:31 am

I feel your pain, I cycle to the station, do a 45 minute train ride to Waterloo Station, tube for 15 mins (+ wait) and walk another 10 minutes to the office. That’s a good day when things work 🙂

Her Happy Balance January 29, 2013 at 3:40 pm

Keywords: when things work! I totally understand where you are coming from. At least you get a little exercise in with your bike ride in the morning 🙂

ArunaAdvaney January 29, 2013 at 9:28 am

I rode the train occasionally to visit a friend. I don’t read or listen to anything. I’m content to just stare out the window and zone out for the whole hour. I get really annoyed if people sit next to me. Feels like an invasion of my space, and I have this irrational fear of being trapped when my stop comes.

I have never done a busy work commute, so this blog scares me, lol.

Her Happy Balance January 29, 2013 at 3:42 pm

Yeah, I’ve had to accept that someone will sit next to me about 95% of the time. There’s just no space otherwise. I definitely would prefer to ride solo though. The trains not so bad though, you get used to it after a while. You’re lucky to have a nice commute 🙂

jumpeatrun January 29, 2013 at 9:31 am

great tips! I took the subway for the last 9 years in NYC and now living in Denver I have to drive…so totally different!

Her Happy Balance January 29, 2013 at 3:43 pm

Thanks! And what a big change! Which do you prefer, car or subway?

jumpeatrun January 30, 2013 at 9:29 am

not sure….I hate traffic, but there is something nice about the convenience of a car 🙂

Alex @ therunwithin January 29, 2013 at 10:42 am

this makes me happy because I am a commuter but I have to say the metro is way different in dc. there are so many weirdos. you can’t eat or drink on it. I barely get to sit making it hard to read a book, normally I just people watch. ps so happy you got twitter, already friends with you!

Her Happy Balance January 29, 2013 at 3:44 pm

Yay thanks for following me 😀 That stinks that you can’t eat or drink, who made up these rules?! Weirdos are always in abundance haha

Maureen January 29, 2013 at 10:50 am

This tip is from my dad, who commutes into NYC everyday. If you have a long train ride, skip the Venti Starbucks. You will need to use the bathroom well before your destination (he doesn’t do this, but he sees people do it all the time). When I commuted by train, I always had headphones with me, even if I wasn’t listening to music. Sometimes you just want to not talk to anyone and the headphones were a subtle way to let people know to leave me alone.

Her Happy Balance January 29, 2013 at 3:46 pm

That’s a GREAT tip! haha no one wants to be stuck somewhere needing to use the restroom! And you’re right, headphones definitely do give off the “Please leave me be” vibe, and that’s definitely something I could use bright and early in the morning.

Alex @ Cookie Dough Katzen January 29, 2013 at 11:17 am

I used to always wish to be teleported to my class when it was cold outside! I live in a small city so my commute to work is a few minutes but parking is always a little stressful!

Her Happy Balance January 29, 2013 at 3:47 pm

That’s nice that the commute is short, but I understand how finding parking could be stressful, especially at rush hour when everyone else is looking for a spot too. Let’s try to urge someone to invent a teleportation device for us 🙂

Running In Heels January 29, 2013 at 12:33 pm

Thankfully I live in the middle of nowhere so I don’t have to take the train but I’ll keep these tips in mind if I ever do, thanks!!

Her Happy Balance January 29, 2013 at 3:48 pm

Haha yeah I don’t think there are any trains that stop there 🙂 I guess you drive or walk everywhere?

Andrea @Pencils and Pancakes January 29, 2013 at 11:46 am

Omg I thought my hour drive was annoying….. I give you props… I will so follow you on twitter!

Her Happy Balance January 29, 2013 at 3:48 pm

Awesome I can’t wait to be twitter buddies! 🙂

Tiny n Fit January 29, 2013 at 1:38 pm

I used to have a 4 hour commute each day- hour drive to metro, hour metro in, then revers home. Obviously had to pay attention on the drive (ie no book reading!) but morning radio show hosts got me through ok. The metro I read books or listened to music. It was definitely scary the first time riding metro- and I even did test runs of the commute into the big city with my dad before I started my job! Long commutes suck in general- hats off for making the most of it!

Her Happy Balance January 29, 2013 at 3:52 pm

It is scary!!! I did a run-through my first time too 🙂 I’m not a huge fan of radio stations with lots of talking but I can definitely jam out to some 90s boy band music that I load in my CD player 🙂 I give you props for the 4 hours commute. That is crazy!!

warero February 3, 2013 at 3:27 am

Reblogged this on Javmode.

Her Happy Balance February 4, 2013 at 9:18 pm

Great, thanks for reading! 🙂

warero February 5, 2013 at 7:13 am

Thanks for writing! 🙂

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