By now I must come under the professional commuter category. I commuted to university by train for three years and ever since graduating in 2015, I have been commuting to work in Manchester. Commuting is interesting, to say the least. I think that even if you had commuted for 20 years, you would still be surprised at the things you see and overhear during your commute. Whilst I admit that being a commuter can sometimes be difficult, especially when things don’t go to plan, you’re stood the whole way and you feel like you’re wasting time, there are some benefits to commuting such as having time to do personal admin, read, write or simply just make the most of some thinking space! And as an experienced commuter, I know first hand that you can make your journey even smoother by ensuring that you have packed some key commuter bag essentials. So here are my top picks:

1. Hand sanitiser

No matter what bag I use, I always ensure that I have my hand gel. I literally don’t ever leave the house without it. As a commuter using trains or buses, it might sound a little disgusting, but protecting yourself from germs and bacteria is actually something that you should be considering. Just think about how many people use public transport and how many people you come into contact with during your commute. I wouldn’t say that I’m a germaphobe, but let’s face the facts; people leave their germs and bacteria everywhere. This includes on the buttons to open the doors, table tops, arm rests and seat handles, to mention a few. A little bit of hand sanitiser goes a long way in terms of eliminating those germs that we so easily pick up (literally) on our hands during our commute. You can also get 100ml bottles of hand sanitiser which are the perfect size for on the go protection whatever bag you use!

2. Bottle of water

Some of the worst journeys I’ve had are the ones where I’ve forgotten a bottle of water. Our bodies are made up of a high percentage of water which highlights just how important it is for us to maintain our water intake and stay hydrated. I for one feel so much more energised and healthy when I drink plenty of water. Also, you never know when your train might be delayed or cancelled, or even whether or not you have an on-board shop. Plus, it’s cheaper and more environmentally friendly to take your own bottle of water – so invest in a lovely reusable one! And don’t forget it..

3. Tissues

Simple and potentially life-changing as a commuter! You don’t want to be that person who finds themselves awkwardly sniffling throughout their whole journey. A small handy pack of tissues will certainly come in handy for snotty noses, as well as dirty surfaces and spillages!

4. Pen (and pad)

Make the most of your commute. The last thing you want is to feel like you’ve wasted hours of your day doing nothing. This is certainly a pet hate of mine! Your commute is the perfect time to think, reflect, read and write, amongst other things that you might choose to do. I don’t know about you, but I typically end up thinking about my to-do list during my commute and I generally manage to get some things ticked off it. I sometimes also use my commute for thinking time. In fact, a lot of my writing ideas have been conjured up during my commute, so a pen and small commuter friendly notepad are a must in my opinion.

5. Umbrella

How many times have you left home and arrived at your destination to find completely different weather? Be prepared for all weather and take an umbrella in your bag. We are living in the UK after all and there’s nothing worse than arriving at your destination; perhaps work or university drenched and feeling uncomfortable all day.

So that’s my five commuter bag essentials and I genuinely ensure that these useful bits and bobs are in my bag at all times. I hope you find them of use to you on future journeys!

Happy commuting!

Miller Arcade, PrestonAn umbrella always comes in handy in the North West. Picture taken in the Miller Arcade, a lovely Grade two listed Victorian Building in Preston. A must see if you visit!

What are your commuter bag essentials?

Have you any tips for fellow commuters?