summer_commute_main.jpgSummer is here, and that spells longer and hotter days. For those of us who commute, it’s a hassle to take great pains to prepare for work only to get there sweaty and sticky due to the heat, not to mention smelling like a kid at dismissal time—or worse, smelling like the sweaty guy who sat beside you in the shuttle.

Although trading commuter horror stories over a few drinks with friends can be amusing, they’re never quite so funny when you’re suffering through them. Minimize the risk of getting into commuting mishaps (sure to be made worse by the heat and humidity) by planning ahead. If you don’t have a car (yet!), here are a few things you can do:

Beat the rush hour.

Try waking up an hour earlier so you can get to the shuttle queue ahead of everyone else. By waking up early, you’re also beating the summer sun, which will do its best to scorch you as you wait in line later in the day. This lets you get to work earlier so you can enjoy a quick nap, grab some quiet time while you get ready for the day, or finish up that report for the afternoon meeting!

Travel light.

Guys complain about it, and it’s no secret that we can put an amazing amount of stuff in our bags or purses—so you may find yourself carrying a lot of unnecessary weight! Have a separate bag you can leave at the office to hold your non-essentials. Besides your wallet and cell phone, try to keep just a few often-used items in your purse.

Wear comfy clothes.

A sleeveless shirt can always be covered up by a blazer or jacket (which you can leave at work). Likewise, your heels can be left in your office locker so you are free to wear flats, sneakers, or even slippers when commuting. This is especially great if your daily commute route involves a bit of walking. Just make sure you choose clothes and footwear that still look stylish—you don’t want to be caught schlepping around looking like a slob!

Bring wet tissues.

Most convenience stores carry several different brands of wet tissues, so they’re really not that hard to find. Use these on your face, arms, and hands to get rid of the dust and dirt and to keep you cool. These are useful for lunchtime spills or stains as well!

Don’t wear makeup . . . yet.

It’s a proven fact that dust and grime stick to makeup, so hold off on applying it until you get to work. It’s better if you can get to the office earlier so you’ll have time to apply your makeup before the actual workday starts.

Walk in the shade.

There are many underpasses and covered walkways along the business districts nowadays, so take advantage of those. Don’t sweat the longer route, think of it as exercise!

Carpool or cab-pool.

If you have friends who live nearby and work in your area, or officemates who live not too far away, why not implement a carpool system? Having friends around on the way to work can help make traffic bearable since you can chat on the way. For non-car owners, you can always do share a cab so you can go to work in relative comfort and safety and be able to split the bill so it’ll be easier on the wallet. Several taxi services offer to pick you up at your house and take you where you need to go and vice versa.

Bring a music player.

Staying cool despite the heat when commuting is not just about staying sweat-free—it can have a lot to do with your state of mind. Music can help you calm down and maintain a cooler head despite the hassles found on your daily route. It’ll also help tune out the guy snoring behind you!

Keeping cool during your summer commute doesn’t take fancy gadgets or a car. The hardest thing you’ll have to do is probably to wake up earlier than usual, but it will pay off in the long run to keep you not just physically cool, but emotionally calm as well. Starting the day right with your commuting goes a long way in getting through the day with high spirits and ending it right too!

(Photo by Paolo Pineda)

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