If you’ve just returned from a lovely long hot (well maybe not so hot if you stayed in Britain) summer holiday, then there’s probably one thing you’re dreading.
Yes, you really must go back to work and if you hate that morning and evening commute then perhaps this article will soften the blow of getting there and back.
But however you choose to travel – whether it’s by train, tube, car, bike or on foot – there’s always some technology to help brighten up a journey.
My Top 10 gadgets, websites and apps are below – and if you’ve got a favourite, then share yours in the comments section.
If you live in London there are only two things you want to know each morning – whether there are delays on the Underground and when your next Tube is due. This very handy, and very simple, app tells you both. Just click on your chosen line or station for live service updates and departure boards.
Anyone who has ever travelled by overground will have called National Rail Enquiries at one point for timetable or fare information. Their website has all that and more – offering services such as SMS alerts if your train is delayed, a virtual customer services rep and even a Twitter feed giving out live travel information.
If your train journey lasts longer than it takes to scan the free newspaper you picked up at the station, which let’s be honest is all of them, you’ll need something else to fill your time. That’s where this Sony Reader comes into its own – being light enough to fit into your pocket, but powerful enough to hold 1,200 downloaded books. There are even different colours to suit your personality, from stylish grey to shocking pink.
Google Maps – available for Android, BlackBerry, iOS, Nokia and Windows handsets – is the one app everyone should have on their phone. Whether you’re walking, cycling or driving as part of your job, it offers handy directions, step-by-step navigation, traffic updates, a guide to nearby places of interest and, as you’d expect from the name, lots and lots of lovely maps. Best of all it’s FREE.
This lead, costing £15, is hardly a snazzy piece of cutting-edge technology but the fact it lets you plug your iPod, MP3 player or digital radio into your car stereo will save you having to listen to the same old analogue radio stations or that one CD you keep forgetting to change.
With petrol prices currently going through the roof, even getting a few pence off a litre each time you fill up will save a lot of money in the long run. That’s where this app comes in, using the iPhone’s GPS to locate nearby petrol stations and telling you the price at the pump at each of them.
If you’re one of those strange people who likes to combine the daily commute with an exercise session then these next two are for you. First up is this cool wireless sensor that fits into your trainers and then sends your workout info to your iPod nano, touch or iPhone.
For those who prefer cycling to a good run or power walk, then this is my pick of the best bike apps out there. You hit the ‘start’ button when you begin your journey and ‘done’ at the end – and it will automatically put your speed, distance and journey length into that day’s calendar. Do it the next day, and the next, and you’ll soon get a pattern comparing your journey times and helping you improve performance.
Also known as Boris Bikes, these are the most environmentally friendly way to get around London. Just pay a casual hire or subscription fee in advance on the website, pick up a bike from one of the docking stations all over the capital and drop it off when you’re done. Even if you’re not interested in the 24/7 scheme, the website also has lots of useful cycling tips, routes and information.
However you’re getting to work, bad weather can delay your journey greatly or even make it impossible. So while you’re still tucked up in bed, check out this website on your laptop or tablet. Then if it’s stormy outside, maybe ring the bossl, tell them you’ll be late, and stay under the covers for a bit longer checking out Facebook and Twitter.