5 Essential Gadgets & Accessories for Your Daily Urban Commute

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Born and bred in the big city of New York, I regularly commuted on the subway, buses and rideshare services to get around the city and in and out of it, for school, university and eventually work. Over time, I have found these five accessories to be must-haves for every urban commuter.

1. Power Bank

Whether you travel by car, bike, public transportation, ride-share service or taxi, a power bank is the most essential accessories in the repertoire of every urban commuter.

If you are delayed by a derailed train, stranded in a broken down car, or feel frightened because a stranger seems to be following you home, you don’t want to be caught with a dead phone battery.

A power bank will charge your phone battery so that you can make emergency calls or solicit a ride-share.

I use my phone for so many things during my commute – texting, GPS, browsing the web, calls, reading work emails – that getting to my destination before my phone battery ran low or not being able to make or receive calls in the event of an emergency were ever-present concerns.

Now with a power bank, I needn’t worry.

Onn Portable Power Bank
Onn Portable Power Bank (Courtesy: Amazon)

The Onn Portable Power Bank is affordable, but charges my phone or tablet four times before the power bank needs a recharge.

The Onn Portal Power Bank is perfect for those who are simply seeking to keep their cell phone powered up.

If you also need to keep your laptop charged, you should buy a power bank that has over 5,000

2. Folding Keyboards are much needed accessories for typing

Tapping one-fingered at on-screen keyboards is very time-consuming, and can be a a pain in the neck if you have a lot to write. The solution is a foldable keyboard.

When folded up, the 1byone Foldable Bluetooth Keyboard is lightweight and about the size of an adult palm, enabling it to fit easily into your purse, backpack or briefcase.

The keyboard unfolds to about the size of a standard full-size QWERTY keyboard, making two-handed typing fast and easy.

I found the keystrokes quiet, and the keys to move freely beneath my typing fingers.

You have the option of charging the keyboard in advance and using Bluetooth to connect the keyboard wirelessly to your mobile device, or attaching the included extension to your charger cable and connecting the charging port of the keyboard to the charging port of a mobile device. One charge of the keyboard lasts me weeks at a time.

The 1byone keyboard is compatible with various operating systems, including Windows, Apple and Android devices.

The keyboard has worked reliably in the 3 years in which I’ve had it. It is attractive and convenient. Everyone loves the 1byone keyboard and asks where I bought it.

1byone folding keyboard when folded.
1byone folding keyboard when folded. (Ovia/andythousand.com)

1byone keyboard folds to a compact size, about the size of my palm of my hand, and shorter in length than my standard TV remote.
1byone keyboard folds to a compact size, about the size of my palm of my hand, and shorter in length than my standard TV remote. (Ovia/andythousand.com)

The 1byone keyboard opens up to standard size, facilitating two-handed typing
The 1byone keyboard opens up to standard size, facilitating two-handed typing. (Ovia/andythousand.com)

3. Citymapper

Citymapper is the best app for navigating your way through the complex maze that is public transportation in large cities worldwide, such as New York.

When I lived in New York City and worked in the surrounding suburbs, I was able to map out the trip from the subway to the NJ Transit train days in advance, if necessary.

The app would tell me with a high degree of accuracy how long the trip would be expected to take, and suggest alternate routes according to my preference or based on whether certain train lines were delayed or not in service.

If I decided last minute to hop on the bus to work out at the gym, the app would tell me how soon I could expect the next bus to arrive.

The app can be set to give me audio and visual notifications soon before it’s time to get off the train or bus, a useful feature for sleepy commuters, absent-minded commuters who get distracted and miss stops, and if you’re commuting to an unfamiliar area.

If I’m meeting up with other people, Citymapper lets me easily share my whereabouts and expected arrival time, or send friends step-by-step instructions on how to commute to my location.

Citymapper is available on both Apple iOS and Android devices.

Citymapper Home Screen
Citymapper home screen, displaying transportation methods that the app can assist with. (Ovia/andythousand.com)

Citymapper Suggested Routes
Citymapper’s suggested routes for a trip. (Ovia/andythousand.com)

Route on CityMapper
Route on Citymapper. (Ovia/andythousand.com)

4. Kindles are awesome accessories for urban commuters

The Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8 is a very useful gadget for the urban commuter.

I use my Kindle Fire for numerous tasks while commuting through a city. To keep myself marketable in the tech world, I use my Kindle to help me stay apprised of the latest technological advances.

I buy digital books on Amazon and download them to my Kindle.

Right now, I’m reading tech certification study guides. I have Kindle read the study guides to me while I drive my car, and I read them to myself and highlight passages and bookmarks pages of interest as I ride on public transportation.

If I need a break from studying, I can watch a movie or TV series on the 8″ (1280 x 800) HD display using the installed Netflix, YouTube or Amazon Prime, listen to music, read the news, or browse the internet.

If I want to explore new places, I ask virtual assistant Alexa for interesting landscapes or venues.

Alexa helpfully lists places in the general area that meet my criteria, as well as the distance and directions to get to them.

With the quad core processor, I am able to run multiple demanding programs without experiencing lag.

I have used other tablets in this price range, and they dragged when more than one app was opened, and crashed if I opened another browser tab or app while watching a video.

Amazon Kindle Fire
Amazon Kindle Fire. (Ovia/andythousand.com)

5. Lunch Purse / Lunch Briefcases are great accessories for bringing food while commuting

If I’m going to be at work for one third of the day – in addition to a long, tiresome and uncertain commute in each direction – I like to bring a meal along.

A standard lunch bag can be unsightly, and carrying an extra bag is an inconvenience.

Therefore, I prefer to bring a lunch purse or lunch messenger bag, which will not only sustain the temperature of my meals for longer, but will also store all the standard accessories I need on my daily urban commute.


Nikky Fashion Red Smart Lunch Handbag
Nikky Fashion Red Smart Lunch Handbag. (Courtesy: Wal-Mart)


Juliette Darras Insulated Lunch Bag. (Courtesy: Amazon)

Artecobags Messenger Lunch Tote
Artecobags Messenger Lunch Tote (Courtesy: Artecobags)



Featured image courtesy of Pixabay

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Andy Thousand
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