We Londoners all know the unwritten rules of commuting: leave room for fast walkers, under no circumstances stand on the left-hand side of the escalator and always let others off of the tube before you board. Here we provide a handbook to those who are new to the city and it’s workings…
It’s 7am, you’re cradling your cappuccino as though it’s the only thing bringing joy to your life while everyone on the platform is avoiding eye contact and looks desperately miserable. The train pulls in, it’s the first sign of life anyone exhibits in an effort to get the only thing that can make the commute bearable: a seat. You’ve achieved it, admittedly an elbow or two may have been used to your advantage but your bottom is sat very comfortably on a chair. Stage one complete. At this point it’s the perfect time to catch up on any sleep you missed the previous evening, or maybe even fit in a bit of a series you’re loving right now. You’re finally relaxed, and then your arrival into London prompts the true torture.
This expedition makes your train journey from the home counties feel like first class luxury; it’s time for the tube. There is no miracle I can suggest that will make this frankly hellish experience the highlight of your day, however, I have come up with a few tips that can make it slightly more bearable. Firstly, headphones are a must. Whether you choose to blast music to get you pumped for the day, or opt for a thought-provoking podcast, these options are great distractions from the underground. The High Low, and Reply All are podcasts which will get your brain into gear first thing, most likely when it needs it most.
If London’s sprawling streets and baffling public transport system are anxiety inducing, City Mapper needs to become as used on your phone as Instagram. It helps you get around through any means possible, helping you find the cheapest, quickest and least stressful route to wherever you need to be. It’s even includes Uber and cycle docking stations; literally providing you with all potential paths to take.
Lunch Time: Your Saving (Or Spending) Grace
It’s 1pm, the time you look forward to most each day, it means it’s time for food. What to opt for today, Pret? Leon? Itsu? The choices are endless, and lest we forget our good old friend, the meal deal. However, whilst popping out for lunch everyday may leave you feeling like Paris Hilton, your bank balance may not be reflective of such a lavish lifestyle.
Meal prep isn’t just for gym bunnies making Tupperware food look pretty, it’s actually a great way for you to get a really nutritious and yummy lunch for a fraction of the price of your usual lunch spots. Whilst the thought of spending your Sunday slaving over meals for the week may not sound too appealing, it can actually be quite therapeutic. What’s more, a guaranteed happiness is the joy you will feel when you realise you’re roughly £185 richer a month.
For days when a packed lunch simply won’t cut the mustard, CityMunch is an app you need in your life. They offer discounts (up to 50%!) on restaurant food for takeaway. If a posh burger would tickle your fancy one lunchtime, why not treat yourself for less? If it’s a Friday, you definitely deserve a reward for your hard work (or if it’s a Monday, because, Monday’s).
Life Beyond the Office
London is such a buzzy city with bars all around tempting you to after work drinks. However, London is also renowned for being one of the most expensive cities in Europe, and drinks are no exception. If £10 on a single G&T doesn’t sit too well with you, Dusk needs to become your London drinking companion. The app have partnered with a bunch of bars and clubs, in which you will be offered a free drink. What’s better, the more friends you invite to the app, the more free bevs there are to be shared. I’m seeing the office wide email being pinged out already.
On the evenings you’re feeling slightly less social, the gym can be a great outlet for any stresses the day has thrown your way. Consider joining a gym close to the office so the temptation to skip on exercise is less taunting. If your spin class is a one-minute walk away from your desk, you’re much more likely to be feeling that uphill burn at half 5, instead of being amongst the despairing home time commuters. Not only will your journey home be much more pleasant thanks to the quieter tube, but you’ll be in a much better mood thanks to those endorphins that will have been released.
To surmise, all you need to survive London is a smartphone, some headphones and a gym!