Most people spend hours every week commuting back and forth to work. This can either be an easy or painstaking process, depending on how far your live from your office. In fact, according to a recent study, the average commute each way in cities like NYC, LA and SF is half an hour or more. A great commute can make your attitude towards work much better and save you a lot of time in the process. But how do you identify a great commute in a new apartment or during the apartment hunt?! Follow these quick guidelines to ensure you’re riding happy to work from your new place.
Determine how long is “too long”
If you have had a great commute in the past, or a bad one, you’ll start to figure out how long feels “too long” to be commuting back and forth each day. As a general rule, commutes are best when they are under an hour. The lower you can go, the better! Of course, your budget will usually determine where you can afford to live and, unfortunately, the length of the commute often has an inverse relationship to rents, so be realistic.
Select a location that makes sense with your other activities
If being close to work is out of the question, select an apartment with a location convenient to other parts of your life. Perhaps it’s forty minutes from work but five minutes from the gym, fifteen from your parents house, and eight from your favorite hangout spot. If you must accept a longer commute, figure out how to save time elsewhere. For example, choose an after-work activity like a gym or park near your work so you can get in your workout during the height of rush hour and speed home when the roads clear.
Check Google Maps
Google maps has an amazing feature to check out your potential commute! When you narrow your search to a few key apartments, enter the address and your work’s address, then adjust the “Leave By” or “Arrive By” times to the time you should arrive to work. The tool will estimate how long it takes you to get there at that time of day! This is a quick and easy tool to help you identify when an apartment gives you a great commute… or a bad one.
Ask your co-workers and friends
When considering your commute, ask your co-workers where they live and what their commute is usually like. If you’re checking out apartments in areas where your friends live, quiz them on normal traffic patterns and normal commute times. This will help give you some real-life clarity into the commute from various locations.
Finally, test the commute
Before you sign your lease, if possible, test both the morning and evening commutes. This may mean getting up super early to get to the new apartment location early enough you still get to work on time.
Finding the perfect first apartment includes a ton of factors, from location and price to amenities and decor. Don’t forget commute in your search, and you’ll thank yourself later!