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7 Free Commute Friendly Apps That Don’t Require Data

Whether you're on a bus, a plane or a subway, you can always anticipate that connectivity may be a problem. And even if your data connection is fine, there is still the fear of exceeding your monthly data usage, on top of the always-creeping anxiety that an emergency may occur during the worst possible time—like your commute.

Luckily for us, there are a handful of apps out there that can bring some excitement to your commute, with or without a wireless connection.

Here are 7 free apps that work off the grid so that you don’t have to.

  1. Spotify / iOS, Android

With the offline tool, Spotify allows all customers with an active subscription to play all their favorite tunes, without the need of a data connection. Here’s how:

When connected to WiFi, go to your music library and click on the Download switch at the top of the page, located right under the Image result for spotifyShuffle Play tool. Make sure the switch turns completely green.

Once you’ve turned on that switch, in a matter of seconds, all of your music should now appear with a small green, downwards pointing arrow, indicating that you have successfully downloaded all of you music. Now you can listen to all your favorite artists without the hassle of needing good connectivity!

  1. CityMaps2Go & Google Maps / iOS, Android

CityMaps2Go and Google Maps are your ultimate go-to apps for any kind of map directory assistance. Even if you're offline, these two apps enable you to plan ahead. You can download all the mapsImage result for citymaps2go of cities, provinces or villages that you may need to arrive at your final destination, all at just the tap of a button.

Heading somewhere obscure? No problem. Both CityMaps2Go and Google Maps have over thousands of directories to choose from!

  1. Google Drive / iOS, Android

Itching to put those finishing touches on that memo you've been working on? Need to start brainstorming for your next presentation? Then this app is sure to make your life that much easier.

When connected to WiFi at home, select a document from your Drive, tap the ellipses in the pop-up menu, and select Available offline. Google Drive will save the changes you’ve made locally andImage result for podcasts then sync them to your cloud once you’ve regained connectivity!

  1. Podcasts (iOS)

This free app allows you to fill in those boring moments on the subway with audio from all your favorite podcasts anytime, any place. From comedic offerings to local news, drama series and everything else in between, this app offers a plethora of podcasts that will soon make your daily commute something to look forward to. Simply download all your podcast when you're connected to WiFi, and then embark on your trip, now armed with hours of non-stop entertainment.

  1. Instapaper or Pocket / iOS, AndroidImage result for pocket

If you're the kind of person who loves to stay up-to-date on all the big headlines and breaking news, Instapaper and Pocket are the perfect apps for you. When planning ahead, simply click a “bookmarklet” in your open browser, and both apps will automatically save all those juicy long reads for offline devouring.

  1. Cut The Rope / iOS, Android

After a long day at work or class, make sure to ease your mind by playing a fun, yet extremely addictive game like Cut The Rope! Brought to you by the same company that invented the iconic Image result for cut the ropeAngry Birds, Cut The Rope is a pretty perplexing puzzle game that keeps you glued to your screen with its vibrant and colorful cartoon illustrations. Try it out for yourself. You may be able to post an impressive high score!

  1. Free WiFi Finder / iOS, Android

In our ever-so-connected world, sometimes there are emergencies that really do require decent connectivity. Luckily, the Free WiFi Finder, available for both Android and iOS, will help you pinpoint the nearest hot spot during those emergency situations.

It even has service in more than 50 countries around the world! Now that’s definitely a tool you want to keep in your pocket.

 

6 Signs Your Commute is Making You Sick

Frustrated girl in the traffic

Frustrated girl in the trafficAs the average American commute lengthens (it's now a 26-minute drive to work, up 20% since 1980), it is important to consider the adverse effects this traveling can have on your health.

Here are six ways to tell if your commute is negatively impacting your well-being:

1. You're coming down with a cold more often. This due to the fact that you are exposed to many bacteria and viruses in an environment as small and as public as a bus or train.

2. You keep having to set your alarm earlier and earlier. If you’ve ever set your alarm a half-an-hour, an hour, two hours earlier than usual just to “beat traffic”, then you know the taxing weight of sleep deprivation that seems to come with the job. What you may not realize is that sleep deprivation is more than just a nuisance that makes you tired all the time; it can pose serious health risks. LA sleep expert Michael J. Breus, PhD, warns that sleep deprivation “slows our reaction time, and that driving when tired or drowsy is like driving when drunk.” Sleep deprivation also leads to slowed cognition and chronic anxiety.

3. You have a bit of road rage. Sitting in traffic for long periods of time can really grind your gears, which can lead to anxiety. This will also raise your stress levels and, hence, blood pressure, possibly culminating in the development of serious heart issues such as heart attacks and heart disease.

4. The left side of your face is aging faster. Something that may not have crossed your mind before is the fact that while driving, the left side of your face is hit more directly by the sun’s rays than your right side, causing it to age faster. Imagine having wrinkles and dark spots only on the left side of your face.

5. Your commute feels just as long as your work day. Sitting for long periods of time can cause deep venous thrombosis, heart disease, diabetes, and premature death. It is advised to “get off of the train a stop or two early to get blood flowing, take a walk at lunch, or if you have a desk job, get up and walk to tell a colleague something instead of sending an email," according to personal trainer Ivica Marc. Follow these steps to help your body recover from sitting all day.

6. Your bicycle has emboldened you. The number of people use bike to work has increased by 64% from 2000 to 2013. That's great news, but it also means an increased risk of accidents and injuries. To minimize this risk, pay attention to the rules of the road and follow them; if you are unfamiliar with them, we encourage you to look them up. And of course, wear the proper safety equipment. Whether you are traveling in your car, by bus, train, or bicycle, we urge you to use your common sense and stay safe.

 

 

America’s Most Transit-Friendly Cities

Skyline of Los Angeles with freeway traffic,CA

Skyline of Los Angeles with freeway traffic,CALos Angeles is an amazing city, famous for its near perfect weather, outdoor activities and its close proximity to famed beaches. In fact, Los Angeles might be considered America’s most perfect city if it weren’t for its notorious traffic.

But is the traffic really that bad? Not so, says a recent Trulia article, Driving vs. Public Transit: The Search for a Better Commute. According to data analysis, the average driver’s commute was just 28 minutes, placing Los Angeles in 14th place among the nation’s largest cities.

Additionally, the research shows that the average transit commute was a modest 49 minutes. While transit commutes may take a bit longer, transit users enjoy the freedom to read, work or nap during their commute to work, a luxury not afforded to drivers stuck behind the wheel of a car. And, with less cars on the road, less pollutants are going into the atmosphere each day, making transit commuters green commuters.

The City of Los Angeles recently opened several new transit stations, and many more are planned over the next few years. Neighborhoods near these stations are growing in popularity and rental rates in these neighborhoods have increased. But consider the savings of fuel, vehicle repairs, parking fees and the planet.

While apartment homes situated right next to transit stations may charge higher rental rates, moderately-priced apartments within a half mile of transit stations are readily available in neighborhoods such as:

Westwood - A well-trafficked neighborhood, best known for the Geffen Playhouse and UCLA.

Palms - Dubbed as one of the best neighborhoods for Millennials, located on the Westside of Los Angeles.

Greater Wilshire - A densely populated, middle-class neighborhood, surrounded by museums, multi-cultural influences and historic sites.

Residents of these popular neighborhoods enjoy a less than 30-minute commute into the heart of LA each day.

So which cities are the most transit-friendly? Portlant, St. Louis and Chicago topped the rankings, followed by New York, Boston and Philadelphia. The least transit-friendly markets were Baltimore, Oakland and Riverside.

More information about the transit study, click here.

RNT_2016_V3_blog_inline_transit

 

 

 

6 Ways to Make the Most of Your Daily Commute

Young businesswoman commuting to work by train, seating beside the window and using digital tablet. The woman is casually dressed. She is pensive and seems committed while looking down on her tablet. There is a red briefcase on the seat beside her. Copy space has been left.

Buy and Sell Online

We all have a stash of unwanted stuff hidden away in a closet back home somewhere that just keeps piling up as the days go by. Well, what better way to spend that long bus ride home than by finally getting rid of all that clutter that we keep pushing to the bottom of our to-do list?

Take quality pictures of all your unwanted items, submit them online (Ebay, Poshmark, etc.), and watch your bank account grow. Use your commute to research the market, perfect your listing and respond to questions from buyers. You'll be saving money from commuting sustainably and through your online store. It's a win-win situation!

Write

Don’t worry. We're not advising you to write a novel (unless it's on your bucket list). By write, we mean let your needs write for you. On your commute to and from work, have a little fun with that creative mind of yours. Have a busy week ahead of you? Create an organized calendar that will guide you through your days. Had a particularly rough day at work? Put that pen to paper and vent away.

For those who have a true passion and love for writing, this option can actually become a profitable hobby. Many online magazines and blogs are constantly looking for freelance writers and guest submissions. Try it out and you may see your byline in no time.

Get Qualified

Use your commute to educate yourself and teach yourself some new skills. It could help you tackle some challenging tasks or gain a qualification that can be leveraged toward a pay raise.

If you’re not driving, put that phone of yours to use and look up some useful tutorials on YouTube—everything from how to get those six pack abs to how to change your broken car radio that you keep forgetting to make time for.

If you have to drive to work or school, I have one word: podcasts. There are tons of useful podcasts that you can listen to on your daily commute. Try listening to a podcast about finance that will give you successful tips on how to manage your money more more effectively. There's a lot of useful information out there that you can bring back to your job.

Do Homework

For all my students who can’t seem to catch a break from homework, your daily commute may be a blessing in disguise. Get rid of some busywork on your ride to and from school so you can get more time to relax later. Use your time at home to cook or catch up your favorite TV shows.

Clean Out Your Junk

Don’t we all hate getting those “Error: Memory space is full” messages? Let’s be honest: This is an issue most of us have been faced with, and yet for some reason, the thought of deleting thousands of photos and old messages is something we'd rather not spend the time to do. Increase your productivity by purging your inboxes and folders to free up space and make your life a little bit easier. Not only will this save you some time, but it might also save you from a situation where you stop receiving important emails because your inbox is full.

Nap

Are you tired of being tired? If you're like most Americans, you don't get enough sleep (experts say we need seven to nine hours of sleep a night). Depending on your commute mode, catch up on some Zzz's and take a power nap.

Good sleep is crucial to our mental and physical health, so why not take care of ourselves during our daily commute? Studies have shown that 10 to 15 minutes of can have a positive effect on your mind and body by boosting our focus and productivity.

 

5 Ways to Green Your Commute for Earth Day

globe in hand and spectacular sunset

What are you doing to make this planet a safer and greener place on April 22nd? With Earth Day rapidly approaching, what better way to celebrate than by playing your part in making Earth a cleaner, healthier and more sustainable planet for all.

We've compiled a list of things we city folk can do to give back to this planet we call home year round. Go big or go home, right? Don’t be alarmed though: We promise this list does not require for you to get your fingernails dirty or your shoes wet.

Here are 5 simple ways you can green up your commute:

  1. Go Electric. Electric vehicles are a man’s best friend. Yes, even above our own furry friends. These electricity-powered vehicles are able to transfer up to 80% of the energy stored in their small but mighty car batteries, unlike gas-powered vehicles that can only use about 14-26% of the total energy. And even better, electric vehicles emit 0 kg of CO2. Find your nearest EV dealer.
  1. Try an E-Bike. With so many shops here in LA solely dedicated to the sale and repair ofelectric and folding bikes, the time has never been better to try out your very own e-bike! With a brilliant combination of electric power and one's actual manpower, these bad boys will help you get in good shape for this summer—all while helping you do your part in reducing traffic congestion and air pollution. Check out LA’s very first electric bike shop.
  1. Drive at the Speed Limit. Yes, I know this one may sound like something we’ve all heard a million times, but there is a lot more riding on this law than just the safety of you and those around you. Driving the speed limit can actually reduce fuel consumption by 10% and can reduce GHG emissions by 0.12 tonnes per year! Now that sounds like a law worth following!
  1. Service your vehicle regularly. Truth is, many of the negative effects that come with driving our vehicles can be diminished with something as easy as checking your tires before work. Driving with one tire under-inflated by 20% can result in the consumption of approximately two weeks more fuel per year, which not only reduces your vehicle’s tire’s life by six to nine months, but also increases your vehicle’s annual greenhouse gas emissions. Even things like replacing clogged air filters in your vehicle can improve fuel economy and reduce GHG emissions greatly. So what are you waiting for? Show your car the love it deserves!
  1. Scoot, Blade, & Skate. Tired of the usual bike commute? Why not try utilizing other inexpensive ways to get from point A to point B such as rollerblading, riding a scooter or skateboarding!
    • Rollerblading’s increased popularity has captured the interests of many California natives. Plus, it has been proven to quickly improve your fitness and cardiovascular health while helping you avoid that heavy carbon footprint.
    • Skateboarding may not seem to be for the faint hearted, but studies have actually determined it to be a relatively safe sport in terms of injuries sustained. Join the other 11 million participants worldwide who have made skateboarding their own unique way of giving back to planet Earth! Also, don’t forget to join Go Skateboard Day on June 21, 2016, by skateboarding to work or school!
    • Scooters are a very inexpensive way to get to your destination. They are also gaining some real traction as an alternate means of travel for people of all ages. Additionally, they come in a huge range cool colors and sizes. I mean, what else could you possibly ask for?