11 Things All College Commuters Need

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As you all know, I spent my first year of college commuting from home. Here are some esentials I always kept with me or wished I didn’t forget.

1.//Water Bottle

I feel like this is on every list, but it’s important. I would not have drinken as much water as I did last year if I didn’t have a water bottle. I also drink a lot of water anyway, so it was nice to have when I was thirsty in class or on the train. This water bottle is the best one I’ve used all year. The first two leaked, but this one is sealed and is really good at maintaining temperature. After buying one, my mom bought three more. They’re really good quality and will last a long time.


Most commuters don’t have a meal plan, so we usually eat out which can get expensive. I brought lunch from home at least 3 times a week, but I would get hungry for snacks once in a while. Whenever I didn’t carry snacks with me, I’d end up buying something from a convenience store which was both expensive and unhealthy.

The best way to save money is to keep snacks with you. I usually kept walnuts, crackers, dried cranberries, and chocolate chips with me. Sometimes I’d have fruit snacks. Those things usually curbed my appetite whether I was craving something sweet or salty. My mom bought tiny tupperware boxes for me to carry them in. I’m pretty sure she bought them from Costco, but I’m not sure. It was easier to pack snacks in those rather than ziplock bags (which is what I did the first few months). They stopped the snacks from getting squished or broken.

3.//A Sturdy Backpack

The strap of my backpack ripped near the end of the school year, which was a bit stressful. It wasn’t too bad. I was just careful about not picking it up from that side. I’m definitely buying a better quality backpack this summer because I carried my entire life inside that bag, which is something most college commuters go through. It was a bit more of an extreme case for me because I took the train, so I couldn’t leave stuff in my car. That bag was heavy.


Atlanta has ridiculously inconsistent weather. It’ll be warm one day, then snowing the rest. We were actually having a drought last semester, so it was a good thing that it rained pretty heavily for weeks near the end of it. I always kept an umbrella in my backpack because I knew I’d need it at some point. If you live in a drier area, maybe you’ll do okay without one, but I knew I’d need one down here.

My mom also gave me one of those disposable ponchos to keep in my bag. I never used it because I had an umbrella, but better safe than sorry.

5.//Portable Phone Charger

This should be a given. I rarely used it, but it was nice to have in case of emergency because I was in the car and on the train a lot last year. You never know when you’ll need one.

6.//Audiobooks + Music

These two things made my car rides bearable if not amazing. I usually got mine from the library, but the library mostly has audiobooks for older novels. Nowadays, audiobooks are downloadable. It’s still possible to rent newer audiobooks on my kindle, but Audible has a larger library, so you could consider getting audiobooks from there. The first month is free.

7.//Toiletry Kit

I didn’t always have everything on hand, but I wish I did. Here are some things I would keep with me for forget to keep with me in my Freshman year.

  • Pads/Tampons – Duh!
  • Chapstick – It’s useful to have.
  • Sunscreen – It’s sunny in Georgia
  • Makeup – I don’t usually wear it, but I’m sure people who do would want to keep some with them for touch ups.
  • Hand Sanitizer – I did this at first because I already had it and was on the train every day, but stopped when I ran out. I’m not much of a germaphobe.
  • Contact Solution – I should carry this around more. I used to in high school but fell out of the habit. I’ve also stopped carrying around my glasses, but I should do both just in case a contact falls out. Driving home would be dangerous.


I personally wouldn’t have been able to live without my laptop last year. Both for school and entertainment purposes. The first semester, I got all my homework done on campus in between classes. I could’ve done that without my laptop because there were computers at the library, but since I carried my laptop around with me, I could work from anywhere.

It’s also great for entertainment purposes. If you schedule your day well, you’ll have some downtime. I spent some time watching Netflix or reading blogs at some point during the school day. I would also write blog posts back when I was more consistent (I’m trying to get back to that). Having a laptop was just more convenient than using the school computer, which I used whenever I left my laptop at home.

9.//A Book

I always read on the train. I’m lucky that I don’t have motion sickness when I read in vehicles, otherwise, I’d have been so bored. You have a lot of downtime if you’re a commuter, so it’s best to bring something to do.

10.//Emergency Cash

I think every person should keep emergency cash with them, but it was especially important for me because there were way too many ways for something to go wrong, whether I forgot to pack lunch or needed to buy a train ticket home. There were no emergencies this year, but better safe than sorry.

11.//A Well-Made Schedule

When you’re a commuter, you need to set up your classes very strategically. It can’t be too early because it takes time for you to get to campus. You also need to schedule time in between classes to eat lunch, to work out, to meet up with group members for projects, etc. This is an essential that I could write a whole post about, so I won’t go too much into it now, but there’s a reason this is on the essentials list. This can make or break your semester.

Well, that’s it I guess. I’m sorry I haven’t posted that much in the last few weeks. I haven’t been experiencing writer’s block because I have a lot of ideas, I just haven’t been able to bring myself to sit at the computer and write. I’ve also been working a lot, but that’s no excuse. I’ll get back into the swing of things I promise!

P.S. This Monday is my 1st blogiversary! I can’t believe it’s been a year! It went by so fast!


What are some essentials you would recommend to college students? 

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