Whether you're a Seattle native or just visiting, getting around town can be complicated. Between traffic jams and construction work, plenty can go wrong on your commute into the city. Of course, you can get there by car, public transport or bike; plenty of options are available. But whichever way you choose, I have put together some of my top tips for making your commute as seamless as possible.
1. Tips for commuting by car
If you're driving into Seattle, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, the city is known for some challenging traffic; Seattle was recently ranked as having the 7th worst traffic in the USA. Don’t let that put you off, though, as there are many ways to improve your commute. Here are some of my top tips for traveling by car:
- Use a GPS app; it will always show you the best route to avoid any nasty traffic jams.
- Leave early to avoid rush hour traffic.
- Check for road closures and construction projects; most major roads will have detours posted around these areas during the morning commute time frame so you can plan your route accordingly.
- Avoid the carpool lane; stay out of it unless it's an emergency! You'll just be slowing down everyone else who needs to get somewhere on time too!
- Reserve parking in advance. Parking in Seattle is more expensive as you get closer to the city, and it gets even more costly on weekdays than at weekends. But if you reserve your spot ahead of time, you'll know exactly how much money you'll spend on parking before heading into town. I found that a garage for rent in Seattle was far cheaper than finding parking every day. With monthly parking, you can reserve the same space for a month, which is often far more affordable. You just need to type in where you want to be located near, find a space and book it! Simple right?
2. Tips for commuting by public transport
Seattle's primary public transport system is the Kings County Metro, a vast network of buses that can navigate you across downtown Seattle and beyond. The city also has a Light Rail service, Ferries, Water Taxis and Bikes that help connect you to anywhere you need to go. I have included a few tips below that will help you navigate the public transport system:
- Take the bus or train. Public transportation is a great way to get around Seattle, and it will help you avoid traffic. Check out this website for more information on getting around by public transport in Seattle.
- Use public transport apps. Many different apps can be used to plan your route and figure out when your next bus or train is due at the station. Some of my favorites are Citymapper and NextBus.
- Use the same mode of transport for both directions. So, for example, if you're commuting into downtown Seattle, take that same method back home too! This will mean fewer changes, which means less waiting time for you.
- Make sure you have a timetable! Refrain from relying solely on an app; always check schedules before travelling, so there are no surprises along the way!
3. Ways to make your commute more fun
It's easy to get frustrated with the gridlock, but there are things you can do to make it more enjoyable:
- Listen to music - Bring along some tunes that will make the time pass by faster. Of course, you don't want to put on something melancholy or depressing—it's bad enough being stuck in traffic without having depressing music playing too! Instead, try upbeat pop or rock songs with fun and cheery lyrics.
- Use your commute time as an opportunity to catch up on work-related tasks such as reading through emails or analyzing reports from other employees - This way, even if traffic does delay your arrival at work for a bit longer than regular hours each day, at least you're accomplishing something productive during those extra minutes during your commute.
- Listen to podcasts - Whether you're into comedy, news, or learning something new, there's bound to be a podcast out there that speaks to you. The best part is that they're free! So you can subscribe on your phone or computer and listen whenever you have time.
- Listen to audiobooks - Audiobooks are great when you want something exciting and entertaining without overthinking what happens next because someone else narrates! Listening while driving makes the miles go by even faster. I particularly like to do this while driving; listening to all those words being read aloud with emotion by someone who loves books as much as (or more than) I do is a brilliant way to pass the time.
4. Plan your trip carefully
To beat the traffic, plan your trip carefully.
- Know and be prepared for traffic patterns. The Puget Sound region is known for its heavy traffic, which can occur anytime and anywhere. If you're new to commuting into Seattle, it's best to check drive times before you leave home—this can help give you a sense of how much extra time to allow yourself in case of unexpected delays or backups.
- Use technology to plan ahead of time. There are plenty of apps available that will help guide you through your commute with ease: Waze provides real-time information on construction zones and accidents; Google Maps helps find alternate routes based on current traffic conditions; Commute Seattle is an excellent resource for more information about local transportation issues like Metro bus schedules or carpooling opportunities. These services are handy if big events are happening in town, like Seafair weekend or March Madness tournaments!
Commuting can be a pain, but you don’t have to let it ruin your morning. If you’re looking for ways to make your commute more bearable, we hope these tips will help. We know it can be frustrating when things don’t go as planned, but don’t let that discourage you! As long as you have a plan, take advantage of modern technology and minimize delays (or at least prepare for them), there is no reason why your morning drive shouldn’t be smooth sailing. You might even find yourself enjoying it more than ever before!