Learning to live in the city is an education all of its own.
It takes a few subway mishaps, bathroom scavenger hunts and failed grocery shopping attempts to start to figure out what does and doesn’t work for you. Truthfully, the learning never stops. And like anything worth pursuing in life, it’s a never-ending journey.
But there are always tips and tricks we can share with each other to try to soften the blow of venturing into the concrete jungles of this world. From subway apps to money-saving tips, we’ve got you covered. Check out links and info below for backpack essentials, wristlet must-haves, budgeting tools and every app you need to conquer city-life like a pro.
1. What to Pack in Your Backpack
Because stopping at the CVS for 6-dollar chapstick will slowly kill you.
1. Durable Backpack: Go for a warranty and plenty of pockets.
2. Chapstick: Year-round necessity.
3. Headphones: It makes the city seem like a scene from a musical instead of its usual chaos.
4. Temperature-Proof Water Bottle: The hype is real people. Get one.
5. Tissues: For public restrooms that run out of toilet paper. And, well, runny noses.
6. Journal & Pen: For writing down all of your fantastic ideas, to do lists, notes and life lessons on the subway.
7. Umbrella: IF YOU LEARN NOTHING FROM THIS ARTICLE LEARN THIS. Always bring an umbrella. “But the weather says sunny and 85.” NO! Don’t listen. Stash it in the side pocket at all times.
8. Deodorant: Sorry, but you get stinky walking around all day.
9. Lip gloss: Always.
10. Blister Band-Aids: Life-savers for long days in heels.
11. Hand Sanitizer: Cities are well, germ-invested. Subways, train stations, public restrooms, etc. You need this.
12. Sunglasses: Protect your retinas.
13. Gum: Always comes in handy.
14. Hand Lotion: Helps combat the hand sanitizer usage just recommended.
15. Tampons: Enough said.
16. Snacks: So you don’t have to pay for a four dollar granola bar when you’re on the go.
17. Aspirin: Don’t let headaches slow you down.
18. Portable Charger: This will DEFINITELY come in handy when you’re lost in the city and your phone is dying.
19. Little Hairbrush: For quick fixes on the run.
20. Dry Shampoo: Who says a quick shower can’t fit in a bottle?
2. What to Stash In Your Wristlet
Because you can’t bring your backpack to the clubs.
1. Wristlet: This is your mini-backpack for transitioning from daytime travels to nighttime adventures. Make sure it also has the right amount of pockets, easy access to slip out your MetroCard as fast as humanly possible and (secure) place to store your phone.
2. Cash: More activities in cities than you may think require cash. You’ll need it for street vendors, fun little dive bars and especially for tipping.
3. Bank & Credit Cards: You’ll obviously need these, but be sure not to bring all of them with you at one time in case you leave your wallet in a taxi or it gets taken.
4. Lip Gloss: For touch-ups and quick application with drunken strangers/bffs in the ladies room.
5. Key Ring: For the many keys you’ll be carrying in city life.
6. Transportation Card: Often if you work in the city you’ll have the benefit of a pre-taxed transportation card for purchasing public transit. Make sure you have this stashed in your wallet if you need to re-fill.
7. Your Phone: The hub of the universe.
8. Important IDs: Your license, health insurance card, etc.
9. Public Transportation Card: For darting around the city like a pro.
3. What to Use For Managing Your Money
Because the city will rob you blind if you let it.
1. Clarity Money App: This is a LIFESAVER. I’ve tried many budgeting apps before and none are quite like this one. It keeps track of every bank account and credit card you have all in one place. It tracks your spending vs your income, lumps your monthly bills/expenses together and calls out your spending habits. Keep to your budget and you’ll survive the $15 cocktails. Download it.
2. Banking Programs: Even if you do have a kick-ass budgeting app, download your banking apps too and keep them bookmarked on your computer. Sometimes you’ll want to go straight to the source, and pay your bills on the go to avoid any kind of late payments. Chase, Discover, PNC, Bank of America; they’re all there. Setup reminders too.
3. Student Loan Tracking: This is 100% necessary. Learn how to manage your student loans here with step-by-step instructions, and even a Google doc template for tracking.
4. HR App (Trinet, Zenefits, etc.) : If your company has one of these it’s actually pretty amazing. You can jump into managing your time off, paychecks, tax information and more at a moment’s notice.
4. What Apps to Download (For Everything From Groceries to Laundry)
Because you’ll have to hear “Oh, there’s an app for that,” more than once at Happy Hour anyway.
1. YELP: For hunting down the best restaurants in town and reading snarky reviews.
2. Train Apps: Download your local train apps for buying tickets on the go, checking schedules and more.
3. Uber Eats: Uber doesn’t just deliver you to your drunken destination anymore, it also delivers you tacos.
4. Venmo: A must. Use Venmo for everything from splitting the brunch check to paying your roommate for the cable bill.
5. Cleanly: If you don’t have a conveniently located washer-dryer, check out Cleanly. It’s a Wash&Dry and Dry Cleaning service that picks up your laundry in your purple Cleanly bag one day, and brings it back cleaned and folder 24 hours later—right to your door step.
6. Uber or Lyft: Self-explanatory. Gotta-have-it.
7. Amazon Fresh: Ah, the best! For all of your grocery shopping needs. It’s affordable, reliable and absurdly easy to grocery shop with Amazon Fresh. Definitely worth a trial run.
8. Subway App: Catch delays, find the best routes and conquer the subway jungles.
9. GoPuff: On-the-spot delivery app for everything from toilet paper to beer. A little pricey, but fun if you’re in a bind and need something (well, anything) quick!
There you have it! Now go, embrace the magic and have the time of your life.