Here’s How Many Years of Your Life You’ll Spend Commuting


When it comes to the banalities of everyday life, few things are worse than commuting.

Whether you’re on a train, bus, or — worst of all — in your car in traffic, it feels like the most gigantic time suck.

You’re either wasting precious minutes/hours of productivity, or precious minutes/hours of relaxation and fun.

And it’s getting worse: The average American commute has increased to 26 minutes, The Washington Post reports.

Wondering how many years of your life that adds up to?

You may not want to know…

How Much Time You Waste Commuting — and What to Do About It

In 2014, more than 139 million workers commuted an average 26 minutes each way — a nearly 20% increase since 1980, according to The Post.

That means Americans spent a collective 3.4 million years commuting in just 2014, the report says.

“With that amount of time, we could have built nearly 300 Wikipedias, or built the Great Pyramid of Giza 26 times — all in 2014 alone,” The Post reports. “Instead, we spent those hours sitting in cars and waiting for the bus.”


So, how does that break down individually?

If you’re driving the average 26 minutes to work each way, you spend nine days each year commuting, The Post reports.

After 40 years of that, you’ll have spent an entire year of your life in traffic.

Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 3.24.40 PMHorrified?

I certainly was. But don’t lose hope…

One of the best solutions is something we frequently discuss on this blog: making money from home.

Here’s how to convince your boss to let you work remotely — even if it’s just one day a week.

If they’re not amenable, or you can’t do your job remotely, start looking elsewhere. Check out these 100 companies hiring remote workers, or start your own side gig.

Because we all know there are infinitely better ways to spend a year of this short and precious life than stuck in traffic.

Your Turn: How long is your commute?

Susan Shain, senior writer for The Penny Hoarder, is always seeking adventure on a budget. Visit her blog at, or say hi on Twitter @susan_shain.