02 Jun Packed
Category: Personal

With just a little over 24 hours to go until I am airplane-bound for 13-14 hours for my trip to San Francisco, I’ve packed my bags. Ever since I first flew internationally on my own I have a simple process that I’ve refined over time which helps me get through the long flight, stay connected with home while I’m away, and makes sure I never miss anything should have with me on my trip.


This is my ‘field pack’ (there are many like it, but this one is mine). It’s really the stuff I want to have within arm’s reach when I am on the plane, and also once I’m on back on the ground. I fill up the two iPhones with video and audio entertainment, and a few games. The Incase battery slider (top left) gives me a full iPhone battery charge (for the iPhone 3G) so I can watch some video on the other iPhone without depleting all of its necessary juice. The iPod is an external hard drive for my slighly crammed 80GB Macbook Pro. It may be almost three quarters of a decade old, but it works just fine for that. This month’s choice of book: Frank Herbert’s Dune. Last time I read it, I was 14 years old. Unfortunately, I don’t have the English version handy.

The field pack goes into my laptop bag, and the rest of my carry-on (digital SLR camera, etc.) goes into a regular rolling case. I have the obligatory o and such in my checked bag. As the cliché goes, make a list of all your stuff so you don’t forget anything. I keep all my email (with airplane tickets, address info, etc.) locally stored on my iPhone and laptop. It’ll come in handy.

Some general tips if you’re going:

Bring a book. It sounds low-tech, but books are light, convenient entertainment that can last you for hours if not days. Best of all, however, they don’t require any power. Keeping your iPhone (in my case, at least; media player and separate phone owners rejoice) high on battery life is essential. You might need it. If you are bringing a book, do share which one you intend to pack in the comments.

Be prepared for stuff breaking down. Yes, that includes your laptop and iPhone. Prepare your bank account in case something bad like this happens (or even worse).

While you’re still at home and packing, and have one or more computers that you use primarily or at least regularly, set up a VPN server. I got a Mac OS X Server license for my Mac Pro when I bought it, because I like its easy, out-of-the-box services, but there are solutions for ‘regular’ flavours of OS X, Linux, and even Windows as well. You can also buy a router/modem with VPN server capabilities, although they are often quite pricey. The effort of making a VPN work is absolutely worth it if you have data at home that you can’t or don’t want to bring, but may be useful. I’ve lost count of the times my VPN connection has been extremely helpful to me while away.

Some people have asked me about jetlag, and I haven’t had any serious problems with it in the past. I think this is partially due to my slightly different working hours (often late into the night), and my tendency to go into the plane relatively low on sleep. I then take a nap once it’s night time in the time zone I am flying to. This routine has served me quite well in the past, but your mileage may vary.

Joe Goh has some nice tips for first-time WWDC attendees as well.

What’s in your pack? Got any great anti-jetlag tips for those that suffer heavily from it? Hope all of you attending WWDC or San Francisco have safe travels – I’ll be updating the blog again when I’m settled down in North Beach.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

16 Responses

  1. 1

    man… wish i was going. have fun tho, and take some pics for us to enjoy :-)

  2. 2
    Jamie Kendell 

    I’m someone who has problems sleeping in the plane. I usually try to sleep a lot to get some downtime during the flight – use sleeping pills for that. works okay. but I hope there’s people offering better solutions.

  3. 3
    Jamie Kendell 

    And oh, last time I packed Anne Frank’s diary. good read.

  4. I hope it’s not a currency converter that I’m seeing there!!! ;)

  5. 5

    Haha, no, that’s an RSA SecurID-style bank website login device. :)

  6. 6

    My field pack is going to be a little lighter on my back this year. I treated myself to a Kindle earlier this year and have been loving it ever since. I read fairly quickly so it replaces the need for me to carry many books with me, or pick one up at the airport. I’m looking forward to reading Neal Stephenson’s latest ‘Anathem’ and Chuck Palahniuk’s latest ‘Pygmy.’ Other than that it’ll be my iPhone, some headphones, some mechanical pencils, a couple moleskines and a few packs of gum to help my ears pop.

    The one piece of gear I bought many years back that I now can’t travel without is my AirPort Express. It’s great for hotels that give free internet but tie you down to a LAN line. If you’ve got one that’s not going to be in active use at your house while you’re away I definitely recommend bringing it.

  7. 7

    The first thing I thought: “Omg a random reader!”. I’d never considered to bring that with me. I wish you a very good time there at the WWDC. Save some pictures for me!

    Greets from another random reader user.

  8. 8

    Lieve broer!
    Ik wens je alle goeds daar aan de overkant van de grote plas. Als je terug bent moeten we misschien weer eens meeten, misschien in Zwolle?
    Goede en veilige reis!

  9. 9

    Bringing my friend’s copy of “Män som hatar kvinnor” (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) by Stieg Larsson. Very popular in Scandiavia, thought I might read it. Going on Saturday for San Francisco, gonna be so exciting!

  10. his is my ‘field pack’ (there are many like it, but this one is mine).

    haha love the training quote.

  11. 11

    Is that the Revoltech Fraulein Ayanami I see on your book there? :D

    I always freak out the night before a trip and end up packing two novels, two nonfiction books, and five manga tankoubons, just in case. I can’t tell what kind of mood I’ll be in once I get there! Sometimes I finish several books on the trip; other times I barely open any of them at all.

  12. Peter Hosey has a great article titled “WWDC Survival Guide.” (http://boredzo.org/blog/archives/2008-06-05/wwdc-survival-guide)

    Though I’ve never been, it seems helpful. Someday…

  13. 13
    Kevin LaCoste 

    Thanks for the VPN tip. Hadn’t occurred to me to do that…

  14. 14

    Great advice you’ve got there! Do you mind me asking what pen is that on the book? Is it good? Consider my question as a quest for the ideal on-the-go pen.

  15. 15

    It’s okay :) Not sure where I got it.

  16. 16
    Abbi Vakil 

    Not to be a shill, but I couldn’t help but notice that you have diff types of iPhones and even an iPod you’re traveling with. You should’ve packed an iV from FastMac.com; here’s a link in case you’re interested: http://fastmac.com/iv and I’d be happy to send you 1 of our T-shirts because I admire your work and also a discount coupon.
    Sorry to have missed you @ WWDC