My Travel Tips

There are internal discussions going on among Mozilla employees about how best to save money when travelling. Inspired by that, here are my travel tips. Some of them are money savers, some are just, well, good advice. Chris Heilmann has given us his; most are good, although I’m no fan of layovers.

Packing List

I have a “packing-list.txt” file on my computer, organized by “context” (Clothes, Tech, Abroad, Cold, Hot, etc). Before each trip, I print a copy 2-up on a side of A4, then go through and cross out the things I’m not planning to take. I then go and gather up what’s left. This requires so little “er, do I want to take this?” brainpower that I can normally pack for any trip in about 20 minutes, and it’s extremely rare that I forget anything important. If I notice myself writing the same thing on more than a couple of times, it gets added to the file. If I notice myself crossing something off almost every time, it gets removed.

Airbnb

Although I’ve had one less-than-stellar experience, I’ve also made 2 good friends through Airbnb. There are Airbnbs in walking distance of many of our offices (they are a bit thin on the ground in Mountain View). And you normally get nicer conditions at a cheaper price than a hotel.

Misc

  • Never leave you passport anywhere except in your bag or, while using it, your pocket. This particularly applies to on tables, in plane seatback pockets, etc.
  • Why rush onto the plane? You end up queueing for ages, and the worst that can happen if you’re last on is that there’s no room for your bag and the stewardess has to put it somewhere else and give it back to you when you get off.
  • While parked at the gate in your home country, use the Internet on your phone to check out reviews of the available films. Gotta be quick…
  • Online checkin and no hold luggage means that you can arrive at the airport as little as 1h 15m in advance and still be very relaxed going to the gate.
  • Buy a Thinkpad X-series and an extended battery. The 9-hour battery life is great for Europe-to-West-Coast.
  • If travelling for only a few days, don’t attempt to cross all the timezones. Get up early/late and go to bed early/late instead. Just because it’s 3am local time doesn’t mean you can’t be doing useful work, or calling your wife, or preparing a Bible study, or something else productive.
  • Arriving at Brussels on Eurostar, your ticket is valid to go to any station in the city. So don’t get a taxi, just go upstairs and head for the Central Station, 7 minutes away.

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