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Formula for Determining How Much to Pack

(Days * Underwear,Socks) + (Belt) + (Occasions * Shoes) + Occasions(ShirtTypes * Days) + BadWeather(Coat/Jacket/Pullover) + Toiletries + Entertainment + medical supplies + weather gear(optional) + flight requirements (tickets, etc.)

Factors to consider

  1. How long is the visit?
  2. Weather forecast
  3. Occasion (business, formal, social, leisure)
  4. International or domestic
  5. Required equipment / accessories (work, personal)
  6. Entertainment needs (music, movies, books, e-books, etc.)

Example: 5-day business trip (technical, not executive)

  • For the flight / direct to hotel after landing:
    • Long-sleeve t-shirt over short-sleeve (layers for hot/cold)
    • Jeans or sweat pants
    • Tennis shoes which slip on/off easily, or flip-flops
    • Ball cap (not the one that says “F-U TSA”)
  • For the backpack:
    • Laptop, charger, cords
    • Phone charger and spare charger pack
    • USB thumbdrives
    • Light jacket (maybe)
    • Snacks, Medicines, Gum
  • For the suitcase
    • Dress pants (business casual)
    • Polo shirts (business casual, un-stained)
    • Underwear, t-shirts, socks
    • Dress shoes
    • Swim trunks
    • Toiletries (toothbrush, deodorant, shaver, etc.)

Other Aspects

  • Print boarding passes
    • I used to use the phone apps for boarding, but I’ve had issues at the point of scanning when the app locked up, or phone went to sleep, etc.   Angry people in line behind me.  And I see it happen to others quite often.
    • I still use the apps for check-in, assignment changes, and gate status, but for boarding I print the pass and it always works.
  • In-flight:
    • Aisle seat if possible
      • I like window seats on flights over interesting terrain
      • Otherwise, I like to be able to get up without waking up the snoring slob beside me
    • Passenger next to me = friendly:
      • Conversation
    • Passenger next to me = not friendly:
      • Short flight = Podcasts
      • Longer flight = Movies, books, podcasts
    • Alaskan Airlines = talk with flight attendants (they’re usually cool)
      • After 11pm = free wine (if they still do that)
  •  Layovers
    • Short (less than 1 hr) = direct to next gate. Don’t fk around
    • Medium (2-3 hrs) = eat, drink, charge phone and ear buds, phone calls, emails, etc.
    • Longer (4 to 12 hrs) = bar, restaurant, comfy place to lay out, charge phone, phone calls, emails, people-watch, read, watch movies, etc. (I picked up people watching skills when I worked in NYC years ago – makes for great stories, blog posts, tweets, etc.)
  • Hotel
    • Check in – drop stuff – go for a walk
    • Find the workout room / pool / Jacuzzi / bar
    • Lay out clothes for next morning (I can shave/shower/dress in 20 mins if I don’t goof around the night before)

BONUS!  Going Through Security (Tips)

  • Don’t make jokes using words like “explode”, “kill”, “shoot”, “stab”, “grenade”, “bomb” or “booby trap”. If you have Turret’s Syndrome and can’t avoid these words, stuff your mouth with cotton balls or an entire pack of bubble gum before going into the airport.
  • Regardless of what one TSA person says (or doesn’t say) take your belt off (long story) or wear pants with an elastic waistband (no belt needed)
  • Don’t ask if you need to put your penis in a bin to put through the scanner.  Even if you have one.
  • Remember: TSA people do not have a sense of humor.  It’s a job requirement.
  • Shoes that you can slip on and off without using your hands = very nice.
  • When they ask “what’s in the bottle?” don’t laugh and say “C4!”
  • While the TSA person stares at your photo ID and back at your face, try to not make a Clint Eastwood face, unless you can’t help it.
  • You can save $4 by bringing a clean, empty (dry) plastic bottle in your carry-on, and fill it with water once you’re done with the security process.

General Observations (Dave’s Travel Rules)

  1. The number of available charging stations or electrical outlets in a given airport is directly and inversely proportional to how low your battery is.
  2. SeaTac (SEA), Charlotte (CLT), Atlanta (ATL) and Los Angeles (LAX) best spots for charging are at the most remote wings of the terminal.  Kind of like most conference buildings.
  3. If the pilot says “it might get a little bumpy” and you’re NOT crossing over a mountain range, it’s probably going to be “a little bumpy”
  4. If the pilot says “it might get a little bumpy” and you ARE crossing a mountain range, like the Rocky Mountains, it’s going to be very bumpy.  This is particularly true if you’re flying into Denver (DEN) from the west.
  5. Evaluate your departure time and landing time, total flight time, and sleep schedule (before and after a time zone shift) and plan on sleeping during flights as needed.
  6. Avoid caffeine and alcohol during flights, unless you’re really angry, in which case, consume all you can.
  7. The people seated on an exit row are not going to help you escape when the plane goes down.  They’ll be the first out.
  8. There really aren’t any oxygen masks.
  9. There really isn’t a pilot.  It’s a blow-up doll and a recording.
  10. The air nozzles over each seat are fed from air in the restroom.
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