No, that’s not a typo– I don’t mean packaging. I’m getting ready for the Maemo Summit 2009 in Amsterdam and thought I’d share some experiences and ideas for fellow travelers.
I learned a lot from my last boss at Nokia, who was constantly jetting off here and there. But I also gained hard-earned wisdom from embarassing experiences as well.
On my first trip to Helsinki (my first overseas) I unpacked in my hotel room to discover my laptop was missing. I realized I did not remember checking it anywhere along the route– which meant it had apparently been left behind. A colleague back in Irving confirmed it with a chuckle at my expense. I had taken everything but the computer.
Fortunately I had prepared my N800 with a trial enterprise solution some Maemo guys had put together as a side project. This meant I had a VPN client with which I could reach Nokia’s intranet resources, and was able to perform about 80% of what I needed to do there… albeit with some squinting.
Lesson 1: keep your wits about you, slow down, and make a checklist.
As the N800 preparation shows, even though I can be scatterbrained I’m a big believer in contingency planning. Maybe because I am scatterbrained.
This means I carry a backup phone and extra clothes. But on my first few trips I overdid it. This became obvious in Zurich when the military took extra interest in the wires and devices in my backpack. Other passengers in line were not amused. The subsequent inspection delayed me a bit but thankfully not by too much.
Lesson 2: try not to take so many gadgets, regardless of how fun they are. And if you must, then perhaps put them in checked-in luggage instead carry-on! (edit: just keep in mind the risks, as Antonio notes below).
On that note, it occurred to me today that since I will be bringing a few electronic items to Amsterdam, it might be wise to include a note and some printouts related to the event atop the stuff in my checked-in bag. Something to assure the inevitable inspectors that my gear has a harmless purpose.
I have also learned that dry cleaners will gladly fold and seal your shirts if you ask, rather than hanging them. This way they take up less space and arrive neater. I have also discovered that putting shoes in the outer pocket of a bag is a very bad idea, no matter how stiff the material is. Finally, printing out directions and destination details beforehand is very, very useful. Trust me on that. Same for loading your cell phone with important contacts.
I also make sure I bring at least two days clothing in my carry-on luggage. During two out my last three trips my checked-in stuff has gone on separate journeys… and clothing in Helsinki is expensive. I sympathize with the citizens. Hint: avoid Stockmann.
Things I tend to lose or forget (other than laptops) are toothbrushes, combs, deodorant, belts and writing materials… so those get high priority on my list. Shopping for deodorant in Mexico is not high on my list of things to do.
lesson 3: remember the checklist? USE IT.
Anyway, I will be off in a few days and there remains a lot left to do. Time to quit blogging and get busy!