The Freelancers’ Show 061 – Travel
Panel Eric Davis (twitter github blog) Ashe Dryden (twitter github blog) Charles Max Wood (twitter github Teach Me To Code Rails Ramp Up) Discussion 00:44 - Packing 03:15 - Traveling for clients vs conferences 06:38 - Packing cont’d & flying Rick Steves Packing Cube - 3 Set 08:05 - Lodging Staying w/ friends Airbnb Hotels 14:01 - Traveling w/ electronics New Trent iCarrier 12000mAh Dual USB Ports External Battery Pack TP-LINK TL-WR702N Wireless N150 Travel Router StrongVPN 19:51 - Getting through the airport & flying Alaska Airlines Mobile App TripIt Instapaper Dream Essentials Sweet Dreams Contoured Sleep Mask with Earplugs and Carry Pouch 27:15 - Staying off the beaten path 29:38 - Taking care of yourself while traveling 32:43 - Getting around Car rentals Public transportation 37:05 - Finding deals & saving $$$ KAYAK Bing Travel Fare Predictor Travelzoo 40:40 - Traveling within driving distance Picks StrongVPN (Eric) Funding your startup with a "one on / three off" setup (Eric) Lonely Planet (Ashe) Wikitravel (Ashe) Markdown Here (Ashe) Anker Battery Pack (Chuck) D-Link SharePort Go Mobile Companion with Rechargeable Battery (Chuck) D-Link SharePort Go Review (Chuck) DevChat.tv Indiegogo Campaign (Chuck) Next Week Giving Things Away For Free Transcript [Hosting and bandwidth provided by the Blue Box Group. Check them out at bluebox.net] CHUCK: Hey everybody and welcome to Episode 61 of the Freelancers Show! This week on our panel we have, Eric Davis. ERIC: Hello! CHUCK: Ashe Dryden. ASHE: Hello! CHUCK: I'm Charles Max Wood from devchat.tv. This week we're going to be talking about "Travelling for Work". This is something that I do frequently and suck at terribly, so I'm a little curious as to what suggestions you guys have for travelling. I think most of my angst comes from like packing and I always wind up forgetting stuff. [laughs] It's just the way it is. I just throw a whole bunch of stuff in the duffle bag, put on my computer stuff in my computer bag, and then curse the TSA in my head the whole way through the airport. ASHE: Ain't that's how a lot of us do it? [laughter] CHUCK: Yeah. So, I know you travel quite a bit, Ashe. ASHE: I do. I travel a lot for conferences. CHUCK: So, what's kind of the biggest thing that makes your life easier when you travel? ASHE: I have a separate bag that I use for travelling, and I actually have like a separate copy of everything that I use in my regular life that goes inside that bag. So like I have a toiletry bag, and my toothbrush, and hairbrush, and everything always stay in there. That way, I never have to remember to pack that stuff because the things that I always tend to forget are my hairbrush and my pajamas - every single time. I'm not entirely sure why, but those are the two things that I always forget. So I try to minimize the damage by trying to keep as much stuff in my like travelling bag as possible. CHUCK: That makes a lot of sense. There I admit that when I went down to New Media Expo -- my wife doesn't listen to the show, so I won't be in trouble -- but she hadn't on a laundry in like two weeks and I had no clean clothes, so I drove down to Las Vegas and I went and bought underwear and socks so I would have clean clothes to wear while I was down there. ASHE: Nice! [Chuck laughs] ASHE: I know a lot of people that when they travel internationally like they'll pack everything very tightly. And then when they're getting ready to leave, they actually throw out their underwear and their socks and I mean that's kind of cheap to replace, so they have room for souvenirs or whatever else they're bringing back. ERIC: Yeah, I've heard people that do that. Like what they'll do, is they'll travel to a place that's kind of cold then pick up a jacket there. And then if they leave,
[Hosting and bandwidth provided by the Blue Box Group. Check them out at bluebox.net] CHUCK: Hey everybody and welcome to Episode 61 of the Freelancers Show! This week on our panel we have, Eric Davis. ERIC: Hello! CHUCK: Ashe Dryden. ASHE: Hello! CHUCK: I'm Charles Max Wood from devchat.tv. This week we're going to be talking about "Travelling for Work". This is something that I do frequently and suck at terribly, so I'm a little curious as to what suggestions you guys have for travelling. I think most of my angst comes from like packing and I always wind up forgetting stuff. [laughs] It's just the way it is. I just throw a whole bunch of stuff in the duffle bag, put on my computer stuff in my computer bag, and then curse the TSA in my head the whole way through the airport. ASHE: Ain't that's how a lot of us do it? [laughter] CHUCK: Yeah. So, I know you travel quite a bit, Ashe. ASHE: I do. I travel a lot for conferences. CHUCK: So, what's kind of the biggest thing that makes your life easier when you travel? ASHE: I have a separate bag that I use for travelling, and I actually have like a separate copy of everything that I use in my regular life that goes inside that bag. So like I have a toiletry bag, and my toothbrush, and hairbrush, and everything always stay in there. That way, I never have to remember to pack that stuff because the things that I always tend to forget are my hairbrush and my pajamas - every single time. I'm not entirely sure why, but those are the two things that I always forget. So I try to minimize the damage by trying to keep as much stuff in my like travelling bag as possible. CHUCK: That makes a lot of sense. There I admit that when I went down to New Media Expo -- my wife doesn't listen to the show, so I won't be in trouble -- but she hadn't on a laundry in like two weeks and I had no clean clothes, so I drove down to Las Vegas and I went and bought underwear and socks so I would have clean clothes to wear while I was down there. ASHE: Nice! [Chuck laughs] ASHE: I know a lot of people that when they travel internationally like they'll pack everything very tightly. And then when they're getting ready to leave, they actually throw out their underwear and their socks and I mean that's kind of cheap to replace, so they have room for souvenirs or whatever else they're bringing back. ERIC: Yeah, I've heard people that do that. Like what they'll do, is they'll travel to a place that's kind of cold then pick up a jacket there. And then if they leave, they'll donate the jacket and fly back without it or something. ASHE: And I like that! CHUCK: That's interesting. Yeah, that's the other thing is. When I come back inevitably, I wind up with like 5 t-shirts, and then I've got souvenirs for my kids and my wife [chuckles]. And so my bag is like bursting. That was one nice thing about driving out to Vegas; that I just threw everything in the back of the car. ERIC: You like rented a U-Haul for the ride back? CHUCK: Yeah! Basically...[inaudible][laughter] CHUCK: So, I guess it makes a difference whether you're flying or driving. I'm a little curious, though, how often do you guys travel out to meet clients versus travelling for like conferences and stuff? ERIC: Let's see, I might travel like once or twice a year. Typically I get for one conference and maybe a client. I'm trying to think...I've met 2 clients, I guess in the past, probably 3 or 4 years, and one of them just happen to be that I was kind of in the neighborhood and it was like an hour of drive away from them. So it wasn't actually for them; it was for family reasons. And then the other time, I actually flew up to meet a client for the day. But I don't travel much; I don't like it. There's not a single thing about it I enjoy. ASHE: And I don't really ever travel to meet clients. I've sometimes met clients at conferences before, but most of my clients right now are in the Midwest. I don't know, it doesn't seem like that big of a deal for us to meet in person because we do things like Skype calls or Google Hangouts, so we can see each other; we're just not necessarily in the same physical space. CHUCK: Yeah. In my case, I've flown out once to meet a client, but they wanted it done; they paid for all the expenses. And then, I have driven there within an hour or so; I've driven to meet clients here. But yeah, other than that, I really haven't travelled to meet clients. Most of the time, that's because I'm either attending or speaking at a conference. ASHE: Right. ERIC: Yeah, I'm thinking about it; there's a couple local clients I've gone to meet, and most has just been just a meet and greet, just social like interaction. So I don't even go with a laptop; sometimes, it's just me and my phone type idea. I've gone to speak with a couple of prospects before, but thinking back, every time I've done that, common sight to me that's like it hasn't turned out very well. Like either they didn't want to do the project or it was like a one-time project, and never turned into something that was really worth all of the time going out and meeting them. CHUCK: Yeah. ERIC: I mean that's just a function of kind of the work we do. I mean it's technical work; you can do a lot of it from anywhere in the world anytime. So having to meet someone in person really isn't a requirement. It might help; in some type of projects, it might be a big thing. But, I think that's the flexibility we have versus like in other industry. CHUCK: Yeah, that's really true. I mean if they're close enough for me to just drive out there with, yeah, my phone and my appetite for lunch, then that works out pretty well. I have met clients after I work for them because they were somewhere where I was travelling to; but again, I was out there for conference or for something else, family thing, and it just worked out. ERIC: Yeah, like that you're-in-the-area type idea? CHUCK: Yeah. In fact, I'm going to be in Denver this weekend and I'm probably going to meet a few people when I'm out there. Every time I go out there, I wind up meeting a handful of people that I know, and it works out pretty well. And the nice thing is this, because we always go out to Denver for family reasons, but because I'm going out there and I'm meeting Rubyist and stuff, I'm making it a point to do that everyday, they really kind of becomes a business trip, too, and so I get to ride a lot of it off. So, let's talk about flying. Ashe was kind of talking about how she packs or just leaves everything in the bag. Do you have a system for packing stuff? Or, do you just "Oh, these are the clothes I want to take", and then you just throw it all in the bag and go? ASHE: Yeah, there are couples of things I do. So I have this separate packing cube, which is like a mesh zip up bag that all of my clothes goes into, and I just roll up my clothes and threw them in there that way. If the TSA needs to go through my bag, they can just pull out that mesh thing and not have to like go through all of my clothing. And I obviously left my toiletries and stuff, follow the TSA guidelines and everything, but I try and bring as little as possible that the TSA might find questionable. I made a trip to Philadelphia once. I usually bring food with me because I'm vegetarian, I'm not always guaranteed to be able to find food wherever I'm going or such if I know I'm going to be getting in late. So I brought some food with me and I brought some carrots and I brought some hummus. And the TSA like totally grift me on bringing hummus because apparently hummus is a liquid, which I didn't think about because I don't consider it liquid [chuckles]. So now, I do my best to like not bring anything that they might even remotely find objectionable [laughs]. But yeah, I bring as little stuff as possible. And then a lot of times, I'm staying in a place where I have a washer dryer so I'm staying in an Airbnb or I'm staying with a friend. That way I can bring half as much clothing as I otherwise would, and I just do laundry once halfway through the trip. CHUCK: Yeah. I like that idea! How frequently do you book yourself into a hotel versus Airbnb? ASHE: I definitely prefer Airbnb way above hotels. They tend to be a lot cheaper and you also get a much better experience. Because I travel so much, like this summer, I'm travelling more weeks than I'm home, it's important to me that I don't feel like I'm in a really weird sterile environment like hotels are. With Airbnb, a lot of times I can get an entire apartment so I can cook my own food, I can have a modern amount of privacy, I don't have to worry about people being loud on the walls around me, or little kids that are running up and down the hallway, so it's just a much better experience. If I can help it, I stay with friends, then I go to Airbnbs, and then very much in last place I stay at hotels. CHUCK: Yeah, I can see that. So then how do you kind of get set up once you're there at the Airbnb or you're at the hotel? ASHE: I usually go to the grocery store or a little bodega or whatever is nearby to kind of stock up on things like fruit and other kinds of snacks that I can carry with me that are healthy because eating on the road is really difficult, especially eating healthfully is very hard. So I'll go to whatever store is nearby and stock up on enough food to be able to get me through the week as far as non-major meals go. CHUCK: Hmm-mmm ASHE: Outside of that, I don't really do anything special. A lot of times, they have everything else provided. I don't drink coffee, but a lot of them will have a fresh pound of coffee there for you, or clean towels, clean sheets; you don't really have to worry that much. CHUCK: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. When my wife and I were going to go to, when I spoke at Aloha Ruby Conference, we were looking at Airbnb and she wasn't entirely comfortable with it. I think I'm going to get something that I'm going try a few times, and then if I need to make it work and she's -- and I'm comfortable with it than I think it'd work out a little bit better. ASHE: Yeah, I don't do it by myself; I think it's the important thing. As a woman, I don't necessarily feel comfortable staying; some of them, we were staying in people's houses while they're there, and other ones, it's like you're renting out their entire house or their entire apartment. But if I'm traveling and have a friend that's going to the same conference, then I'll split it with them and it makes me feel a little bit more comfortable. But I explicitly do not stay in another people's homes that I either don't know or if I'm by myself. CHUCK: Yeah. I have to say that most of the time I've done the hotels. The nice thing about the hotels is that you have the cleaning staff that'll come in and make your bed and do all that stuff. And so, you just make sure your dirty underwears are out of sight and [laughs] any valuables aren't where they're going to see them, be tempted by them (though I've never had a problem even when I left them out); that seems to work pretty well for me. And so, the only thing I really have to do when I get in is show up, check in, go upstairs, pull out anything I need to hang up. So if I have some nicer clothes that oughtn't be packed for longer than they have to be, get those hung up. Usually I wind up having a shower because, I don't know what it is about airports and sitting in that seat even for just an hour or so, but by the time I get to the hotel, I just feel gross; and so just really making myself comfortable. And when I travel, I usually try and get in the day before the conference, and not just like that night so that I show up, eat dinner, go to bed. I used to do that and I found that I feel off when I'm going to the conference or whatever. So I try and get in early enough in the day to where I can get to the hotel, have a little bit of a nap, kind of wander around downtown, find somewhere to eat, meet some folks that are also there for the same thing I am. And then I leave in the afternoon on the day after the event that I'm going to, and it's a lot for the same reason: I just don't want to feel like I'm in a big hurry to get to the airport whether I’ve rented a car or taking a taxi - it's not worth it. I found that that works out pretty well. ASHE: Yeah, I do something similar. There are a lot of places that I'm going this year that I haven't been before, so I try and actually give myself a couple of days on other end. That way, I have time to go and visit with friends that I haven't seen in a long time, or kind of do the touristy thing and just relax and enjoy being in the place that I got to go because I'm going to a conference. So I try and give myself the extra time so I'm able to do that kind of thing. CHUCK: Yup. So do you often find that you're travelling somewhere that you know folks or travelling somewhere with other people? ASHE: Yeah, whether or not I know somebody who's going to the same conference that I'm going to. It's what makes Twitter really nice. I can just say "Next week, I'll be in...", like I'm going to Boulder next week, and I just said "Next week I'm going to Boulder and I would love to hang out with people". The nice thing is like 5 people are like "Yes! We should totally go and get coffee or get food or go to the museum". So I really like it for that especially because lately, I've been travelling a lot by myself, it's lonely to be in the city where you haven't been before and maybe going out and doing like touristy things by yourself; it's a lot more fun with friends. So it's been really nice to be able to meet up with people in places that they might live in and can kind of show me around and treat me like a local. CHUCK: Yeah. So going back to packing, one of the other things that I run into (and I mentioned this before) was especially my electronics that I tend to pack way more than I need. So I bring my iPad and my iPhone and my Kindle and my laptop; sometimes I bring some recording equipment and -- ERIC: And your iMac...and your Mac Pro... [laughter] CHUCK: And then I never touch any of it! I use my iPad when I'm just goofing around, and my laptop when I'm giving my talk, and the rest of the time, I'm pretty much just using my phone! ERIC: Yeah, I had this one -- because I just got back from MicroConf last week -- and I was debating like "Oh, should I take my laptop in case I have to deal with a server issue", that's what I did. Nice thing was that I knew enough people at the conference that I could have said "Hey, my server is down. Can I borrow your laptop for 15 minutes?" and I could have fixed it. And so, I ended up just taking my phone, my iPad, and then I take my Kindle because I can't read on my iPad. And because of that, I had all of that in the backpack and then I had a little carry-on; I was actually only had both of those like half-packed like I could have probably just done one bag and do the fine. And it was nice, like I used the iPad for taking notes, looking stuff up, all that stuff, and I had no problems at all. And even if I had to get on the server, the iPad now has a safe stuff, so I probably could have gotten on it like it would have been if the WiFi was down, my battery has died, all that. Like there have been a lot of circumstances I would have had to happen for me to actually fallback to someone else's laptop. ASHE: When I go to conferences, unless I'm speaking, I actually leave my laptop in the Airbnb or the hotel room or whatever just because I've realized (just a couple of years ago) that I'll go to a conference and I won't be paying full attention to what's going on. And then after the conference, everyone's go out for dinner and I tend not to rent a car, take public transit, or I walk; so that means, now I have to log that around with me. Or, if there's an afterparty, I have to keep an eye on my stuff and worry that it might walk away while I'm drinking or hanging out and talking with people and I'm not paying full attention to my stuff. So unless I'm speaking, I only bring my phone. And then in my other pocket, I have like this external iPhone charger that can charge my iPhone 6 times. Those are the only two things that I really carry with me that I wouldn't otherwise. Like obviously, I carry my wallet, but I try and carry little stuff as possible. ERIC: I've actually considered like I was going to dump the iPad and just take papernotes because then I could just fold it up and put it in my pocket, but I have that crutch of having to be on something digital. And nice things with the iPad, I was basically single-tasked, and so I was typing and listening; I wasn't actually going on Twitter or the back channels or any of that stuff. I found that was a lot better than another conference I went to where I had my laptop and was doing a whole bunch of other things and can't remember half the talks from it. CHUCK: Yup, absolutely. One other thing that I've ran across is that, a lot of times you go to a conference and the WiFi is just terrible. Do you guys have a way to work around that? Do you usually wind up pairing with your phone or something? How do you -- ERIC: Go to the conference is [inaudible] more for WiFi? I think it's the size of the conference and stuff. Because when I went to one of the RailsConfs in Portland, the problem was that Apple released a big update so every person there was downloading 300 mates of WiFi in the background. But like at MicroConf, they had like a pretty heavy-duty WiFi, and it was one-room of maybe 200 people, and that thing was fast. It wasn't fast as my home connection, but I had no problems at all. I mean with the VPN and with like the hotels’ open WiFi, you have like 2 or 3 different connections you could hop on. CHUCK: Do you worry about if you have to do a client work, doing it over an open WiFi like that? ERIC: Yeah, but it also depends. I mean if you use SSH, even if you use SSH over an open WiFi, it's all encrypted, and I think I paid it for via a VPN service. Or, I pay a couple of bucks a month, and it's set up on my phone and my iPad and my laptop. So if I go over open WiFi, I hop on that and everything gets tunneled. I can tell because basically my IP address changes to some place not in LA. CHUCK: I like that. I don't remember what it was called, but I remember you talking about it. Yeah, one that I've heard about is (I'm trying to remember exactly what it is), it was Linksys Go...or something. Anyway, it's basically a WiFi that runs off of WiFi, and it actually has like a battery backup beneath for your devices and stuff. What it does is, you connect your WiFi to 'it' and you connect it to the WiFi like in the hotel or whatever, so all your devices run through it. And then 'it' encrypts all the connections stuff so that when you're running over an open WiFi, it's encrypted on its way out. And the only sniffable traffic would be your connection to this device, but that's also encrypted, so it solves a lot of that problem. ERIC: Yeah, I've seen that. If I traveled more, I'd probably get one. There's some that even come with a wire connection, so if your hotel only has the wire or the wireless is bad, you can plug in to just a normal Cat5 and then it broadcast a WiFi in your room or whatever. It's nice because you could set up your industrial gate VPN on the router so you're always going on over a VPN and you put forward in that set up you need to do. CHUCK: Yeah, and it just makes a lot of sense to me. I wind up travelling quite a bit last year, I've kind of tone it back this year just because I got a little bit tired of travelling all the time, but something like that would have really been nice. So, are there any other tips for getting through the airport or anything that make things easier? I mean I always wear slip-on shoes so I can just kick them off, walk through them, put it back on. ASHE: Like I said, I try to minimize any kind of TSA hassle because I'm one of those people that opts out anyway, so they're already annoyed with me. [laughter] ASHE: So I never keep anything in my pockets; any change or anything is in my wallet or it's in my book bag before I get to where the TSA is. I put everything in my backpack as much as possible. And yeah, shoes that slip on and off easily, don't wear belts, don't wear jewelry. ERIC: One thing that I like, because I don't travel that much, just kind of recent for me is the (I don't know whatever it's called) like eTickets whatever. Like I have an app for Alaska, which is one of the major carriers out here, and so I open the app, have my boarding pass, I check in on it, and I just walk up and they scan my phone. It's nice because I used to always print out two copies of my boarding pass; have one on me, one in my bag. And then I'd have to pull it out, keep it in my pocket, show it to people; just having it as an app is nice because that's always there. One tip if you do that route is, open it up and on like iPhone, you can hit both buttons to do a screenshot. So you can actually take a screenshot; so if you're not on WiFi and the app doesn't work, you just have a photo you can show, and from what I understand, that works just as good. CHUCK: Yeah, one other thing that I've ran into that's kind of the same deal is, I always print a copy and then do the phone check-in check-out kind of thing, and it's really convenient. It's the Delta hub here in Salt Lake City so usually, it's Delta that I'm flying on, which is nice because I can claim the miles, too. It works out real nice because a lot of times, it's not just that you walk up and pull out your phone instead of a boarding pass. But here in Salt Lake, they actually have a different line for people who are using their phones and it's usually quite a bit shorter than the long security line for everybody else. ASHE: Yeah. I also use this service called "TripIt", which allows you to kind of organize all of your travel information; so it pulls in my flight information, hotel information, if you're renting a car, if you're taking a bus anywhere. I also use it for all of the events that I'll be going to; so not only the conference, but maybe any after parties. Or, if I'm getting together with other people, store all the addresses and phone numbers in there; and there's also an app for it that allows me to access all that stuff. The other neat thing is it'll automatically check and see if like my airline ticket price has go down, because a lot of airlines will actually refund you the difference and will keep track of like your reward points for hotels and that kind of things, so it just makes life easier - nice way to stay organized without boring about all of that stuff and having to dig through your email for it. CHUCK: Yeah, absolutely. It's also nice with the battery backups, you mentioned that, it's really nice when I'm flying and things because I don't have to find an outlet in the airport, especially if you have a long lay over somewhere; you can just go sit somewhere and just use that to charge things up. ASHE: Yeah. It's really nice, too, if you're travelling in the city that you're not familiar with. I'm always worried about my phone dying because it's also my GPS and it's my life line. I don't know people's phone numbers anymore [chuckles]; I couldn't call somebody for help if I wanted to. So, not having power on my phone is super scary when you're navigating on a place that you're not familiar with. ERIC: That's actually a good point. When I went on a 3x5 curve road down like server IPs, so if I had to get on something to fix something, I mean you can [inaudible] a phone, and then it kind of like if you lose your phone or all your data, you can still get back to something. Actually once I get into one of my servers from there, I can get to the others. But having that sort of a hard copy of that information is very cheap and very easy just to carry in your wallet. CHUCK: Yeah, I like that, too. I'm trying to think what else I usually do...If I have time, I put some movies on my iPad. I have a 64 gigabyte first gen iPad; it's not a great device, but it will play a movie. It's kind of nice to be able to just take that on the plane, kind of prop it up on the tray, and then as I'm moving around, as I'm on the plane or in the airport or whatever, I can just watch something. I've also done that with Pete code; I've done that with a lot of Pete code videos. And so, I actually get sort of training time while I'm traveling. ASHE: That's a really good idea. I usually load my phone up with a bunch of books. And because I can't be guaranteed that I'll have WiFi in flight or anything like that, I'll pre-load a bunch of things and tabs on my computer so I can go through and read articles from my Instapaper, or extra-long articles that I found that I've been putting off reading. CHUCK: Yeah, I tend to do that with my Kindle; I have a Kindle Touch. I hate that they make you turn it off when they're taking off, but [laughs] -- ASHE: Yeah. CHUCK: And it's open for debate as to whether or not it actually affects anything. But, anyway -- ASHE: [laughs] One of the other things that I travel with that maybe other people don't, I usually carry a little baggy of earplugs with me because flights, especially like I take a lot of red-eyes, flights themselves are loud, let alone the people that are sitting around you talking loudly, or a lot of people travel with their children. There are a lot of things that kind of make flying a not optimal experience sound lies, so I always try to bring earplugs with me and like an iMax so I can try and get some sleep, and allergy medicine because there are a lot of things I'm allergic to an airplane, and sleeping pills especially if you're taking like a 7 or 8-hour long flight. There's nothing worse than being over tired and not being able to sleep and then getting to wherever you're going and just being absolutely exhausted. CHUCK: And even if everybody is being polite and not overly loud themselves, there's so many people in that tight space, that it's just going to be noisy anyway. Do you ever pay for the in-flight movies or anything? ASHE: No. I also never pay for the in-flight WiFi. CHUCK: I've done that once, and it's like working over 3G so it sucks. ERIC: Yeah, I want to second the eye mask. I actually took it mine last week; I just grabbed it on a whim. And I use it during the day if I take a nap, and it's like a lot like product side. I've stayed at a hotel in Vegas, and for some reason, the spotlight's advertising the hotel actually shined up into my room's windows. So even in like pitch-black night, it was kind of like this eerie glow, but I put that thing on and I was able to get a little bit of sleep. And eye mask, they're so small, like packing wise, that you won't even notice them. CHUCK: Yeah. ASHE: Yeah. The one I have, too, has like a contour for your nose so it fits as close to your face as possible. ERIC: Yeah I got like a cheapie one from the grocery store. CHUCK: So your mask looks like Robin's mask from Batman? ASHE: It does. It makes me look really cool! CHUCK: Yeah, I have to say it, where did you stay in Las Vegas? ERIC: The Tropicana. CHUCK: Oh, okay. Last time I went down there actually, I stayed at the (Tropicana)…no it wasn't Tropicana, it was the Rio because that's where the conference was. And then CES was at the Venetian, and at the Hilton; what was in the Las Vegas Convention Center, which is basically the Hilton. My father-in-law came down, and he actually booked the hotel for us when we wind up staying out in Sam's Town, which is about 10 minutes off the strip. That's one thing that if you're looking for a place to stay, in any town, a lot of times you can either -- we have the car down there so it was just a matter of driving over to the Venetian parking -- but if you know the public transportation system or have some other way of getting around, a lot of times it makes sense to stay 5 or 10 minutes off the venue if you don't want to be in the middle of town where some of these issues occur because right there on the strip, there are lights everywhere. ERIC: Yeah, and I think you had to bounce it, too. I mean the conference, like say it's only a couple of hundred people, everyone stayed at the hotel. And so once the conference is over, people have 5 or 10 minutes for everyone goes to get food. So if you like stayed outside or whatever, you'd have to go put your stuff in your car or you'd have kind of the hassle factor that [inaudible]. And I think you kind of have to play with that like figure out like "Oh, do you want to stay at the conference, maybe pay a bit more and not have as good of amenities as some place off a little bit". CHUCK: Yeah, definitely. ASHE: Yeah, and I like staying of the beaten path, anyway, because it saves me money that I would rather spend. Because you're only in your hotel room or whatever for 8-10 hours every day, I would much rather spend that extra money on going out to nice restaurant with somebody or maybe going to an Aquarium because those kinds of attractions can be a little bit more expensive. So, I care less about where I'm sleeping and would rather put that money towards fun things. CHUCK: Depending on the conference, I might spend 2-3 hours in the hotel [laughs]. [Ashe laughs] ERIC: Yeah. CHUCK: I'm out all night because it's my opportunity to meet these new interesting people, get back at midnight; I might sleep for 4 or 5 hours. If I'm really tired, then I'll just call it a night and tell people I'm not coming. ASHE: That's really rare thing for me. Because I travel so much, it's important for me to make sure that I get enough sleep because I'm really susceptible to like the conf crud. I am that person that gets sick at every single conference, and one of the ways so I can wear that off is by getting enough sleep. So 99% of the time, I'm not the person that staying out until 3 o'clock in the morning. CHUCK: Yeah. Well, part of the thing, too, with the conferences at least, by the time everything's over and I go and do stuff with people, I get back to the hotel room, it maybe be midnight. Sometimes, I'm just exhausted, I'll go to bed. But sometimes, I'm really fired up and I want to write some software or something, and so then I wind up coding until 2 or 3 in the morning. ERIC: That's actually one thing I did differently. When I went last week, I actually -- I've been to kind of doing yoga like a 5-minute yoga thing every day -- and I actually put a copy of it on my phone; and then my iPad, I have like a body weight strength exercise app thingy, so I try to do each of those for 5 minutes every day. And just because of a little bit of downtime like in between meals and go back up to the hotel room, I ended up kind of working out 20 or 30 minutes every day I was there but in the space like 5 or 6 different blocks. I know a lot of people who just got like so tired and burned out because they just sat for 8 hours listening to people talk, and then they went out to dinner. Well, in between that, I worked out which has kind of energized me enough to kind of keep going a little bit longer and bit be more social at night. So if you can do some kind of exercise even if it's a few minutes, I think that could actually help, and I've heard that helps with [inaudible], too. ASHE: Yeah. I think the major thing is like taking care of yourself while you're travelling. Drink more water than you normally would, eat better than you normally would because you are a lot more tired. You're around a bunch more people, so you're a lot more likely to get sick. Plus, a lot of people go out and they drink - they might drink a lot. So anything you can do to kind of counteract that stuff while you're travelling, because you don't want to feel like crap when you're supposed to be around a ton of people. The thing that I really dislike about a lot of conferences is that a lot of people will go out drinking on the first night and they'll get in really late; and then the next day for the conference, they'll miss the first 2 or 3 talks. I always feel so bad for those first people who speak [laughs]. So I always try and make sure that there on time because it's unfortunate that they'll be speaking to a half-empty room because most people are sleeping off hangovers. CHUCK: Yeah. I don't drink, and if I remember right, I don't think Eric drinks either. ERIC: Nope! Water or tea, that's about it. ASHE: I don't drink either. Look at us! We're very much in the manner already! [laughter] CHUCK: Oh, it's very interesting. I don't know about you guys, but I abstain for religious reasons as opposed to how alcohol may or may not affect me. And so I get some interesting look sometimes when I tell people I don't drink, and then explain why. But, yeah. So, do you guys ever rent cars when you're travelling? ERIC: I try to avoid it. I don't even like driving around car. I lived in Oregon I think for about a year or two, and in that time, I drove over car I think 5 times; I've done it more now that we had our daughter, but I hate it. I actually would rather fly, like being in an airplane, and deal with TSA and all that stuff than to just drive down to the grocery store. CHUCK: Oh, wow! We'll put up a metal detector at the door of your house, and it's not so that you're safe going in, it's so that we're safe when you come out. So I drove down to Vegas, I also rented a car when I went to RubyConf last year in Denver, and that kind of worked out. I stayed with some friends when I was in Denver, and that's what the reason I rented the car; they live far enough outside the town to where I kind of needed it to go back every night. So I did that; it's usually not too terrible of a hassle. The real thing that I've seen with renting the car is that you have to like go over with a fine tooth comb and write down like every little scratch or ding in it, or they'll charge you for it or the next guy for it and the next guy for it, too. But other than that, it's kind of convenient to have a car unless you're going somewhere where they have kind of a problem with having enough parking. ASHE: I try not to rent cars; I've been lucky that I've been in situations at conferences where I've never had to rent a car. I always try to take public transit or I take a cab. I don't really worry -- I'm not worried about the drinking and driving part because I don't drink, but it's just driving in a city that you're not familiar with, the cost of renting a car plus parking, just all of those things kind of compound. And a lot of times when I'm going back to my hotel room, I'm tired anyway so it's not safe for me to be behind the wheel of the car. So I don't mind spending $20 on a cab where I would've spent $75 or $100 a day on a car, plus gas, and insurance, and parking, and all that. So it saves a lot of money and a lot of hassle not renting a car for me. CHUCK: Yeah. In fact, I also remember when I went to my first RailsConf in Las Vegas, a limo just dropped off a whole bunch of people, so they were trying to make up some fare while they were on their way back to the airport to pick up somebody else. And so, there were whole bunch of us that split the cost of the limo [laughs], and that one does saving us money; it cost less to have 10 or 12 of us in a limo as opposed to taking a taxi. There are a lot of options for transportation, if you want to do it. ERIC: Yeah, like private jets and all that. [laughter] CHUCK: Well, when we were in Austin for RailsConf last year, David Brady and I just walked a half mile from our hotel to the conference, and that worked out pretty well. ERIC: I actually considered that in Vegas because the hotel was, you could like see the fence from the hotel, but you had to go all away around it, like if you could do cross flights like half a mile, but it's 3 miles around the block. I've considered that because that's like a short run for me. But then in Vegas, that ended up being a 100 degree heat during that week, so I'm like "Yeah, I'm not going to do that". CHUCK: Well, if it's a short run with a bag full of electronics or something, then it's not worth it either. ERIC: Yeah, I'm not bringing my iMac like you. [laughter] ASHE: The other thing is, a lot of cities offer like a weekend pass for their public transit, which can save you a ton of money. ERIC: Yeah, Portland does. We have like a day pass, I think like a 7-day pass. I ran the numbers here, if you take any public transit more than twice in a day, you're saving money like it's like ¢10 more than two tickets. ASHE: Nice! CHUCK: Yeah, Portland has pretty good public transportation. I've been out there a few times and ridden theirs. And I'm looking at going up to San Francisco, if I can afford it, to go to some of the AltWWDC events. I understand they have a pretty good public transportation system there, too. Alright, well, any other tips or trips [laughs]...tips or tricks from your vast font of knowledge on this topic? ASHE: My biggest thing is, like I said, I try and save as much money getting to a city or staying in the city so I could kind of spend what I would have spend out of my budget on things like going out and doing fun things. So I start looking at airline tickets as soon as possible, and I use a mixture of Kayak and the only thing that I use Bing for is their Travel Predictor; it has this little graph that'll tell you whether they expect an airline price to go up or down, and it'll tell you the percentage likelihood of whether it will go up or down and like the confidence in buying. So if you buy it now, is the price likely to go up? That kind of thing. So that can save you a lot of money and kind of tell you when the best time is to buy tickets. And I read a thing last week or the week before that said that whenever you buy airline tickets, you should always do it in like in Incognito window because airlines will actually track your cookies and will actually increase the price the more often you go and visit and check prices. So those are my two -- CHUCK: Oh, really? ASHE: Yeah, and I had no idea! I had no idea about that! ERIC: Yeah, I can see that. ASHE: So I do that. And then I try in always travel on the same airlines so I can rack up miles to get free flights and upgrade in some stuff. CHUCK: Yeah, I like getting the miles; I've only ever used the miles, though, to like send my wife to a family event or something [laughs]. ASHE: That's nice of you at least. CHUCK: Yeah, but one thing that has been nice with the Delta SkyMiles is I got a companion fare. So if I book a ticket with my SkyMiles credit card, then I can book my wife with me for free. And I really like Kayak, you brought that up; that's the one I go to as well. I have found that they have the little check boxes at the bottom so you can check the other travel sites' Priceline and Travelocity and stuff. Most of the time, Kayak's prices are as good or better than everyone else, but there have been a few times where I've actually found a better deal on another site. So that's another thing, but you may want it consider doing. ASHE: Yeah. And also, Delta is the airline that I prefer to travel on. I also subscribed to their like marketing email about "Between these two cities, you can get a really good deal!" And every now and again, I'll be able to get a really cheap flight just from glancing in an email once every couple of weeks. CHUCK: Another one that we've found some deals on is Travelzoo, it's travelzoo.com. They're trying to get into some of the (I'm trying to think), it's kind of like Groupon, the daily deals or whatever. But yeah, they've had some deals on some travel that have been just pretty awesome. So, that's another one to look at. ERIC: I was going to say one thing I thought of; I think I heard this from Patrick Mckenzie. But basically, especially if you're going on site to a client, pay for lunch or if you can do it, actually have like a catered lunch delivered there. He said he did that a couple of times, and like people remembered that more than anything else. You could even actually look at Mrs. Fields Cookies, it has like an ecommerce store so you could actually have them deliver cookies to your client. It's cheap especially if you consider consulting, it's well worth it. And if you're going to take all the time and energy go out to a client, that kind of stuff can really impress them. So that's the tip I heard about. And then there's this standard thing of, if you're going out to lunch for a client, try to pay for lunch. Some clients will fight you on it and all that, but if you pay for it, from what I understand, the tax write off and it's a lot of goodwill and doesn't cost very much. CHUCK: Yup! Alright, so the places that are drivable, I only just want to talk about that really quickly, so if it's within driving distance and they do want to meet you, what do you usually do? Do you usually take your laptop with you? Or, try and prepare something to talk over with them? Or, if it's just kind of a meet and greet thing, do you just show up with your phone in your pocket and hope you don't need your laptop or iPad? Or, what? ERIC: For me, it depends on what you're doing. If it's a meet and greet and if you're talking like with the CEO or CTO, I might bring my iPad. But it's mostly phone and kind of the intention of forget like a code stuff, we can do that later. If it's actually going like sitting down with your dev team and like showing examples of prototypes or that sort of thing, even if you're actually going to start pairing, then yeah I might consider taking my laptop even if they have stuffs set up there already just because you might need to get it out to pull up some code that you don't have online or something. ASHE: Yeah. For me, I always make sure that there is an agenda that goes on with any meeting, whether it's in person or not, so I have an idea of how long it should last and if I do need to bring my laptop or what kinds of things I should be prepared for. CHUCK: Yeah, that's a good idea; just asking what you need to bring, what they want to see. The other thing that I do for that kind of thing is, I have a little notebook that's on the sun visor of my car and a pen with it. And so every time I drive out for stuff like that, I write it in there and I log the miles so that I could claim those on my taxes. Alright, Eric, what are your picks? ERIC: Alright, I'm going to pick my VPN, or probably I already did, but it's relevant here. It's "StrongVPN", I just have their $7 a month plan; I think they charge it in 3-month increment, so it's like $21 every quarter. You can get stuff in the US, they have a lot of plans if you will need to do international stuff. Its use is pretty, like if you're outside of the US and you need to use like US YouTube and stuff like that, it's really really stable, they give you different connections to use. I have both types of connections set up on both the iPad and my iPhone, and then also on my laptop. So I recommend it; I've been using it for probably about a year now. And then my second pick today, it's a blog post called "Funding your startup with a "one on / three off" setup". Basically, the grip at status.io they seemed like that just consulting for a while, and then they start its work in products stuff. And this blog talks about how they were, basically, to one week of client development and then three weeks on their product. It's interesting just because I've been actually doing this model for about 6 months now, and it actually works really good because it lets you really focus on a client, get a lot of stuff done in that week, and then when you're done with that, you can work on products stuff. The nice thing in this blog post is, they outline a lot of the, they call them rules, they're more guidelines I think, but just the "You got to get a good client, someone that you think ready for you to make you really efficient that one week you're on". But it's interesting especially because I know a lot of consultants and freelancers are looking to get into products, and the first product, this kind of take a bit of time to get off the ground, so this might be a good way to kind of gradually shift into that, if that's something you want to do. CHUCK: Nice. Ashe, what are your picks? ASHE: I've got three; two related to travelling. I use "Lonely Planet" and "Wikitravel" a lot to kind of get an idea of -- especially if I've never been to a place -- what the areas like, what kinds of things I should expect; it'll tell me what neighborhoods I should maybe not be staying in, or if there are multiple forms of public transit, which is the preferred one, the kinds of places that a lot of locals go to eat. So those make travelling a little bit easier especially if you've been to place that you haven't been before. And then the last one is a Chrome extension that I just found recently called "Markdown Here", which allows you to write anywhere on the web in markdown, and then you hit a button and it toggles it into rich text. So it's really nice because I hate most rich text editors and they're just a hassle so it's a lot easier to be able to just write markdown and then just be able to hit a button and then it just transforms it so I don't have to deal with it. CHUCK: That sounds so nice. Oh, wow! ASHE: I really like it. I've been using it a lot especially for email. CHUCK: Hah! I'm really going to have to look into that. Was that three? ASHE: That was three! CHUCK: Cool! Alright, so my picks: my first pick, and this is something that I picked before and it's similar to something that Ashe mentioned before, and that is my "Anker Battery Backup" for my phone and stuff. Last time I was travelling, I think it was when we went down to St. George for the Parade of Homes, which is you go through these high-end homes and you see what they did and all this stuff, but we were out all day everyday and I used it to charge my phone, my wife's phone, my sister-in-law's phone, the first day, and then basically did the same thing the second day, and it still had about a quarter of the battery left. So, it's pretty awesome and super nice to have. The other one that I want to pick, and this is something that I just ordered that I really looking forward to and this is what I was trying to talk about and I did a poor job of it, and that is the "D-Link SharePort Go Mobile", and I'll put a link to that in the show notes as well. Basically what it is, it has a rechargeable battery in it and you can also hook your USB drive up to it, and then it's like a shared drive on your network. But it's basically a private network for all of your devices, and then to connect to the internet, you just connect it to whatever existing WiFi is there. So if you're in the airport, you do that; if you're in the hotel, you connect it to the hotel's WiFi; if you're at the conference, you connect it to the conference's WiFi. That way, you can have all of your devices connected, you're not bugging down the WiFi for everybody by taking up 5 IP addresses, and it does some of the encryption and management for you. So, really excited about it; I'll put a link to that in the show notes, and then I'll also put a link to the review that geekbeat.tv did of it because that's where I heard about it and that's why I'm looking forward to using it, because of them. Anyway, other than that, I'm just going to wrap it up. I'm going to be recording a little spot to go at the beginning of all the shows, but I just want to ask you, if you like this show and you want to give back to the show, we have an Indiegogo campaign out to put together a little bit more professional website that provides a lot of the features that people have been asking for for this and other shows, and so I'm going to pull it all together. In that way, you can find everything that we do in this podcast network and be able to take advantage of everything that we have. So, thanks for that! We'll wrap this up; we'll catch you all next week!