Location: Austin, TX
Length of trip: 6 Days
Job Title: Office PA
Before you go:
Like with any trip, familiarize yourself with a map. Get a rough idea of the neighborhoods, pinpoint key locations, and check the weather - because unlike a regular trip, if you bring the wrong clothes or get lost it could effect the production schedule (or make you look unprepared). Find out if there is there is public transportation and how to use it (do you buy a card ahead of time, pay per ride or location, etc). Even do a little research on what you want to see so you can maximize any down time or suggest a great place for a crew lunch, dinner or drinks.
Something to note: If you are coming from NYC you may be surprised to find out that other cities/locations don’t operate 24 hours a day (or even past 4pm). Be aware the local pharmacies, banks and liquor stores may keep different hours than you’re used to.
For the plane:
Dress comfortably (but not too comfortably - no sweatgear). I like leggings, an oversized sweater or blazer with some jewelry and flats. Have your laptop handy (and charged, although some planes have outlets) for the flight and make sure to download any work from Dropbox or Google Drive so you can work on it in case the wifi is out. Know what the game plan is when you land so you will have readily available the equipment you might need, or at least know where it is!
Know the operating hours of your car rental pickup/drop off location and keep your reservation number handy. Call ahead if you can to make sure your car is ready.
I like to stick with carry on when traveling for work as it eliminates any lost baggage potential. Depending on the shoot and weather, going away for a week could require a few pairs of pants (re-wearable ones like jeans) and two or three tops for each (for additional days, in case you stain your clothes or want to change for dinner). Pack one nice outfit just in case. Always pack exercise clothes and bathing suit (if you swim), you never know if you’ll get put up in hotel with a gym or a nice pool - or in Austin’s case, natural springs nearby. Bring the essentials: underwear, socks, sneakers, flats. I have a made-for-carry-on, wheeled bag (those wheels come in handy!) so I know I can only fit what goes in there. If you are working with a label, definitely pack some branded material!
Again, anything you would need on a regular trip, but maybe some extra comforts like facial spray/wipes or wrinkle-release spray (remember, if carrying on, all toiletries must be under 3oz and in a clear ziplock bag, no scissors or razors). A small book or magazine to read. Although I almost never get to it, I bring some personal work in case I have time at the end of the day. Also, when traveling, food sources can be sparse (airport, airplane, roadside), I like to carry some healthy snacks with me so I can avoid the not-so-great way those foods make me feel. Lara bars, Le Pain des Fleur crackers, a nut mix with some thickly shredded coconut & granola - whatever you like that you can fit in a well-sealed tupperware. Take out cash. Take it from someone who never carries cash - this will reduce any time issues if a place doesn’t take credit cards, you need to tip someone, etc.
Bring a camera if you have one. Your laptop, phone and charger (+ adapter charger for the car). Notebook, pens, planner (optional). USB Drive. Headphones. Mints or gum. Something to put papers in (I use my computer case, it has a plastic divider). On my phone I keep Dropbox, Google Drive, Genius Scan, Gate Guru, TripIt, an itinerary* (* I like to make a small itinerary that I can keep handy in my photo stream with flight info, car rental confirmations, hotel address - anything you might need to know quickly).
Where to get it:
Words & Images by Christine O'Leary