Why a Travel Guide?
With GDC 2023 coming up next week and I see people talking about in on Twitter, I figured I could write down my tips & tricks for traveling as a gamedev I have gathered over the years!
It's not inherently for gamedevs (in fact, it's not specific at all), but I consider my target audience to be gamedevs!
Why am I qualified?
I worked as a Gaming Solution Architect for over three years now, and I have had quite a few trips to many studios & events. So I know a thing or two about traveling as a gamedev!
Show me the tips!
1. Get a good trolley
Get a hard-shell trolley for your carry-on luggage. Hard shell, so it can protect your stuff. Like your laptop! Also, there are quite a few nifty ones out there with dedicated laptop opening, powerbank-pouch with a USB port, and even a TSA lock!
Speaking of TSA Lock: if you want to lock your luggage, get a TSA lock. TSA locks are locks that can be opened by TSA agents, so they can check your luggage if they want to. If you use a regular lock, they will break it - or your trolley.
2. What to pack?
I always pack my laptop in my carry-on luggage. Specifically on a long-haul flight, you might want to work or play games on it.
Also pack in your carry-on luggage. You never know when you need to charge your phone or laptop. I always carry a powerbank with me, and I always have a USB-C cable with me.
🛡️ USB Condom
You don't want to get your phone compromised by a USB port in an airport or elsewhere. So always use a USB condom.
This is a USB adapter which disables the data lane. You can also make it yourself!
Check out this guide on how you can protect yourself.
🧵 USB cables
I need many. I have two Android phones (work and private), Samsung Galaxy Watch charging pad, Headphones, and a powerbank.
Make a list, and pack them in a nice bag!
Noise canceling headphones are quite nice. I use Microsoft Surface Headphones 2.
🔌 Power Supply
DO NOT FORGET YOUR POWER SUPPLY FOR YOUR LAPTOP! I have forgotten it once, and I had to buy a new one. It was not fun. And quite expensive.
I also carry a multi-USB port power supply, so I can charge multiple devices at once. Each of the ports should have an output of 2A or more to achieve a significant charging speed.
🐽 Outlet Adapter
Traveling to another country? Make sure you have an outlet converter. There are these great cubes which can adapt to a lot of different standards and also have USB ports.
📺 HDMI Cable
You probably want to watch TV shows on your laptop or play games. So make sure you have an HDMI cable with you. HDMI is still the most common input for TVs across the world.
Perhaps also get adapters for your switch or whatever console you are bringing to play!
📺 ➕ 💻Display Adapter
Speaking of adapters: you likely have a modern laptop or console which has only USB-C ports for display adapters. You definitely want to think about bringing one of these. They can be expensive!
If you're like me and use a laptop to play, don't forget to bring a controller.
General Travel Advice
📶 Mobile Connectivity
Make sure you research your options for local mobile connectivity.
The easiest is of course roaming. But be careful! Roaming can be super expensive! Do research your options for your own carrier. If these are prohibitively expensive, you can get a local sim card in many countries. However, some countries like make it extremely hard to get one (legally).
Download whatever you need on your travels and is of significant size or might be market-restricted.
You definitely need to use the download functionalities of Netflix, Amazon Prime etc, because it's not only large download sizes you might need to account for- but 🌍🤺 geofencing!
I was once in India for a week and I was super remote and I could not get a local sim card, and the Wifi was unstable at best. I could only watch one show because the others were geofenced and I could not download them from India.
VPNs sound interesting, but they are not a great idea. They're a privacy problem at best, and a massive security problem at worst.
💺 Book an Aisle Seat!
You will then always be in the last boarding group. This means you can totally chill and you can:
- Arrive later at the airport
- You don;t have to stand in boarding queue forever
- Less time to sit in on the plane
But there is one important caveat:
⚠️ You might not have a lot of space for your carry-on luggage! So be sure to travel with a small piece or only use that strategy on short flights where you can take the bag under your seat.
I hope my tips helped you with your travel! If they did, or you have some more suggestions, let me know via Twitter (@Structed)!
Thank you to @SanderVhove for the inspiration to write this post!
Header Photo by Denys Nevozhai via Unsplash