International travel can be a joy or it can be a pain. As I pack my bags to return to Hyderabad, India this afternoon, I’ve tried to pack my carry-ons smartly but lightly. My carry-on items include:

  • Spare pair of short pants (it’s hot in Hyderabad, even this time of year) and a T-shirt in case my luggage is delayed for days as it was the last time I traveled to Hyderabad, or in case I get orange juice dumped on me again during the flight.
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, and deodorant—handy for refreshing yourself near the end of a long flight, and even handier if your luggage doesn’t make it.
  • Plenty of reading material: three novels, the last three issues of Jet Power magazine (which I have judiciously avoided reading to save them for the trip), and the latest issues of Model Airplane News, Fly RC, Flight Journal, and Aviation History.
  • Sandwich-size bag of gorp: my own concoction of M&Ms, raisins, and cashew nuts.
  • Enough rupees to get me to my hotel even if I don’t have the opportunity to change money. And some extra US dollars in case I need cash and can’t find a cash machine.
  • Laptop computer, charger, spare charger, and travel mouse. Nothing makes time on an airplane fly by like immersing yourself in work—especially if that work involves writing code.
  • Passport, visa, and a copy of my passport in case it gets lost.

My route tonight takes me through Memphis and Amsterdam on my way to Hyderabad. If all goes well, I’ll drag into my hotel room in Hyderabad around 4:00 a.m. Saturday morning, Hyderabad time. I’ll have until Monday morning to rest up from the trip and put my game face on for a week at Microsoft. I’ll bet the Microsoft developers in India get tired of taking classes from jet-lagged instructors. But they should feel better knowing they’re not the ones having to make the trip.