Like many other Seattle area tech interns, I have a lot of friends working in the Bay Area. (“Our entire computer science department relocated to San Francisco!” bemoaned one of my coworkers, who goes to school in Rhode Island.) So I decided to drive down to see those friends, over the course of a weekend. It was a long drive for a short trip, but altogether it was completely worth it.

A quick pack-check for those who decide to do the same.

  1. Friends. This is the most important one. I didn’t drive to San Francisco by myself, thank god; I took turns driving with three of my fellow Seattle interns. There’s no way that I could have made it down driving by myself–we drove straight through. A lot of people, including my parents, were adamant that we should fly down instead, but we each saved a couple hundred dollars this way (including gas!).
  2. Music, hosted locally. A couple of us got really excited and made a 28 hour driving playlist on Rdio. While Rdio is a great service, there was no way we could sync all that music to a music player–and, of course, we rarely had 3G as we were bumping down the rural highways. We were stuck listening to Backstreet Boys for hours on end.
  3. A clean pair of underwear. If you’re going to drive down and crash somewhere randomly, you can’t count on having your big bag (or your toothbrush, or your pillow) with you. You don’t really know which couch you’re going to crash on. You can borrow some toothpaste, but there are some things you can’t borrow. To that end–a clean pair of underwear. In your day bag.
  4. The right apps. I’ve sung the praises of foursquare Explore before (especially as a tourist), but everyone likes their own apps. On this trip, the Yelp app was especially helpful. (There was some speculation that NY-based foursquare is better on the East Coast and SF-based Yelp is better on the West, but I think it just boils down to user preference.)
  5. Sturdy walking shoes. San Francisco is a fun city to wander around in. Your feet won’t find it nearly as fun by the end of the day. We walked up to Coit Tower (“walked” is perhaps too a gentle word; “climbed” or “hiked” might be more appropriate).
  6. A camera. Because you’re going to want to relive those precious 30-some hours that you’re actually there as much as you possibly can.

Well, that’s it.

I mean, bring other stuff too. But especially especially don’t forget that stuff.

I’m Tess Rinearson, a computer science student, current Microsoft intern and Seattle native. This is my second attempt at travel blogging (I don’t usually write about this stuff). If you liked it, or even if you didn’t, you might want to follow me on Twitter.



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