Continuing with some of my travel-related thoughts:
Round-The-World (RTW) Air Ticket: I normally take an RTW ticket when I fly to the US, especially if I know I have to travel to both the coasts. An RTW allows a lot of flexibility in terms of destinations across Asia, Europe and the US as long as one keep traveling in the same direction no backtracking is allowed. The other condition for an RTW is a trip duration of a minimum of 10 days. The options that the RTW allows has encouraged me to see new places, especially in Asia. Try it out the next time you travel.
Airlines: I can categorically make a statement the Asian carriers are way ahead of their US and European counterparts in the inflight travel experience. From the seats to the entertainment choices, the Asian airlines proffer a much better all-round experience. Just for the record, my RTW had Singapore Airlines from India to the US, United Airlines in the US, and Lufthansa from the US to India.
Hotels: Priceline.com works well when there is flexibility where you want to stay. If you have a specific choice of hotel, then it is not the best option. Other choices for hotels in the US include Hotels.com and Expedia.com. Many hotel chains also offer savings for Internet bookings. Some of my recommendations: San Francisco (King George Hotel, very close to Union Square), Bay Area (Sunnyvale Corporate Inn), Boston (Doubletree Guest Suites). In New York, unless you are there as a tourist, do not stay at Hotel Pennsylvania!
Vegetarian Meals: A couple of tips for those who have food restrictions: make sure you order the Asian/Indian vegetarian meal on the flight. For good measure, carry theplas or khakras with you the bread choices inflight arent great. Khakras can stay fresh for a long time. Also beware of Naans in most restaurants they have egg in them. Stick to the tandoori roti or the paratha. To be safe, check with the chef.
Yahoo Maps: Make sure that before you go for any meeting (even if you are taking a cab), you get the exact directions to the venue by looking up Yahoo Maps (or Mapquest). There is little margin for error a few minutes invested ahead of time can save some grief later.
Homework: I would make sure that I did two things: send a brief note about what we are working on ahead of time to the people I was meeting so that they would have a good background and it would save me precious minutes trying to explain the vision in the face-to-face session, and do a check on the company and person I was meeting. Company websites and Google have plenty of information we need to make sure we invest the time. Together, these two help in making for a more productive session. I would keep about 60-75 minutes for each meeting, and then budget for the travel time. We were punctual for all the meetings except one (late by five minutes, because I noted down one of the turnings incorrectly!)
Tomorrow: Silicon Valley Observations
TECH TALK American Journey+T