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Tips for Travelling to San Fransisco from Kate Kirwin

May 22, 2019

So you’re heading to San Francisco? Here’s my top tips for surviving and thriving in the Bay Area.

To pack:

-       Your passport. Make sure you’ve applied for a visa or ESTA visa in advance of your trip

-       Your company merch – and pack as many as you can. More shirts = less wasted time doing laundry

-       Business cards and anything else you want to hand out. I packed stickers, cards, and caramello koalas

-       Chargers for all your devices

-       A battery pack for when your phone inevitably dies from too much google mapping

-       A US plug adapter

-       Headphones for the plane

-       Plenty of layers, San Francisco Bay Area has hundreds of microclimates. It can vary up to 10 degrees depending on where you are

-       A sense of adventure

Do your homework

The Bay Area is BIG! Naively most Australians assume that SF and Silicon Valley are close to each other, and that you can hop between Google, Apple, Facebook and the other tech giants campuses. Each campus is the size of a city, and are a 10-15 min drive from each other – and 45-90 min drive from SF depending on traffic. Make sure you know where you want to focus your energy and avoid spending all your time and energy going up and down the peninsula. In SF, traffic sucks. I found walking between meetings was often easier than getting an Uber or Lyft. My personal favourite form of transport is on-demand electric scooters from companies like Skip and Scoot.

LinkedIn is your friend

Intros may as well be currency in SF. Look through your 2nd connections on LinkedIn and see who is in your extended network, and ask for a warm intro. If you’re a startup founder, have a look for your competitors, or founders who have tried and failed in your industry – and ask them why. Australians are generally well liked, and there are a lot of us in the Bay Area – most of whom want to hear about the tech ecosystem back in Aus, and want to see it succeed.


This hashtag (coined by Julie Trell) was used extensively over our trip. Americans are much better at selling themselves and their successes than we are, so you have to learn how to be confident – fast! Once you’ve pumped up the confidence level, get bold about asking – asking for meetings, asking for advice, asking for connections to other people. I met a lot of incredible people, and got some valuable advice along the way.  

Kate is the founder of Perth{web}Girls, and Programs Coordinator at Spacecubed, you can follow her on LinkedIn here.

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