How To Travel Smart, With Tips From Special Guest Death Stranding

The world is finally able to dig into Death Stranding and while it might be getting mixed reviews, I’ve been loving it so far. I am a weirdo who loves to plan ahead and Death Stranding reminds me of one of my favorite pastimes that benefits from lots of planning: traveling. In fact, the game teaches you to be efficient at packing and travel with ease.

I travel a lot for fun and for work, and Death Stranding reminds me of the night before a big 15-hour flight when I have to make checklists, set reminders and test gear. So I decided to make a dumb video about what the game teaches us about packing. Watch the video above or read the transcript below if you don’t want any of the jokes to land.


One thing Death Stranding makes clear about preparing for a trip is that you should try your best not to take too much with you in one go. Can you knock out two objectives safely in one go? Sure, then go for it.


Does it make more sense to not overdo it and save that extra standard order for another time? Probably. This will save you time in the long run by not having to waste time repairing damaged cases or redoing deliveries because you were ill-equipped to handle whatever the game threw at you.

In real life, this boils down to making sure you don’t bring too much with you on your trip. First tip: if you can avoid it, don’t check a bag in.

Especially if you’re traveling internationally, you want to pack as light as possible if you’re planning on doing any fun day trips. Or, in the interest of time, this will help you make sure you’re not stuck at baggage claim waiting for your stuff while your vacation timer ticks down.

I travel quite often, sometimes lugging a lot of photo and video gear for work. Planning what comes with me and what gets left behind is crucial. Do it badly and you’re running into problems at airport security, getting through the terminal, you name it. Do it right and you can have as stress-free of a trip as possible once you land. Save that other stuff for another trip.


In Death Stranding, trying to take on several deliveries in one go can weigh your character down and set you up for failure if you forget to pack any repair spray, take a tumble down a cliff, or get jumped by a group of Mules.

In real life, hopefully you won’t encounter any of those things on the way to the airport, but if you’ve ever flown out of Newark or LaGuardia, you just never know.


If you must check in a bag, make sure you put all of the non-essential items in there. Yes, this also applies to any goodies you’ve picked up for yourself or as gifts for friends and family.

Death Stranding shows that it can be wise to divide what you pack. Any usable items that you need direct access to like grenades or blood bags should be on your back or on your body at all times.


If you have the floating carrier or a reverse trike, use those as storage.

In real life, let’s say you’re bringing photo or video gear, that will usually mean a tripod or a monopod that’s just a little too big to attach to your backpack. Throw anything you can live without like extra shirts or hoodies in that tripod case in the event that it goes missing. That can give you a little extra room in your carry-on.


Using the right bags is key. I recommend carrying a backpack and an additional smaller bag that you can strap to your chest. If you can rig these two things together, they can count as one personal item if anybody is annoying enough to bug you about it.

I bring this little bag I found at an outdoor hiking shop in Tokyo for my essential items, and I use it for everyday use when I commute here at home. This smaller bag should hold your essential items like your passport, cards, cell phone chargers, cash, and a portable charger.


Think of these things as your blood bags. Without these things you probably won’t last long.

Your backpack should hold any gadgets to kill time on the plane, your toiletries, an extra change of clothes and any additional items you wouldn’t cry over if they went tumbling down a steep cliff into the abyss.


A carry-on bag is crucial for packing all of the things you’ll need once you land and are settled in wherever you’re staying. A smaller rolling case with wheels is ideal if you plan to walk around in whatever city you’re in.

Think of it as a floating carrier or the reverse trike.

Unless you have bionic exoskeleton legs, that duffel bag might seem cute, but when it’s stuffed with clothes and an extra pair of shoes, trust me you’ll feel differently when you’re running down the terminal to catch your flight.


Anticipate what you might need in terms of day-to-day needs and bring things along that can serve multiple purposes. This is true in the game and in real life.

Can that ladder in Death Stranding work to cross a gap and climb a short distance? Probably. This also applies to things like footwear or jackets. Do you really need to flex and bring three pairs of shoes? No, probably not.


Wear a simple pair that you can slip on and off to get through security and an extra pair if you want to feel fancy during a night out.

In Death Stranding, you can unlock the ability to check the weather forecast to avoid “Timefall” which is basically rain that accelerates the rate at which things age or deteriorate. In the game, this helps you plan the right route to avoid the rain and the condition of your packages.


Checking the weather where you’re going is key for real travel, too. So if it is going to rain all week, you don’t want to be stuck without a good pair of shoes or a jacket to keep you dry.

Lastly, navigating in Death Stranding can give you an advantage if you plot a route before venturing out too. Depending on what city you fly into, you might be able to download the map on your phone.


Say, for example, I’m flying to San Francisco, Google Maps has a feature that lets you download a map for offline use in the event that you have no signal or want to turn your phone into a wifi-only device to avoid any potential roaming charges.

You probably won’t face any of the dangers that our boy Sam will in Death Stranding but it’s always good to be prepared and pack as light as you can.


Best of luck out there.

Video Producer, Kotaku. Fluent in Spanglish. Tetris Master. Streamer. Host of The Optional Podcast.

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In your video you repeatedly repair your packages while you’re traveling. A better method is to wait until you get to your destination, then repair your gear. Why repair the items if they’re likely to get damaged again?