I've just finished my third and final day at CES 2012, and I'd like to start a new tradition. I'm going to share some of the things I learned while extreme blogging at one of the largest trade shows in the world. Some of the tips are specific to Las Vegas, and some are simply a good idea.
1. The press badge changes colors each year, but it always has a lot of pockets. This year I figured out that I should keep my monorail pass, door key, pen, and business cards in the extra pockets.
I wish I'd figured this out last year; everything was just shoved in my pants pockets then. At one point I pulled knocked my room key and rail pass out if my pocket while pulling out my business cards.
2. You don't need a jacket most mornings, and you don't even need a long sleeve shirt.
Yes, it's nippy, but most mornings in Vegas are not nearly cold enough to do any harm while you walk to the monorail. After 3 visits I have needed my jacket exactly once. It was this morning, and even the natives said it was unusually cold.
3. The weight of a gear bag is important. Even ounces matter when it's going to be on your shoulder all day.
Leave out anything you're not absolutely sure you're going to use. You don't need a backup camera or batteries. Most of us don't need a tripod, either. Heck, this year I left my laptop case in my hotel room just to save a few more ounces.
Do you know they most popular computer at CES (among bloggers)? It was the Macbook Air, and everyone had it because it was so damned light, not just because they're Apple fans. That's how much weight matters.
3. The monorail is a cheap way to get to and from the LVCC, but sometimes it's better to take a taxi and save the wear and tear on your feet.
Off site events are often far away from the monorail stations. I remember last year when Pepcom was held at Caesar's Palace. That convention space was so far away from the strip that I swear to ghod that we crossed the CA state line. No, seriously, I was stopped and asked if I was importing any vegetables. If I'd known it was that far away I would have taken a taxi.
4. It's faster to go around the various convention halls than it is to go through.
It took me a couple days on my first trip to figure out that the fastest way to get from the rear to the front of central hall was to leave and walk down the lobby. And the fastest way to get from one end of south hall to the other is to go outside and walk down the sidewalk.
Got any good convention and tradeshow tips? Share them in the comments.
Update: Here are a few more thoughts:
5. Most hotel rooms don't have enough outlets. Bring a power strip.
Every year I forget to bring a power strip, and every year I swear I'm going to bring it next time around. I need to charge multiple gadgets most evenings and a power strip would really help.
6. Don't skip a day of a tradeshow just to save on your total cost (unless you absolutely know that you don't need to be there).
Saving money is good, but there's a point where you can go too far and the savings aren't worth what you give up.