Last October I attended Pubcon for the first time. I don’t really like to fly so it took me awhile to build up the nerve to pitch to speak, but I did it and went to Vegas. It was really great and I enjoyed the conference a lot. However, there were some things I wasn’t expecting and I learned a lot surviving this Vegas trip. So, here are some tips for surviving Vegas.
Plan and Rest
You need to show up to the conference rested. So, I suggest you plan out clothes and other items you will need a couple of weeks ahead of time and take the last week to sleep as much as possible! Don’t go to Vegas exhausted; I did that and it was a bad idea.
Live in a Humidity-Filled Environment? You WILL Need Water…
…you will need a lot of water! I live in the lower half of Florida. It is humid here, really humid. I did not expect the dryness of Vegas and I had no idea what the lack of humidity would do to my body. Here is a quick list:
- My skin got very dry very fast (I even felt it on the plane). Bring lotion, hand lotions and perhaps Chapstick.
- My legs and feet swelled (drink water).
- I felt weak at times.
- My curly hair was suddenly very straight (what the heck).
- By the time I left my skin was wrecked.
It was suggested to me that I drink water and I kind of did, but not nearly enough. If you are not someone that drinks 8 glasses of water a day, you live in humidity and you are going to Pubcon you need to become a water drinker fast. When you are there grab bottles of water and force yourself to drink them; you will be happy that you did. If you plan on partaking in some alcohol drinking you really need to drink as much water as you can during the day and even at night.
The Convention Center is Cold, Y’all
Bring a hoodie, jacket or sweatshirt. Bring something! This tip saved me and I was comfortable the entire time I was there. I would also recommend pants over shorts, but hey, you know best. The hotels and casinos are pretty chilly too, so bringing a back-up jacket is always a good idea.
I got a great pair of tennis shoes before I left and walked all over the convention center in them. It was the best thing I did. A few nights I decided to wear my comfortable heeled boots…
FYI, after standing around talking to geeks and walking around hotels, restaurants and/or night events at the convention center my heeled boots were no longer comfy. In fact, my feet were asking me to just shoot them and end their misery.
There are places you are going to want to look nice and perhaps be a bit dressy, but you need comfortable shoes. Go shopping and find some comfortable dressy shoes and wear them around your house for a few hours first and break them in.
Ha, sleeping in Vegas, that is funny. Seriously though, you need to find ways to get some sleep here and there. You have 3-4 days of conference time and 4-5 nights of hanging, possibly drinking and networking. The earliest I got to bed was 3:30 and the late-night networking is so worth it.
Sleep as long as you can at night. Go through the Pubcon sessions and look at the ones you don’t want to miss. If you have an hour where you have nothing to do and you have an opportunity for a nap, take it. I saw people sitting and crashing in the convention center and wondered why; now I know why.
Carrying Stuff to the Conference
When I went I was carrying shirts to give away, a large video camera and my laptop bag. Within three hours I was exhausted. When I go back to Pubcon I will be taking something really small, like a netbook. A 3-4 pound computer doesn’t seem like a lot, but after hours of walking it is. Plus you have business cards, a bottle of water, perhaps a snack, swag…? Whatever you carry, that bag will feel heavy after a few hours. Minimize what you take.
Cash and Cameras
Bring a small camera if you want some great pics of cool people. FYI, we saw Matt at the Monday night kickoff party and he was there or the keynote the next day and then he was gone! Don’t miss the kickoff party
FYI, the security line at the Vegas airport is extremely long. Extremely, extremely long. TSA is not even slightly friendly at this airport. Do not get to the airport late and hope to catch your flight. I also suggest wearing things that are easy to deal with at the airport. Flip flops, not belt, hoodie. Be a bum and it is easier to get through the line.
You Will Have a Blast!
The only other recommendation I have is if you are going to be partying make sure you have a friend that will keep an eye on you and make sure you do nothing that will end up on TV or Twitter.
If you are going have fun! If you are not sure if you should go? I think everyone needs to go and experience it at least once. Just remember, all expenses are tax deductions!