Tips for TechEd 2014 (or any tech conference)
I have compiled this list of useful tips for attending TechEd 2014 (or any tech conference). I did not invent these tips but acquired them through my friends in “theKrewe”…
Tip # 1 – JOIN theKrewe!!! <- this is the best move you can make, Membership has it's privileges…and membership is FREE! Join early so that you can signup for after parties, learn about the event, and learn tips like these! P.S. you will make a lot of new friends from around the globe!
Tip # 2 – Wear comfortable shoes… You will be walking for MILES. Put gel inserts in your nicely broken in shoes your feet will thank you later. Also you can wrap "mole skin" on places on your feet that are prone to blister!
Tip # 3 – Dress for the season… Houston in May is going to be HOT, however be prepared, the weather can change in an instant! I would suggest packing shorts as well as long pants and bring a hoodie or sweater. The weather will be hot outside, but can be chilly in the sessions.
Tip # 4 – Don't be afraid to stock up on free drinks and snacks that are provided at the conference. You will need those calories and it can save you money! I personally know of a few "professional" conference attendees who stock their hotel fridges with drinks/snacks obtained at the conference! Personally after a day of long sessions, you may have 30-60 minutes to grab a bite to eat, shower & change before heading to an after party. If you have snacks in your room, you may just make those cool events (note: not all of the parties have food!).
Tip # 5 – Plan, Plan, Plan your Sessions… At TechEd 2013 I had planned several time slots that were free, so that I could have time to check out the Tech Expo (to get SWAG) meet vendors I was interested in, took a few Hands On Labs, and took advantage of 1/2 off Certification tests. I would suggest if there are sessions you can pass on Monday when the Tech Expo opens, to hit the Tech Expo then, as some of the best SWAG will be gone by the end of the 1st day!
Tip # 6 – Get a FitBit… You can track your mileage! I learned about these cool step trackers at TechEd 2013, I didn't have one, but I will have one for 2014! Some of theKrewe even compete with them, making it more fun to hustle to your sessions!
Tip # 7 – Don't carry a bunch of unnecessary equipment! At TechEd everyone gets a new Backpack. Unless you need to log in to do work while at TechEd, I would suggest leaving your laptop in your hotel room. Bring your Fruitpad or Surface and shave the weight! Toting a 5-8lb computer all day is going to wear you out! Go low tech and carry a pen and pad of paper, your back and legs will thank you later!
Tip # 8 – Be early to Breakfast & Lunch… If you plan on eating the provided breakfast and lunch, get their early. There will be 10,000-13,000 people eating, I've heard at times they have run out of food. Some have said breakfast is best at the hotel, but if you eat at the conference its provided! A week in New Orleans for TechEd 2013, I bought 1 breakfast and 1 dinner, the rest of the week I ate for free! My expenses were so low, that I could guarantee coming to TechEd 2014!
Tip # 9 – Bring a power strip and/or extension cord… If you share the power you will feel the love!
Tip # 12 – WASH YOUR HANDS!!! There are thousands of people who attend the conference, and there is nothing worse than seeing people use the restroom and leaving without washing their hands! Many people end up sick after these events because of people that are unsanitary!
Tip # 13 – Hand Sanitizer… Use it religiously! See Tip # 12 for explanation!