CES Survival Guide – 7 Tips For a Successful Consumer Electronic Show

Stock up on Water
There’s something about Las Vegas that creates a constant state of feeling parched. All the strip hotels charge $3-4 for the convenience of in room bottled water. You can pick up a 6-pack of bottles for that price by dropping in on one of the Walgreens located near the strip. There’s a Walgreens on the northeast corner of Convention Center Dr and S Las Vegas Blvd, directly across from the Stardust, which is convenient for Wynn guests and another one further down the strip about midway between the Aladdin and MGM Grand. Both are open 24 hours and have all the usual drug store supplies.
Change Your Socks
If you’re doing the Las Vegas conference circuit as I do several times every year, you already know a good pair of shoes will save your feet. Take that a step further and bring 2 pairs of socks for every day you’re in town. Changing socks midway through the day will re-energize your feet.
Avoid the LVCC Monorail Entrance
When the LVCC halls close for the day, a mass exodus of attendees ride the escalator to grab a seat on the monorail. Avoid the temptation and seek other transportation. The lines are long and you will easily spend as much or more time waiting as you would simply taking one of the available buses back to your hotel. If you must ride the monorail, take a short walk to the Las Vegas Hilton and use the entrance there. The line is shorter and you are more likely to grab a seat before the stop at the LVCC where everyone is clambering to get on board.
Get an iGo Universal Power Adapter
Universal power adapters certainly aren’t sexy, but they will cut down on the amount of extra stuff you carry. iGo makes several universal adapters that both reduce the amount of space you need for carrying power cords as well as providing an efficient way to charge your devices. Depending on how many gadgets you travel with the company makes chargers that can re-power more than one device simultaneously. I once eliminated almost a pound from my gear bag simply by removing all the chargers. [Disclosure: I get nothing for recommending iGo, I simply like that they solve a common problem]
Stay Near the LVCC or Stay Far Away
The best casino action may be on the strip, but the best hotels for CES are either near the Las Vegas Convention Center or off the beaten path. The closest hotels are the Marriott Residence Inn and Courtyard by Marriott hotels – these fill early and are often hard to get into. The Las Vegas Hilton also gets you close, while providing the Casino Experience. On the cheap you can stay at the Sommerset House Inn, which doesn’t look like much but provides a clean place to sleep. The Marriott next door to Piero’s on Convention Center Drive is also a good choice for staying close.
For far away, The Orleans and the Gold Coast are both hundreds of dollars cheaper per night and have much shorter cab lines than the strip hotels, which means less travel time even though they are far away.
The exception to this rule is Wynn, which is on the strip but provides free shuttle service to LVCC right on the Wynn grounds.
Pack a USPS Flat Rate Box
I make it a rule to skip most schwag at CES, but I always end up with a few extra items. Rather than resorting to sitting on your suitcase and forcing it closed, plan ahead and bring a USPS Flat Rate postage box to ship your extras. You can pack it pre-taped in your suitcase, with your stuff in side, then remove the box and use it for shipping the extra stuff you end up with at the show. Most hotels offer postal service at the desk. For about $10, you won’t have to fight for extra room at the end of the show.
Bring Emergen-C
No one gets enough sleep during CES. The constant exposure to cigarette smoke in every building combined with lack of sleep will certainly run you down (and according to some research, deplete your B Vitamin supply). Emergen-C packs a hefty combo of vitamin C coupled with a B-vitamin cocktail, which helps you body purge the toxins and keep your energy up while you’re pushing your body beyond it’s normal limits.
Todd Cochrane of Geek New Central offers a few more CES survival tips.