I’ve been attending VMworld since 2006, and over the past 6 years I’ve learned a lot about what to pack and how to best organize my week. So I thought I would share some of those things with you.
Obviously, you should bring your laptop, phone, clothes etc… but what else should you bring? Firstly, bring a spare battery pack for your phone/tablet! When you are running around Mascone there are lots of dead/weak signal spots and your phone will be searching for signal and eating up a ton of power. On top of that, if you are using Twitter, Facebook or others you can count on half a day or less of phone life. Personally, I have a little myCharge Power Bank 3000, which has a USB connectors and iPhone connectors so I can share it out if a friend is running low or power my own.
If you have one, a powered USB Hub is a life saver and will make you 1000 friends at times. I always bring one to share.
Along that same vien, I would bring small pre-organized cables, aka. cable ties. There is nothing worse than having all of your phone cables, power packs etc… tangled in a mess. I bring a bunch of cables all wire wrapped so they are big enough to plug into my laptop and give me 6 – 12″ of length. Also a few extra cable ties in case I need to break one or someone needs one.
Next, bring comfortable shoes… 2 – 3 pairs. Maybe it’s common sense, but you should always rotate shoes one pair every 2 – 3 days max anyways, but make sure you bring several comfortable pairs that are NOT new. Now is the time to break in new shoes, not at VMworld when you will get blisters if they don’t fit right. Add to that the cost of getting a different, non-blistering, pair in SF… ouch! Just bring a few, I tell folks this every year.
Food! Did I mention food? VMware does a great job of feeding folks, even if it is boxed food 😉 I always recommend to bring or buy a box of granola bars and take a few with you each day. You are going to be doing a lot of walking in those shoes of yours and a lot of talking, so having something readily available can be a life saver at times. Also, it will keep you from crashing to early if you want to go to all of those late night parties.
Each year, VMware tends to give you a backpack, so you don’t need to bring one to the show. However… I hate lugging that around and frankly they tend to be large. My wife hates me for it, but having a very small messager bag (ok, mine is a Murse) that can hold my phone, tablet, charging cables and food is all I need. Less is more when you are running around for a week. Also, it’s 100x easier to spot my bag vs. which of the 20k VMworld back packs is mine.