We are less than a month away from SXSW. At this point, I hope you’ve secured your housing and transportation. If not, you can still find some options on Airbnb and within the unknown depths of Craigslist. With that out of the way, we can focus on the preparation.
In my experience, there are few things that can enhance your trip and the value you get out of SXSW. In an effort to reduce your learning curve, check out my short check list below. If you have additional tips or insights, please leave them in the comments.
- Stay charged and connected. A mobile battery is a great way to stay on top of your game. You’ll be Tweeting, checking emails, consulting the SXSW app, texting or Snap-chatting people you just met over free food and drinks. If you’re not sure which one you should buy, our Director of Strategy recommends Satechi and our Creative Director recommends Mophie.
- Most of you will be speed dating for four straight days. This is the not so glamorous side of SXSW, but networking is a big part of why people attend. So, have your personal pitch down, be prepared to talk about a few of the events you’ll be attending, and make sure you bring a healthy supply of business cards.
- A sad fact of SXSW is that you can’t attend all the sessions. Do your research now and find three sessions a day that you must hit in order to get your return on investment. As a friendly reminder, you’ll need to walk between hotel convention centers, restaurants, and the main convention center, which takes time. So, plan your priorities and backup options because popular sessions will reach capacity.
- I would have lost weight last year walking around Austin if it wasn’t for the constant flow of free tacos and beer, which I’ll get to in a second, but a fun way to log your experience is in the amount of steps you take. Odds are your phone has a pedometer or you’re hip to the wearable fitness gadget trend and have a Nike fuel band or watch. In any event, you’ll want to know how many miles you walk because it’s a fun metric to include your recap report.
- Food and drink. If you do it right, you shouldn’t have to pay for a single meal or beverage. Luckily, there are entrepreneurs who streamlined the unofficial and offsite SXSW parties. In my opinion, Do512 is the best source and you can check out the parties here. Also, you can find events on Gary’s Guide and RSVPters. The same rule with sessions holds true with parties—find a few that you need to attend and make them a priority.
If you’re going to SXSW, let us know. We’d love to meet up for tacos and beer in Austin.