With NAB Show around the corner, I wanted to pass along a few things I’ve learned in my previous visits to the convention ... and a couple of websites that might be helpful.
Packing your Suitcase
This is funny, but I’ve never seen “a good way to pack your suitcase” ... and thought this looked like a good way.
And yet another person using the same method (with the Benny Hill “Yackety Sax” background music) ...
Here are some travel tips that you might find useful. Some apply more to woman, but there are a few here that are good to remember for everyone.
Things I’ve Learned:
This is my 25th consecutive NAB visit (all in Vegas of course). If you’ve been to the show (and Las Vegas) more than a couple of times, you may have already learned these the hard way (as I did):
Wear Comfortable Shoes
You will walk ... and walk ... and walk some more. And everything looks A LOT closer to you than it really is! That is especially true if you are on The Strip and see a hotel or casino “just down the road”... it isn’t “just” down the road! Rookie mistake.
A couple of years ago I stayed downtown and thought “that’s an easy walk” to the convention center. It wasn’t.
Be Prepared for Peddlers and “Hawkers”
The good Vegas weather allows for a lot of people to solicit for money or push “cards” (I say cards because anyone who has been on The Strip know what these are ... but for the most part, you probably do NOT want them!) I just say “no thanks” and walk by. As for the peddlers or panhandlers, what I can tell you is what a friend told me who works feeding the poor and hungry. If you truly want to help, donate to organizations that help these people. Handing them money often supports “needs” other than food.
Sign Up for Players Clubs and Other Rewards Programs
If you drop coins in “one-armed bandits”, don’t do this unless you sign up for the casino rewards programs. I know many people are smart enough not to do this (I’m not one of them), but at least know you may potentially get some benefit from your losses. I usually get a free meal or discounted/free room on my next visit.
Don’t Sit at a Bar and Let a Chatty Person of the Opposite Sex Sit Next to You and Become Your “Friend”
One year a nice enough lady spent 20 minutes next to me talking up a storm at Quark’s Bar at the old Star Trek Experience in the now renamed Las Vegas Hilton (yes, I’m a nerd). Had a nice enough time talking to her (this was prior to being married of course). When I went to leave, I found out the bartender had dropped her tab onto mine (yes, scammed!). Chalk this up to “live & learn.”
Sign Up for Giveaways on the NAB Show Floor
Like you, I “never win anything” ... until one year I returned from the show to receive a call from a broadcast equipment manufacturer saying I won a Segway ($4,300 prize!) I thought it was a joke until I received it at my doorstep. Cool? No. Incredibly awesome! So, yes, take advantage of the free opportunities.
Spiffs & Floor Freebies
Companies used to give away a lot more of these things 20 years ago, but look around for these things and grab some for home, work, your significant other, or kids. My wife and daughters always have fun going through the “bags of goodies” on my return. (And thanks to the companies that still “find it in their hearts” to give away little trinkets.)
Prior to the show, many people (myself included) make appointments and plan to visit particular manufacturers on the “floor” of the massive Las Vegas Convention Center. Look carefully at where they’re located. Schedule appointments or visit manufacturers who are close on the floor. There’s nothing worse than doing this haphazardly where you have a 9 a.m. appointment in the North Hall, then a 10 a.m. in South Lower, then back to North Hall at 11. You get the point. (* See above “Wear Comfortable Shoes”)
Make Friends and Get to Know Manufacturers
Almost hate to have to say this, but this is the best opportunity to forge great relationships with the people on the floor selling this gear. I can’t begin to count the number of friends I’ve made over the years. They'll be lifesavers when you need help with gear or have questions, and some of the friendships will last many, many years (even as some manufacturer’s reps move to selling gear with other companies). Oh, and have sympathy for them since they’re on their feet the whole time and stuck in one place. For me (and those of us attending and not showing), the convention is a little less work and probably a lot more fun than it is for the good people working the booths.
Take Advantage of Free Educational Opportunities
Don’t miss out on equipment demos on the floor. Many manufacturers will be happy to demonstrate their equipment or let you try it out. But not everything at the NAB Show takes place on the floor. In the rooms surrounding the various halls top professionals in the industry are teaching and letting you in on tips and secrets accrued from decades of experience. You couldn’t pay for the level of education and insight available in that one place for a few days. Plus, there are plenty of sessions about FCC policies, regulations and what’s coming up in the future. Bonus — Many of these pros are very accessible and friendly. Get to know them and they’ll be happy to take your call when you run across a problem you can’t solve. Extra credit — there’s an SBE Certification test held every year. If you don’t learn something new at the show, that’s on you.
Dress for the Day
Vegas nights can get surprisingly cool. Just watch the weather forecast and be sure to keep in mind that you might be still out after dark and walking around. I wouldn’t worry too much about rain. In my 24 years, I think it’s only rained a little maybe on two days. And only one year was it actually cool (and windy!) most of the week. Otherwise the weather is great! Again ... just do a little preplanning and check the weather before you start your day.
If you were a Scout or in the military, this may be second nature. If you are from a small town and haven’t been around a place like Vegas, it can be a strange place. Be aware of your surroundings including your possessions (those you carry and things on you like your cellphone or wallet). My worst was credit card info being stolen (and used the next day in Louisiana), but just keep track of these things. And if you carry a wallet, it’s always a good idea to keep it secure (even turn it sideways to make removal difficult). If you do a lot of walking (after the show) also know that there seems to be a lot of bees ... so those with allergies shouldn’t forget their Epipens, etc. And pack all the necessities like antacids, pain relievers etc.
If You Aren’t Prepared
Know that anything you buy in the casinos or hotels are much more expensive than a store. There are drug stores on The Strip where you’ll find the things you’ve forgotten at a much better price than in hotels and casinos.
So these things are just a few of the most basic tips I can provide to those new to the NAB Show or Las Vegas. Have fun and enjoy a great show and wonderful learning opportunity!
And finally ...
A new web browser — you may have heard that Microsoft is ending Internet Explorer. Well Google has stepped up to the plate with the Google Ultron (“used by NASA”). Be sure to carefully read all the information on this new browser. I think you’ll get a kick out of it!
If you stumble across a good or unusual web site that might be of interest, please don’t hesitate to send me the link and any info you might have about it. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.