Preparing for TechEd: what (not) to bring

The message is simple: pack lightly when going to the TechEd.

Most of the things are available at the TechEd if you know where to find them. Also, you’ll get a lot of stuff in your TechEd conference bag (including your t-shirt), such as a notepad and pen, plus a lot of brochures and other folder material. You don’t have to bring those. If you happen to misplace your pen, you can always find one in the pavilions section.

Make sure you bring

  • Your charged cellphone (and switch it off during sessions)
  • Your laptop and/or pocket-pc with an WiFi adapter if it is not built-in. There is wireless and free Internet access over the entire conference area! Don’t forget that adapter (every table you can sit at has a powerbox on it)
  • Access pass to the TechEd that you get on the first day when you register.
  • Update: Well-worn shoes. As Panagiotis Kanavos suggests in the comments, it is vital that you do not wear new shoes. You will be walking a lot, because the conference area is immense.

Optionally you can take these along:

  • Digital camera to take some nice pictures of the venue, your friends and fellow nerds TechEd visitors. Check how you can get the pictures to your “must-bring-along” laptop or PPC.
  • Wallet with some money. All sustenance is available for free (coffee, tea, sodas, cookies, chips, ice cream, fruit (for your daily dose of vitamins); you name it, they got it), but there’s always something nice to buy at the bookstore or Microsoft store
  • Printouts of the session slides for the ones you plan to visit. If you forget them or decide to go to another session, get them at the printing centre.
  • USB Memory stick to exchange some data with others. (Although I think that they might be handing these out this year as goodies at one of the vendor pavillions)
  • An other bag than the conference bag. I prefer to take my own laptop backpack. It gives you the hassle of taking home two bags on one of the days. But you can defer collection the conference bag till the end, because you get a separate ticket for that. Don’t forget it though: you’ll miss the exclusive TechEd t-shirt as well.
  • The Club TechEd pass if you have it. This is a creditcard-like pass that you get if you visited the TechEd before. It was new last year, and might get you some nice discounts and exclusive stuff.

Also, every evening, when you are back home or in your hotel room, leave all folders, cd-s and dvd-s there. Go with a near empty bag to the conference the next day. Have an extra bag ready at your hotel room when you leave on the last day. You will have a lot of magazines, books and brochures that will not fit into a single bag.

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