SXSW Interactive is just around the corner, and it's time to start thinking about packing your bags. Here are our top 5 tips for SXSW Interactive Attendees to pack that you won't find in the SXSW FAQ:
1. Business cards: Have you ever seen fish in a pond or aquarium during a feeding frenzy? That's what happens at SXSW Interactive - it's absolute networking chaos where everyone is whipping out and exchanging cards. So don't be conservative when packing your business cards! There are few situations more uncomfortable than hoarding your last couple of business cards in the midst of successful strangers at one of the famous SXSW day parties.
2. Chargers: There's nothing worse than having a device die out on you at a crowded festival, so chargers are the very first things you should throw in your bag. Also, be sure that all your devices are fully charged before your flight. You want to be able to pull up the SXSW address on your phone as soon as your plane lands in Austin!
3. Water bottle: It's remarkably easy to get dehydrated when you're running around in the sun and you're attending non-stop happy hours and events. The easiest and cheapest way to make sure you don't dehydrate is to bring a water bottle. Plus it's crazy how thirsty you get you after the tenth time in a row you give your 30-second elevator pitch to a friendly stranger, so keep that water bottle handy, and you'll be glad you brought it along.
4. Layers: Yeah, you've got your company shirt, you're reppin' that logo, and frankly, you look quite stylish. Then you walk into a conference room and suddenly feel the Arctic chill. If you throw on a sweatshirt you're no longer proudly displaying your startup's logo...unless you remember to pack your branded fleece. The same goes for those who prefer to be more stylish (not that fleeces can't be sexy - see photo below) - you can sport that cute summer outfit outdoors, but you had better have something to cover up if you're attending any talks or workshops.
5. Miscellaneous must-haves: The dry air on the flight, late nights and constant conversations will leave your lips super chapped. You don't want to distract people you're talking with by incessantly licking your lips, and you don't want to appear as if you just made it out of the desert. So throw that chap stick in your bag!
You're also going to be shaking a lot of hands and grabbing snacks (tacos from food trucks, for example) as you run around between events and in and out of your SXSW housing. It's important to remember a small bottle of hand sanitizer or some wipes. The last thing you want to do is catch a bug while you're at Southby.
Gum or breath mints. This one is more for other people, and like the chap stick and sanitizer, you can buy it at Walgreens if you forget. But why waste those precious Southby moments standing in line at a drug store when you can spend the time meeting cool people?
Need a Place to Stay for SXSW Interactive? SXSW hotels are basically sold out, but you can still get a short-term rental for the festival. Check out the SXSW rentals here: http://bit.ly/1GeWMfD
For tips on what to do once you get there, check out this cool post by Danielle Morrill: http://www.daniellemorrill.com/2012/02/how-to-hustle-sxsw-for-fun-profit/.
Model in fleece: kaboodle.com (http://ow.ly/9q623)