Every year there are tons of cool gadgets and technology to see at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Legendary technologies like the Nintendo Entertainment System, CD player, and Xbox all made their debuts at CES. But navigating CES and Las Vegas isn’t easy, especially for the first time. I’ve been to CES more than 15 times and have learned every lesson the hard way. Here are some tips on how to get the most out of your CES experience.

01) Pick Up Your CES Badge At The Airport

Pick up your CES credentials at the airport when you arrive in Las Vegas. Lines to get your badge in the convention center can be over an hour long. Feel free to take in a quick game of slots in the airport with all the extra time you save yourself (I played Lobstermaina). But keep an eye out for the Marvel slots.

Lobstermania Slot Machine in Las Vegas
A Lobstermania Slot Machine in Las Vegas Airport.

02) Set Up Your Meetings In Advance

All of your important business meetings, dinners, drinks, etc. should be set up in advance. There’s a lot going on at CES. Don’t try to scramble at the last minute.

03) Keep It Close

Keep your meetings close to your hotel or the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC). Just because you can see a hotel, doesn’t mean it’s not miles away.

My Las Vegas Hotel, So Close, Yet So Far Away

04) Take Advantage Of The Monorail

I almost always stay at a hotel that connects to the Las Vegas Monorail. It makes it so easy to travel between your hotel and the Las Vegas Convention Center. No taxis. No taxi lines. You can even buy your ticket online before you even leave home. Seriously, the Monorail is the key to a happy and successful CES experience.

05) Plan For Really Long Taxi Lines

Unfortunately, not everything is accessible via the Monorail. You will have dinners and other events that will require a taxi or Uber ride. Be prepared for a 45-minute wait. The lines never move as fast as you’d like. If you really want a town-car… book it at least 6 months in advance.

06) Cash is King

Always carry cash! That’s the way to make things happen in Vegas! Tip freely and even just a $20 bill in your palm when you shake hands with someone will open doors and opportunities.

07) You’ll Never Get A Last-Minute Dinner Reservation at a Top Restaurant

Book dinner reservations weeks in advance. The best restaurants book up before the convention even starts. If you’re trying to impress a client, you’ll need a good reservation. Dinner at a Casino buffet probably won’t help you close any deals.

08) Cell Coverage Sucks

All of the cell carriers struggle during CES, but AT&T in particular sucks. Just imagine everyone at Nerdstock trying to use their phone or tablet at the same time. In previous years, CES attendees have crashed AT&T’s network. WHat’s worse is as your phone struggles to get online, it will drain the battery faster. Make standing plans with people and be prepared to meet even without connecting first.

09) Swag Comes to Those Who Wait

Don’t go around the floor hoping to score good freebies. The only day that’s even thinkable is late on the last day when everything is about to shut down. Basically, everyone doesn’t want to pay to ship all their swag back home.

The Show Floor at CES

10) Where Are You Staying Next Year?

Always book your hotel room ASAP for CES. And make sure your hotel has a stop on the Monorail! Take it from me, Las Vegas traffic and taxi lines can completely ruin your CES experience. See you at CES next year!!!

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