Has it really been a year? My jack-o-latern is fully rotten and I fried up my last batch of green tomatoes, so it must be.
The other day I pulled out my suitcase and made my shopping list of AU Essentials.
You'll be shaking hands with everyone from Pete Kelsey to the DWF Spot- and who knows where they have been. Last year, I was responsible for spreading some sort of frog voice-cough-plague to everyone who visited the EE both. I also learned that a bottle of cough medicine at the Venetian Apothecary costs more than my honorarium. So this year, I am coming prepared. No need to bring the Sam's Club super pack, just a travel sized packet of a few meds will go a long way.
- Prevent yourself from catching the post Thanksgiving blerg by using Hand Sanitizer. They come in almost microscopic travel sizes these days- you should really keep it in your pocket and apply all flippin' day.
- Though I am skeptical, I still take Airborne. I like the taste and I figure if it gives me just the slightest improvement in my immunity, it would be worth it.
- I also like Zicam. It may turn out to be Zi-scam, but I truly think that it has prevented me from getting ubersick when I use it.
- Everything gets sore at AU. Your brain. Your eyes. Your legs. Your throat. Your beer drinking arm. Your fat lip after starting a barfight over Scaling Viewports. Bring tylenol, advil or something similar.
- Nothing is worse that snaking a hacking cough on the plane then fighting it through classes. Definitely bring Cough Medicine and Cough Drops.
- If you have ever gotten sick on the road, you know how hard it is to sleep. I so wish I had brought Nighttime Cold Medicine with me last year.
- Strange food. Strange people. You'll suffer from at least one of the following: Hangover, Norwalk, Heartburn. Bring Stomach Remedy
- Vegas is dry. You won't drink enough water. You just won't. It might even be impossible. For this reason, you need to bring fiber. I know, I'm like your embarrassing mother who shouts through the grocery store- "Honey, are you still CONSTIPATED?" At least eat some fruit, OK?
- If you don't like water, bring something to make your water taste good, like those Crystal Light packets.
For 51 weeks a year, you can hide behind a screen name and an avatar... but at AU, you gotta face the public.
- Dry, smoky air, excessive free beer and late nights guarantee you'll wake up with red eyes swollen shut. Bring cucumber pads and Preparation H to fix the puffies. Also invest in a bottle of Clear Eyes. This is especially important if your boss is traveling with you. Ladies- be sure to bring lots of concealer and some eye brightener.
- Vegas is freaking dry. Really freaking dry. Bring moisturizer, the best you can afford. Slather on a night cream before passing out, and be sure to have a daytime weight lotion too.
- Chapstick. See Number 2.
- Super duper deodorant. You don't want to stain the pits of the AUGI giveaway t-shirt. Also, we don't want to smell you. Walking through the casino on the way to class is stinky enough.
You will be walking. I am always taken aback by the sheer scale of Vegas. If you get put in the new tower or in one of the satellite hotels, you will be walking even more.
- Chewing Gum. The Venetian doesn't sell it. Last year I had to hock my Recorded Speaker watch for some very unsatisfying Mentos. Bring Gum. (Just don't spit it on the marble floors you slob.)
- Candy, lollipops, breath mints, Listerine strips. Your breath stinks enough already and the dry air doesn't help. Spare us all and suck on something. Also, sharing candy is a great icebreaker and might help you start a conversation with your favorite AUGI HotNews columnist or Discussion Group poster.
- Comfortable shoes. I mean comfortable. Shoes that are your actual size without big heels or narrow toes. That means sneakers, Sketchers, Doc Martens, something.
- Patch up your blisters with moleskin and Band-Aids.
- Powder can be used in your shoes and your "easily chaffed" areas to keep the damage to a minimum. Also apply liberally to keep your stink down and those of us sitting next to you comfortable.
- Last year I was on a hospitality floor. I wish I had brought earplugs.
- How will you know where the cool kids are meeting during the next break if you don't bring your Blackberry or pocketpc? Bore the world with hourly mobile blog posts and remind your spouse back home how you are in Vegas and they are at work through a series of one word text messages.
- Since you only see these people once a year, be sure to pack your digital camera. You need to collect a year's worth of blackmail material.
- All of the transfer cables so that you can get those photos up on flickr or picasa IMMEDIATELY. Digital photos are like milk- if you don't get them put up within 20 minutes they lose their appeal.
- If you are a speaker, don't forget your laptop. Duh. (Just a note to remind myself.)
CLOTHES AND PACKING
- Travel Sized Space Bags will get all of this crap inside your suitcase. Bring a few extra for use in the...
- An extra duffel bag or foldable suitcase for all of the junk you will collect.
THINGS NOT TO BRING
- Workout clothes. It just isn't going to happen.
- Work. It just isn't going to happen.
- A lot of money. Unless you plan on gambling or hitting up Versace, you won't need a lot of dosh. Make a game out of finding all of the free food-n-booze events throughout the week.
- Family Members. I seriously almost left my husband in Vegas after last year. AU is a total drain on your strength, your patience and your ability to care about anything else. Trust me, your wife is NOT going to understand why meeting Lynn Allen is such a big deal, or why you felt the need to get totally drunk at the AUGI Beer Bust. She will not be entertained by you treating her as sherpa for your swag on booth night, and she will not share your excitement when you shake hands with James Wedding. If you do insist on bringing family, come out a few days AHEAD of the conference and pack them back on a plane by Tuesday at the latest.
Pack well, fly safe and I will see you there!