10 Tips for Survival at the CES Trade Show

Jan 4, 2016 8:22:51 PM

Kim Estep


CES, the world’s biggest trade show, arrives next week in Las Vegas. How big is it? 176,676 people attended last year’s show. 3,600+ companies exhibited, covering 2.2 million square feet of exhibit space. To say CES is a really big trade show doesn’t come close to doing it justice.

 Avoid sore feet and hangovers! Follow Convention Nation’s 10 Tips for Survival at CES to optimize your overall experience!

CES is mind-bogglingly gigantic. Not only is CES held in Las Vegas, which can be difficult to survive in it's own right, but just like Vegas, CES is a maze of fabulous over-stimulation that requires stamina, planning, and strategy to master. It can be an overwhelming trade show experience, especially for first-time attendees, but also for CES veterans.

1. Plan What You Want To See

CES 2016 will span more than 2.4 million square feet of exhibit space. Obviously there is no way you can see it all. Make a plan ahead of time by using the CES map, web planner and/or mobile app to pick out what you want to see and do. Then schedule your exhibitor visits by their location.

CN Inside Tip: There are so many exciting new gadgets to see at CES - we’ll offer just one suggestion. If you’re interested in the latest virtual reality technology, we recommend you check out IonVr and its CEO Brooke Linville in Tech West, Sands Expo, Hall G, Booth 81533. She’ll be showing off IonVr’s virtual reality headset that works with nearly any smartphone. Trust us, it’s very cool.

2. Pick Up Your Badge Early

There are 18 remote badge pickup locations, including two in McCarran Airport Terminal 1 and 3. Pick up your badge at the airport or at your hotel and you won’t have to wait in the long lines at the Convention Center.

3. Know The New Bag Restrictions

CES has implemented new security procedures this year. Among the new rules, you cannot bring any luggage or rolling bags of any size into exhibit and conference areas. Also note you must have your CES badge and a government-issued photo ID to enter any show venue. Read the new rules and security procedures here.

4. Take The Shuttle Or The Monorail

Everything is supersized in Vegas so distances can be deceptively far. The convention center and the casino hotels are so large that next door might actually be a very long walk. CES offers a free shuttle service between the official hotels and the convention center that runs every 10 minutes.

There is also the Las Vegas Monorail which stops at most of the hotels and the convention center. These will often be crowded of course, but they are usually quicker options than the very long lines at taxi stands, and a lot cheaper too.

5. Wear Comfortable Shoes

You’ll be on your feet constantly and you’ll do a lot of walking, maybe as much as five or more miles/day. Comfortable shoes are an absolute must.

6. Drink Plenty Of Water

Vegas is in the desert so it’s very dry. Couple the desert climate with the amount of walking you’ll be doing and you’ll need a lot of water to stay hydrated. If you want to avoid buying water bottles for $5 or more at the hotels, you can stock up at one of the Walgreens on the Strip. Bring a refillable water bottle...and some lip balm too. With the dry desert air, you’ll likely need it.

7. Bring Extra Batteries And a WiFi Hotspot

You’ll probably use your phone a lot at CES and your battery may drain quickly due to near constant use and sketchy data signals. With 176,000 other attendees it won’t be easy to find a place to plug in. Bring extra batteries or a battery pack/portable charger. WiFi is notoriously unreliable inside CES so you’ll need a mobile hotspot if you need to stay connected.

8. Bring Some Cash

Many of the food vendors inside the convention center do not take credit or debit cards so you’ll want to have some cash with you.

9. Don’t Forget The CES Parties

If you have any energy left after walking the exhibit halls all day and negotiating the huge crowds, there are a bunch of parties at CES too. Many of them are invite only, but not all of them. Here’s a good list.

10. Have Fun!

There’s nothing else quite like CES, so enjoy the memorable experience of it! Take pictures to capture your memories and show your friends and colleagues when you’re sharing your CES stories. If you post any CES pics, please include #conventionnation so we can see them too!


If you’ve been to CES before, share your tips in the comments below to help attendees get the most out of their CES experience!


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