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WPPI Survival Tips

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How to Survive WPPI: Part 1: Prep

01.26.2012

It’s almost February. Which means a couple of things.

1) My birthday is coming soon.

2) WPPI is almost here.

This will be the fourth time I’ve gone. It’s always such a fun few days (and exhausting!), but I know that for a first-timer it can be intimidating and overwhelming. What? Just me? Well, even if you’re not intimated by large groups of people that you don’t know, these are my tips for getting prepped for WPPI, and if you’re a Showiteer, Showit United.

1. Bring Business Cards – even if you don’t have a business card, have some made. You can get 1000 business cards printed at GotPrint.com for $10. You can also get less, like 250 for $8. Worth the investment? I think so. It’s cheaper than a “cheap” meal in Vegas. No excuses! Plus, you can use your extras to canvas your local Chipotles and enter for a free burrito. Well, maybe that’s just me.

2. Make a plan, but be flexible. I remember my first year. I wanted to do everything. See everything. Be everything. Of course, that’s totally not realistic, but when you’re excited anything seems possible right? And, I must note, there are three general camps when it comes to WPPI: those who are there to learn, those who are there to party, and those who are there to learn and party. I like to think that I fall into the third category. I like to party, but I also like to learn. And I like to sleep. I’m one of those rare people (my age!) who actually sleeps most of a full night while in Vegas. I like to plan out what classes to check out, but I’m okay if I end up running into a friend (or new friend, you’ll make lots of those) and we grab a bite or end up chatting away. Making connections with people is the best part about WPPI. The classes are great too, but having friends who can help you will definitely go farther in the long run.

via Travelista

3. Pack Light – I was Googling “how to pack light” a couple of months ago because I fall into one of two categories: packing SO light that I forget something or overpacking and the suitcase is bursting. I highly recommend packing light. Las Vegas is in the desert and it’s super dry. You’ll constantly feel thirsty and your skin will get itchy (okay, again, that may just be me), so be sure to dress in layers. It’s February, but in between walking through the casino, the tradeshow, and hanging out with people, you will get hot, cold, and maybe even a little sweaty. Check out this AWESOME post by Travelista.

4. Comfortable Shoes. I don’t know about you, but I value the comfort of me feet. I take it seriously. To all those who can rock out the heels all day, more power to you. I, on the other hand, cannot. I’m all about comfortable shoes. Especially if you’re logging at least a 2 mile trek everyday you are there. I don’t want my feet to hate me. Of course, there are parties and events, so be sure to pack shoes you can wear for a dressier event. But for walking the tradeshow – comfort is key.

5. Bring a Point & Shoot – Unless you are planning on taking a workshop, or know that you WILL USE your big, fancy camera, don’t feel the need to bring it. I recommend a point & shoot. But if you’re like me, REMEMBER TO BRING THE CAMERA BATTERY. In 2010, I totally brought my camera. But I did not bring the camera battery. Packing fail. Of course, with the way that cameras are now on the iPhone and Droids, you may not even need the point and shoot, but when it’s dark, the flash on a P&S is better. The thing about a Point & Shoot is that it’s way more portable than your DSLR, and when you run into friends at a party, you can snap a quick picture, like so:

With my friends from college & photographers, Daniel & Vaness Galang

photo from 2009 with David Jay

last year 2011, catching up with photographer friends from California!

6. Stay at the Signature Suites (not the MGM) – This is actually the first year that I’m staying at the Signature, but for the last two years, I have known how awesome it is. It is still part of the MGM Hotel family, but there are some great perks.

  1. It’s smoke-free. You don’t have to walk through clouds of stale smoke to make it back to your room.
  2. It’s casino-free. If you’re a non-gambler like me, you won’t have to walk through the windowless labyrinth.
  3. It’s closer to the conference center. And there are moving sidewalks to help you get there. In 2010, I had my Nike+ tracker in my shoes, and the walk from the conference center (where classes and the tradeshow are) to my room in the MGM was about .75 miles. A round trip was 1.5 miles! Crazy.
  4. Kitchens & kitchenettes. Food in Vegas is expensive. It’s easy to go to Vegas on the cheap, but nourishing yourself, not so cheap. I love that I’ll have a little fridge (the one-bedrooms have a full kitchen) to keep some things to eat.

7. Bring a water bottle. This was one of the BEST decisions I made last year. And saved me so. much. money. I’m a huge fan of water. And actually, I’m okay with drinking tap water. However, Las Vegas has some of the gnarliest tap water I’ve tasted. It tastes like metal. But, in the conference area hallways, the hotel has cold water dispensers, filled frequently by hotel staff (NOTE: I’m not talking about water fountains, though, those would work too). I filled up whenever I passed by and never had to buy bottled water. It was awesome. My wallet totally thanked me. You can thank me later. :) Purchase one on Amazon.

Next time, I’ll share how this introvert (yes, me!) went to WPPI with strangers.

I hope this helps! And if you have other tips, leave them in the comments!

For even more tips, check out Karen Stott’s post!

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