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This is part 2 of the Atlassian Summit Travel Guide – Vegas Edition. Return to Part 1.
I’ve been on an RV road trip since May 2015. I work from home, and “home” is wherever I park for the week, month, or quarter! By the time Summit begins, I’ll be in my 54th city. I track all my RV trip planning details in Confluence, but when there are flights involved, I track those trips in Tripit Pro. I like this service because it monitors flights, alerts me when gates change, turns confirmation emails into travel entries, has both a web and mobile version, and keeps me organized. There’s no wrong way to craft an itinerary, just make sure you have one, it works for you, and it’s easy to access when you need it.
I store my trip packing list in Confluence. I print it out or check off items on my phone as they go into my travel bag.
I also plan conference specific activities with the Summit mobile app. Look for it listed as “Atlassian Events” in the Google Play or iOS store. Use the agenda feature to plan sessions and activities, the map to help you find your way to a Solution Partner’s booth, and the messaging feature to connect with fellow attendees.
Many of us are still tagging each other and chatting away in the app long after the event has ended.
My “do’s and don’ts” to increase safety while traveling are:
In 2016, the date of Summit changed to the same week I was scheduled to be on vacation in Iceland. I canceled my vacation, got reimbursed for my expenses, and attended the conference. I’ve only had to use insurance once and I was sure glad to have it! Your credit card might include travel insurance. Mine once allowed me to cancel a flight at the last minute with no penalty.
I once witnessed a demonstration in Buenos Aires. My travel companions wanted to move closer and see what it was about! Not smart. I talked them out of it.
Scammers are everywhere tourists are. Beware of pick pockets, especially in busy areas where people are easily distracted. (Example: Fremont Street) Store your money in separate locations so if you lose some you don’t lose it all. Keep your passport locked in the the hotel safe. Finally, beware of people asking for financial help.
Last time I was in Vegas, a man followed me into the elevator and told me he just lost his wallet and needed my help. It was most certainly a scam.
Finally, don’t walk around town wearing your conference badge!
It shows you’re a tourist and probably don’t know your surroundings. But remember to bring your badge to get into conference events, like Summit Bash.
Thankfully I only have recommendations and no passport-specific horror stories to share.
Have you: Been stuck on a plane? Made an emergency landing in an unexpected city? Been trapped in an airport for an extended time? All have happened to me. Always plan for the worst and hope for the best.
These came in handy while stuck on the tarmac in Costa Rica. Supplies on my grounded plane dwindled quickly.
These provided welcome comfort on many cold flights and while I was stuck in South Carolina and Peru airports. I use a sleeping bag liner from ALPS Mountaineering. It’s warm, soft, and rolls up to fit in my backpack’s water bottle holder. I’ve used it as a blanket, sleeping bag, pillow, towel, and a makeshift changing room.
I once took a flight from Brownsville International Airport in Texas. I thought “international” meant “large airport with lots of services”. I planned to check in early, get lunch, and maybe get a massage. Instead, I arrived at a one-gate airport where the security line didn’t open until just before the flight. There were no services or stores. There was a vending machine but I had no cash. I was 3 hours early for no reason. #fail
I travel very light, bringing only the things I absolutely can’t live without. Consider what you packed on your last trip but didn’t use. Leave those items at home. Most things can be obtained or borrowed from a fellow conference attendee.
I truly believe there are only two types of luggage: carry on and lost!
My bag was lost after an 18 hour flight. When the airline finally found and delivered the bag, it was someone else’s! After that experience, I always carry my own luggage.
Have you ever seen a family lugging a cart of bags around the airport? How about someone with the entire set of nesting suitcases? Don’t be that traveler!
I used to bring a backpack and a small roller bag until I noticed my boyfriend only carried a backpack. Now I only bring one backpack and I make sure I can comfortably carry its weight. I’ve spent hundreds of dollars testing out suitcases and travel bags. The very best is my $60 USD High Sierra Access Backpack. I take it to every Summit and I’ll take it on a 200 mile walk I’m planning, on the Camino de Santiago, in Spain.
Make a game of packing. Each trip, see how few items you can bring and how much weight you can reduce. I try for a total weight of ~20 pounds (9 kg), regardless of trip duration. On long hikes, I try to stay under 10% of my body weight.
Other reasons not to over pack: airlines charge for carry on luggage or heavy luggage, and you’ll want to be able to fit the new t-shirts you acquire at Summit!
A small amount of planning and organization will help you get the most out of this super event. Read my survival tips for things to do before, during, and after Summit to make this your best conference experience ever!
Have a great flight and I’ll see you at Summit!