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Atlassian Summit Travel Guide – Vegas Edition (Part 2)

This is part 2 of the Atlassian Summit Travel Guide – Vegas Edition.  Return to Part 1.

PART 2 CONTENTS

  • Planning and Itinerary
    • Summit Mobile App
    • Safety
    • For US Citizens
    • For International Travelers
    • Flight and Airport
    • Luggage
  • Atlassian Summit Survival Guide

Planning and Itinerary

Truck and travel trailer

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.

TIP
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.

Summit Mobile App

"Atlassian Events" Mobile App

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.

Safety

My “do’s and don’ts” to increase safety while traveling are:

DO

Top 10 Las Vegas

  • Familiarize yourself with information about Las Vegas and the United States.  I recommend the DK Eyewitness Travel Guides. See: Top 10 Las Vegas or Las Vegas (older but more in-depth)
  • Be aware of time zone changes.  Las Vegas Time Zone:  PDT (UTC/GMT -7)
  • Check the weather.  The season may be opposite from home. The historical average temperature in April is a high of 76°F (24.4 C) high and a low of 53°F (11.6 C).
  • Leave your itinerary and emergency contact information with a team member and a friend or family member.
  • Purchase travel insurance to get reimbursed for charges related to missed or delayed flights, lost luggage, medical and emergency issues, etc.  I buy insurance for all international trips and selected domestic trips.

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. 

  • Take all the same safety precautions you’d take in any large city environment.
  • Always walk with a friend or fellow conference attendee.

  DON’T

  • Look like a tourist.  Walking around with your head buried in a map (or a phone) advertises don’t know where you are.
  • Join large crowds, gatherings or demonstrations.  Your presence can escalate into an international incident.

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.

  • Count money in public, wear valuables, or be an easy target.
  • Advertise your travel plans.  It’s safer to post to social media after your trip.
  • Become a victim of theft, “mustard” scams, and other scams typical in major cities.

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.

For US Citizens

  • If you’re a frequent traveler, become a member of the TSA Pre Check  program.  If you’re a frequent international traveler, join the US Customs Global Entry program (which includes TSA Pre Check.)  The convenience far outweighs the application process and cost. I’ve also heard you can shorten your wait in the Customs line using their (free) mobile app.
    • NOTE: Not every US airport has Pre Check.  Further, the Pre Check line may be closed during non-peak hours.  I learned both the hard way.
  • Have you filed your taxes yet? The deadline for submitting your 2018 income tax return is Monday, April 15, 2019. April 15 is also the last day to submit 2018 retirement contributions (IRA, Roth IRA, SEP, etc.) and the due date for paying Q1 2019 estimated taxes. I’m getting all this stuff out of the way before Summit!

For International Travelers

  • Read customs regulations, so you know what to expect when entering the United States and reentering your country. Read the US Customs and Border Protection’s “For International Visitors” pages.
  • Record the location of your nearest embassy or consulate.  You may need to go there in an emergency or if you lose your passport.
  • Research credit and debit card international transaction fees.  List any fees on your company expense report.  They may be reimbursable.
  • Download and print OANDA’s “Traveler’s Cheatsheet”, a wallet-sized currency converter.
  • Exchange a small amount of cash at home before you leave and then at a local bank once you arrive.  The worst exchange rate is at the airport.
  • Bring additional local and foreign cash for emergencies.  Keep it in a separate location.
  • Bring original purchase receipts for expensive technology items. One country attempted to tax one of my team members for his (not new) laptop on his return trip home.
  • Bring a power adapter.  The US uses "type A" (two flat parallel pins) and "type B" (two flat parallel pins and a round grounding pin) power plugs. The voltage is 120V and 60Hz.  Read more

Passport

Thankfully I only have recommendations and no passport-specific horror stories to share.

TIPS

  • Research passport and visa requirements.
  • Make a color copy of your passport’s photo ID page.  Store a digital copy in your email and on your phone or laptop.  Bring a printed copy with you and store it in a different location than your physical passport.  If your passport is lost or stolen, alternate copies are vital.
  • Leave your physical passport locked in a hotel safe.  Don’t bring it sightseeing or to conference sessions.
  • If you lose your passport, report it to the nearest embassy or consulate.

Flight and Airport

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.

TIPS

  • Never board a plane without water and a snack.

These came in handy while stuck on the tarmac in Costa Rica.  Supplies on my grounded plane dwindled quickly.

  • Always bring a blanket.  For long flights I bring a small pillow.

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’ve yet to discover the perfect travel pillow. This year I’m testing out the ComfoArray. The Nemo pillow I tried last trip is great for camping, but not for airplanes.

  • Always know what kind of airport you’re passing through.

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

Luggage

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!

High Sierra Access Backpack

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.

TIP
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!

Atlassian Summit Survival Guide

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!

Also see:  How to Get your Boss to Send you to the Atlassian Summit User Conference

Have a great flight and I’ll see you at Summit!

5 comments

JiraJared Community Leader Mar 25, 2019

And bring a portable battery for charging your phone! Can’t take notes or book Uber’s if your phone is flat. 

Nice guide! Appreciate the effort and detail. 

Like Rachel Wright likes this
Rachel Wright Community Leader Mar 25, 2019

Thanks @JiraJared.  Do you have a recommendation for a good portable battery?  I'm currently testing the Thinium 3000 (http://thinium.com/rechargeMUsb.htm) but it has some pros and cons.  Summit will be the true test. 

My number one spec is weight.  This gram weenie doesn't want to carry a heavy backpack!  :)

JiraJared Community Leader Mar 25, 2019

@Rachel Wright 

Weight is important, but I personally use something around the 20,000 mAh and with 3amp or higher on the USB output. This means faster charger times so you don’t have to always be plugged in. 

Like Rachel Wright likes this

Hi! Thanks for that! 

And, do you know info about sockets?

Is it like this one?

Ð Ð¼ÐµÑ Ð¸ÐºÐ°Ð½Ñ ÐºÐ°Ñ  вилка

Hi @Gonchik Tsymzhitov - yes, the United States uses "type A" as shown in your photo and "type B" too.  Read more on this website:  https://www.worldstandards.eu/electricity/plugs-and-sockets/  (Specifically, https://www.worldstandards.eu/electricity/plugs-and-sockets/ab/) I'll add this to the "For Internationals Travelers" section above.  Thanks for mentioning it!

Who else has good tips for non-US travelers?

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