Whether you’re a SXSW veteran or it’s your first year on the ground in Austin, it’s important to come prepared. After all, the conference brings together the world’s most creative innovators and digital disruptors for a week of nonstop learning and career connection.
While most attendees are probably busy working on their sales pitches, printing new business cards, and lining up networking dinners, U.Group is here to remind you about a few classic SXSW survival basics. Read on for our helpful hints on staying clean, comfortable, and connected during SXSW.
- Optimize your charging ports. With over 75,000 digital disruptors and content creators descending on Austin for SXSW Interactive, electrical outlets come at premium. Consider getting your own extension cord or plug expander device that allows you to charge everything you have with one outlet. We like this or this.
- Go wireless. In a similar vein, wireless chargers can be a lifesaver in the event you can’t find any plugs at all—a conference as large as SXSW will drain your phone’s batteries lightning fast, and you don’t want to be left with a dead device. We like the Anker portable battery or Mophie battery case.
- Bring a fashion emergency kit. When you’re on the go, networking nonstop, and eating the delicious street food Austin is so famous for—chances are a wardrobe crisis will crop up at least once. Ensure you remedy any stain and make a stellar first impression by bringing Shout Wipes and Tide-To-Go pens. You can even buy preassembled “minimergency” kits with other essentials like hairspray and safety pins.
- Prepare for unpredictable weather. We’re not sure what it is, but the weather gods never spare SXSW. Make sure you’re prepared when the rain inevitably hits—disposable ponchos are easy to pack, and you can’t go wrong with a compact umbrella. Either one will keep you clean and dry when darting between program sessions.
- Arm yourself with apps. When you’re on the go, it’s easy to forget exactly where your next program session is, or whether you’re available to pop over to the pop-up event you discover by chance. SXSW Go can be a lifesaver for keeping your schedule straight, so if you don’t have it already, be sure to download it before your first session.
- Bring comfortable shoes. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s easy to sacrifice comfort for fashion when you’re trying to make good first impressions. You’re going to be walking across the SXSW campus—which is essentially all of downtown—several times over, and the last thing you want is blisters or sores on day one.
- Dress in layers. The weather can go from what feels like spring break to early fall in a few short hours. Better to be prepared so you don’t freeze, especially if it’s not convenient to get back to your lodging.
- Bring a backpack. It’s much easier to lug your stuff around, especially during the days if you’re wanting to take notes, share information, etc.