The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas is one of the largest trade shows in the world, with over 180,000 attendees flocking to see the latest innovations in consumer tech. As the premier event for showcasing new products and technologies, CES can be overwhelming for first-time attendees. Follow these pro tips to make the most of your CES experience.
1. Book Travel and Hotels Early
With over 4,500 exhibitors and brands taking up more than 2.9 million net square feet of exhibit space, CES draws huge crowds to Vegas. Hotel rooms fill up fast, so book your flights and secure hotel accommodations as early as possible, ideally 6-12 months in advance. Sign up for CES housing blocks and partner hotels for discounted rates. Factor in transportation time between your hotel and the different CES venues on the Strip and at the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC).
2. Register and Sign Up for Updates in Advance
Registration for CES typically opens in August or September. Purchase your CES badge early to take advantage of “Super Saver” discounted rates. Sign up on the CES website for exhibitor updates and floor maps so you can start planning which booths and vendors you want to visit. Follow CES social media accounts for breaking news on speakers, sessions, and new product announcements leading up to the show.
3. Map Out the CES Floor Plans
The LVCC has over 2.5 million square feet of exhibit space spread across 4 huge halls, the North, Central, South, and West halls. There is a lot of ground to cover, so use the CES floor plans to map out your priorities and schedule. Note which vendors and booth numbers you want to see. Allow at least 30 minutes to get from one end of the convention center to the other.
4. Wear Comfortable Shoes
CES involves miles and miles of walking between crowded exhibit halls, keynote addresses, demo rooms, and events. Broken-in sneakers or comfortable dress shoes are essential for making it through long days on your feet. Skip the high heels or brand new shoes which will just leave your feet aching.
5. Charge Your Devices
Phone battery life will drain rapidly with constant WiFi and GPS use for demos, photos, social media, and keeping in touch with your group. Bring a portable battery charger and your charging cables. Look for device charging stations throughout the LVCC halls offered by exhibitors.
6. Download the CES Mobile App
The free official CES app allows you to plan your schedule, search exhibitors, view maps, match your interests to exhibits, and more. You can take notes on vendors and products directly in the app. Leverage the app to organize and optimize your time during the show. 
7. Pack Light
CES security lines are notoriously long. Save yourself time and hassle by packing light, avoiding large bags and prohibited items that will bog down inspections. Hydrate with water bottles you can refill once inside to avoid carrying heavy jugs. Leave the laptop and non-essentials at your hotel to travel faster between venues.
8. Register Devices Ahead of Time
Many exhibitors now require attendees to register devices in advance to demo new products and innovations on the show floor. Sign up online before CES to receive logins, QR codes, and confirmation emails you’ll need to access coveted demos for the latest tech like VR/AR headsets, autonomous vehicles, robotics, smart home devices and more.
9. Follow the Trends
With over 4,400 exhibitors, it’s impossible to see everything. Focus on key trends you want to explore, whether that’s AI, 5G, digital health, smart cities, sustainable tech, or something else. Identify brands operating in your priority areas and hit those booths first.
10. Go Off the Beaten Path
Huge crowds congregate at the more famous brand name booths like Samsung, Sony, LG, Intel, and Qualcomm. But you can often find hidden gems and less crowded exhibits by veering into the smaller startup areas and markets like Eureka Park.
11. Attend Keynotes and Conference Sessions
Thought leaders, technology visionaries, and business execs share visions of the future and insights into industry and consumer tech trends through keynote addresses and conference sessions. Reserve seats for high-profile speakers like the CES opening keynote well in advance.
12. Network and Make Connections
CES is more than just a trade show floor. It offers invaluable opportunities to build professional connections at events, happy hours, meetups, and parties. Join relevant LinkedIn and Facebook groups to connect with attendees with similar interests and stay in the loop on unofficial events.
13. Stay Hydrated
Las Vegas is extremely dry. The huge convention centers blast arctic AC. All that walking under the hot trade show lights leads to rapid dehydration. Drink plenty of water throughout the day and avoid alcohol during show hours which will further dehydrate you.
14. Wear Business Casual Attire
CES is a major professional industry event. While you don’t need a suit and tie, avoid shorts, ripped jeans, graphic tees, and other overly casual wear. Business casual is the standard dress code. Wear comfortable shoes, but skip the sneakers if possible.
15. Make Time for Meals
It’s tempting to power through the day snacking on energy bars and candy samples as you tour exhibit halls. But taking real meal breaks helps you recharge, get away from crowds, and refocus. Plan meal meetings at restaurants with colleagues and connections.
16. Bring Snacks and Medicine
Food and drinks inside the LVCC get expensive. Pack portable protein bars, nuts, crackers, apples, and other easy snacks in your bag to stay fueled between meals. Bring over-the-counter pain relievers, bandages, antacids, and other items to treat minor headaches, blisters, upset stomach issues, and minor aches and pains.
17. Download Vegas Apps
Apps like Las Vegas Maps, Lyft, Uber, Yelp, and OpenTable are essential for navigating Las Vegas, hailing rides between venues, finding top local restaurants and entertainment, and booking last minute reservations.
18. Plan Some Free Time
Don’t overschedule your CES days from dawn to dusk in the exhibit halls. Leave gaps for exploring innovative products you stumble across. Build in time to rest your feet, process all the input, and take advantage of evening networking events that often lead to the best insights and connections.
19. Attend Multiple Years in a Row
Don’t try to see everything in one year. Attending CES annually allows you to more easily notice key trends over time and check in on exhibitors you connected with previously. Veteran attendees know how to best navigate CES year after year.
20. Have Fun and Stay Positive!
CES represents the cutting edge of innovation and technology that will shape the future. Embrace this glimpse of what’s coming next while connecting with thought leaders and peers who share your passion for consumer electronics. With the right attitude and preparation, you’re sure to find CES educational, inspiring, and fun.
Now that you know these pro tips for making the most of the incredible CES experience in Las Vegas, you’re ready to fully immerse yourself in the latest and greatest innovations poised to change the world. See you at CES 2023!
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