As floods of people head for Las Vegas and the sparkling lights of CES (aka Consumer Electronics Show), veteran attendees and newbies alike cringe when thinking about the hordes of people they’ll have to fight through on the show floor. To make this year better for you, we’ve prepared 12 key survival tips that will help you maximize your time in the desert…

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  1. What happens in Vegas…to your feet: Don’t forget to pack different shoes – don’t wear the same ones all week or your blisters will take over your life. Also, assuming you don’t immediately fall face first on your bed when you reach your hotel room, ice your feet in the tub after walking the show floor, it will help, especially on the last day of the show. If it’s 4:38 am and you either are or have somehow convinced yourself you are still 25 years-old and you’re still not back to your room, just dump your cocktail in your shoes because, 1., Nobody will notice, and 2., you read this before you came and remembered to pack a second pair anyway.
  2. Getting around without raising the ire of your CFO or “that” lady: Make use of the CES buses, but brush up on elementary style line (queue for you Brits) etiquette – line jumping can get you severely flogged in Vegas, particularly if you cut in front of the pregnant woman who failed to follow rule #8. Even though the buses may seem like they aren’t as fast as a taxi, they’re free and much more reliable. If you have the thing for trains, use the Hilton monorail stop, as it’s less crowded than that conference center stop.
  3. Keep your head up and swiveling at all times: Pretend you’re an owl – you need your head spinning constantly to catch every opportunity CES will throw at you. We’ve seen Steve Ballmer in a hotel lobby and LL Cool J at the CES cafeteria. You never know where celebrity sightings or networking opportunities can happen – so prepare yourself to be in the zone for maximum optimization. See rule #10 for more details on how to do this.
  4. Wear a sport coat or blazer: Aside from helping you stand out from the hordes of hoodie wearing technophiles, you’re going to need those pockets to carry things. Like the Chap Stick you’ll need to keep your lips from drying out in the recycled conference center air, your cell phone, a charger, breath mints and other sundries addressed in rule #5.
  5. Pack smart: Vegas has multi-personality weather syndrome, so bring sunscreen, (it is the desert after all) but also bring gloves because it will be freezing outside after 3 p.m. Want to make more friends at your booth? Keep these types of first-aid kit items handy, along with, a full bottle of Tylenol or Advil – everyone’s whole body will hurt by the end of the trip.
  6. Mobile devices: Know that your phone will not work – despite being at the epicenter of new technology. You’ll keep walking outside in the vain hope of sending just one email. Or you’ll bring a hotspot, only to be disappointed that it’s using the same 4G network as everyone else, and you’ll still try to walk outside. So just accept in advance that you’re going to live like its 1985 for a few hours a day, when the word ‘smartphone’ wasn’t yet in Webster’s.
  7. Stay a bit buttoned-up: What happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas, like those commercials say. Those commercials are, in fact, liars. Because during this trip, you’re surrounded by reporters and digital junkies, who post constantly. Live from the show floor, in this case, literally means live from the show floor, and your boss is going to know about you falling down on the casino floor faster than your mom figured out you were lying about what you were planning for a Friday night in high school.
  8. Pack yourself some snacks: You probably won’t get a lunch break, and even if you do there are always crazy lines for the cafeteria, so make sure you have water bottles and granola bars on hand. Even if you do get a lunch break, there are only so many times someone can eat Nathan’s Hot Dogs and live to tell the tale. This is also where the pockets from rule #4 can come in handy. 
  9. Make bets: Being in Vegas can bring out the competitive beast in anyone. It’s probably the sound of all those slot machines… So bring a pedometer to see how far you’ve walked, and bet your colleagues on who gets the best distance, or see who gets the best celebrity sighting.
  10. Get in the zone: CES is a weeklong assault on your senses, so start prepping now, you’ll need to be prepared emotionally and physically. Even if you think you’re ready, you’re not. A steady routine of meditation and jogging for the next three weeks can help make sure you don’t snap and start yelling mid-show over a perceived slight from a cocktail waitress.
  11. Drink lots of water: Speaking of cocktails, we all know that they cover the Las Vegas strip like the salmon of Capistrano. So feel free to enjoy one or more, but drink water first. Seriously. You’re in the desert, and you’re going to be awake for 20 hours a day, so you’re going to need as much water as you can get. Dehydration is only going to add to the sense that you’re slowly dying while trying to survive CES.
  12. Bring your stunner shades: It’s easy to be blinded by the thousands of bedazzled device cases and accessories – and although the mauve, German leather, pocket-ridden iPhone case will be calling your name, you need to stay far away. Distractions like these are the reasons that people need to focus on rule #10, don’t let yourself get distracted! You could spend hours staring at walls of shimmering accessories. #bedazzledinvegas

With a little bit of luck and assuming you prepare well, you may just survive long enough to join Airfoil for an evening of relaxation on Wednesday, January 9 – a brief oasis from the CES craziness. There’s still time to register…just click here to RSVP

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Our teams will be on the active on the CES show floor on behalf of a number of clients. Watch our Twitter and Facebook feeds next week for all the play-by-play action. See you at #2013CES!