There are many guides to AWS re:Invent on the web. Many of these how-tos will help you pick the best workshops and will explain the event's ins and outs.
This text isn’t one of them.
No. Instead, I’ll tell you how to make your re:Invent experience as stress-free and enjoyable as possible.
You might now be thinking – ok, that’s cool, Michał. But why are you talking about it now, half a year before the event starts? Well – there are two reasons. First, the registration to the re:Invent 2022 has just started, so you can already sign-up. Second, the key to enjoying your re:Invent is good planning. So why not start now?
If this sounds convincing enough – let's commence the preparations for the event of your dreams ⬇
Table of Content:
- Get non-roaming based mobile internet
- Don’t miss the workshop registration
- Don’t forget to pack comfortable shoes (and more)
- All you need to know about booking your hotel
- Campus starter tips
- Don't miss the keynotes – the soul of every re:Invent
- One of the reasons you came to Vegas is to have fun, right?
- Some random remarks
Before you fly to Vegas
They say a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. However, in case of the AWS re:Invent, the journey starts with a few clicks (don't forget to sign up.)
After you're officially registered, there are a few more things you should do before travelling to Vegas.
Let's start with the essentials – like getting some mobile internet, that won't ruin your household budget.
Get non-roaming based mobile internet
If you’re not a multi-millionaire, forget about using any roaming-based mobile internet in the US. Depending on where you’re travelling from, an MB of data can cost even up to $5.
So, to avoid shockingly high phone bills, make sure to acquire mobile internet access from other sources – like, for example, by getting an eSIM USA data plan.
Don’t miss the workshop registration
The registration for workshops and sessions usually starts around October. It may seem long, long away – but make sure to check the exact date beforehand. The number of places for workshops and sessions is (very) limited.
On the bright side – the same workshop will usually take place several times over during one re:Invent.
Personally, my favourite workshop is the Security Jam – if you haven’t yet, I recommend you give it a go!
However, what I don’t recommend is filling your calendar solely with workshops and other active sessions. From my experience, it’s good to leave some empty slots; for example, to simply walk around the expo. Or to sign up for new workshops, announced during keynotes.
And if you like workshops, make sure to watch my latest IT's Live! webinar ⬇
Don’t forget to pack comfortable shoes (and more)
Talking about walking – don’t buy a brand-new pair of patent leather oxfords or any high heels for this event. Trust me; you really want to pack a comfortable pair of shoes. Every day you'll be walking half a marathon. The campus is huge – and your feet are often the most convenient means of transportation.
What’s more, remember that November and December in Vegas isn’t snowy. On the contrary – it’s pretty warm. We’re talking about a place in the middle of the desert, after all. So, don’t only take winter clothes.
Finally – I’m sure you know, but I’ll mention it just to make sure – USA uses different sockets. Make sure you take some adapters with you.
But something you don’t have to take with you is your own… alcohol. The number of sponsored events in the vicinity won’t make you feel thirsty even for a second.
All you need to know about booking your hotel
When looking for a hotel, try to find a place close to The Venetian. It’s where the expo is and where the keynotes take place. (And where the food is). If you book your accommodation far away from The Venetian, you will have a hard time getting to your hotel room during the day (it really takes time to travel in Vegas).
Now, if you’re booking your accommodation with the re:Invent app, remember that the automatic payment only covers the first night. You have to keep in mind that when checking in, you will have to pay for you’re the remaining charge using the same card you used in the app. If you don’t, your initial payment will be refunded, and you’ll have to pay the entire amount. So, make sure to have sufficient funds on your debit/credit cards.
Finally, don’t miss the resort fee. It can be high – and isn’t included in the basic price per night.
Travelling to the US
All packed and prepared? Great! Now, let’s talk about travel-related stuff.
Vaccination and testing
If you want to enter the US, you need to be fully vaccinated.
Additionally, you have to present a COVID-19 test taken 24 hours prior to boarding your first plane. Luckily, if you’re on a tight schedule (or forget to do it), you can take the test at most airports (it took me just 10 minutes).
Edit – since the 12th of June 2022, tests are no longer mandatory!
Visa or ESTA
Don’t forget to get a visa (if you need one; if you don’t, you’ll still have to get an ESTA permit online).
Getting from the airport to Vegas
If you decide to take the shuttle bus from the airport to the city, be prepared for quite the ride. The bus stops at many hotels in the city, so it may take a while to get to your destination.
Taxis are quicker.
Finally in Vegas!
So, you have finally arrived at your hotel! Great. Rest while you can. The next couple of days is going to be filled with cool (but exhausting) activities.
Now, let me give you a few battle-tested tips to make your re:Invent adventure as fun (and efficient) as possible!
Campus starter tips
- AWS provides breakfast and lunch. Side events are filled with snacks and drinks. The food hall at The Venetian is gigantic (I’d wager that around 100 people are responsible solely for guest “traffic control”). So, don’t worry about eating. You can’t starve at the re:Invent!
- Travel smartly. Try to find shortcuts. For example – if you’re at The Venetian, and you need to get to Caesars Forum, take the secret passage behind the Expo site. Avoid the bus from The Venetian to the Wynn (a walk takes less time). Be prepared for quite the journey from The Venetian to MGM; if you book back-to-back workshops at both these places, you won’t make it from one to another. Finally, remember you can take the MonoRail to get to the Festival Grounds on re:Play (alternatively, it’s not too far away to just walk).
- Get a big backpack (or grab one of the event bags). Why? Because the campus is filled with all kinds of gift merchandise! It would be sad to leave it behind because you have nowhere to store it. T-shirts, mugs, stickers, socks, electronics, toys… and more!
Finally, remember there are two kinds of people in this world waiting lines for workshops and sessions. One is for those who signed up, the other for those you didn't (walk-ins). My tip is: don’t feel discouraged if you’re not on a list for something you really want to participate in. Until now, I got in through the walk-in line every time.
Don't miss the keynotes – the soul of every re:Invent
Workshops are cool. But keynotes make the re:Invent special. At keynotes, AWS experts and industry leaders from the world of cloud computing share must-see announcements – including the latest product launches and inspiring customer stories.
Cool things can happen during a keynote. For example... a truck may drive onto the stage.
And since keynotes often reveal new services, they also kickstart new workshops. (That's why it makes sense to leave some empty slots in your calendar).
One of the reasons you came to Vegas is to have fun, right?
There’s one magical website you should make sure to check out – the one about conference parties. (That's how it looked like last year). There, you’ll find a list of all the side events hosted by various sponsors.
The biggest side event is usually taking place in the Omnia at Caesars Palace. Other interesting destinations include Madam Tussauds, High Roller, or TopGolf. At some of these events, you should dress smartly (Omnia), others are totally casual. But don’t worry – you’ll find all the necessary information on the conference party’s website.
If you’re now thinking – “ok, that’s cool, Michał, but I came to the re:Invent to learn and develop professionally. I have no interest in partying!” – I get you. Buuut…
…don’t miss the re:Play on Thursday. It’s a must-go.
Some random remarks
- You can buy water, smacks or beer at CVS or Walgreens.
- It’s cool to see Vegas from the top of the High Roller. Additionally, I really recommend Bellagio’s water fountain show and the fire show at The Mirage.
- A taxi from Treasure Island to North Premium Outlets is around $25.
- You can drink on the streets of the Las Vegas Strip.
- Looking for a gift for your wife, husband, or child? Visit the Honolulu Cookie Company on the LINQ promenade. You won’t regret it.
Let’s Meet at the Next re:Invent!
I hope my tips will help you enjoy the next re:Invent to the fullest! It’s a great event – and it gets absolutely magical if you plan your journey right.
So – maybe we’ll get the chance to meet in person during the next re:Invent?
Make sure to contact me on LinkedIn to stay in touch… and see you soon in November!