I've been going to CES for many years. This year, the trip will be my 15th consecutive one, and possibly my last. Just like last year, I've been inundated with e-mails from CES first-timers asking what should they bring.
Whether I'm traveling to CES, CEDIA, or another trade event, there are always a few essentials.
I won't bore you with the obvious suggestions, like packaged snacks and comfortable shoes. Here are some things you might not think of when putting together your suitcase, as well as my choices for essentials like portable chargers, cameras, and headphones.
Perhaps the most important "gadget" is the antibacterial hand sanitizer I get from Bath and Bodyworks. With all the handshaking happening at CES, I'll usually go through at least two bottles of hand sanitizer during the five-day trip. At $3 a bottle, they offer great peace of mind, and offer an easy way to quickly clean your hands between meetings, when you can't get to a nearby bathroom for a proper wash. Given that the two bottles were cutting it close last year, I'll probably stuff a third in my luggage this year.
While we all want to look presentable and dress appropriately, I have another idea in mind when choosing my wardrobe for the show. I bring a red shirt and carry a red back. The reason? So I can easily tell vendors to "look for the guy in a red shirt, carrying red backpack with a ponytail," when we're trying to spot each other for a meeting or booth tour.
Also pertaining to my wardrobe, I pack two pairs of socks for every day I'll be in town, so I can change them midday and provide a fresh feeling on my feet. I'll also bring along two pairs of shoes so I can alternate them to give each pair a day to "breathe" and get their bounce back. You walk a lot during the show. Last year, I logged about 10 hours of walking each day of the show, which was up from the usual eight hours in previous years. Considering how much larger the show is going to be this year, I'm suspecting that my feet will thank me for the second pair of shoes.
Of course, walking around and working for up to 14 hours a day for the entire week will make the screen surfaces of my phone, tablet, prescription glasses, and watch pretty disgusting. I clean them daily without any streaks and add a fine layer of oleophobic coating using Whoosh! Screen Shine ($10, Hitfar Concepts). Not only does it work effectively (I've been using this brand for multiple years for my iDevices and glasses,), but the brand is also Canadian.
On the technology side, as a journalist covering the show, I'll need a variety of tech devices, including my Dell laptop, iPhone, iPad Pro, and Apple Watch. Not only will I be using them to compose articles and notes, but also to keep track of my appointments, and use the CES 2018 app, which provides a comprehensive guide and maps of the show floor, exhibitors, events, and other details.
Although I usually need my music at all times, I'll be taking a different approach this year. No music for me while I'm walking around. However, given that I did talk on my phone quite a bit last year, this year I'll be bringing a pair of Jabra Elite Sport in-ear Bluetooth monitors. They'll help me easily make calls while I'm on the shuttle buses, or anywhere I need a bit of peace and quiet, since I find they block outside noise effectively. While walking during the show itself, I'll be wearing my Aftershokz Trekz Titanium bone conduction earphones in Neon Pink. This way I still can completely hear the surrounding sound during my walks and meetings. But while I'm talking to someone on the phone, people will not think I'm having a conversation with myself!
For my charging needs, I'm taking the Anker Power Port 5 (About $26). With this unit, I can simultaneously charge my iPad, iPhone, Jabra, Aftershokz and Apple Watch. There's no need to bring along five different chargers. But I'm also bringing the MyCharge Rapid Recharge MAX ( distributed by Erikson Consumer) which is unique in that it has built-in prongs so I can plug the unit into any wall socket and charge it.
For photography, I'm going to rely this year solely on my iPhone 8 Plus camera - I won't be taking my Canon 7D mkII and Canon 17-55 f/2.8 IS lens. I will, however, be using the 645 Pro camera app so I can manually control my iPhone camera as if I'm using a DSLR, and to create photos that can be published with minimal retouching.
By the end of the trip, my luggage is usually full of white-papers, review units, and some knick-knacks I bought during the trip, including my new favourite snack, Werther's caramel popcorn (I'm done with Funyuns since I can now get them in Canada.) I can be absolutely sure that I won't get docked for oversized luggage, or be forced to leave some items behind at check-in, by using the portable, battery-operated, self-calibrating and self-memorizing handheld scale by Balanzza ($25 from Bed Bath & Beyond.) There is also a version of this unit that comes with a backlight and rechargeable battery using a USB port for $33.
Last but not least, I will carry my Skross Alarm Cable https://www.wifihifi.ca/content/index/page?pid=5663 so I'll know if I accidentally left my phone charger somewhere before it's too late.
Now, that I've packed my bags, I'll see you at the show. Check this site for my daily articles, and follow WiFi HiFi on Twitter @wifihifimag as well as my personal account @davidsusilo for daily Tweets during the show.