So you’re heading to SXSW…

Congratulations - you’re embarking on a few day to week long journey into the epic-center of technology, film and music. Which translates into geek talk, booze, networking, long lines, getting lost, little sleep, less food and an all-out kick-ass time. Now some of you may be already boarding your flights but heed the advice below because once attendees pop on their badges there is no turning back.

Say hello to..

gtrot’s 2011 guide to SXSW


Travel in Packs
Trying to keep track of all your friends who are planning on attending #SXSW? Want to know which dates overlap? Do you know who is going to be there on Monday to stand in line with you at the MashBash party vs. who has to return to ‘the real world’ for work? Hey - check out this super-uber-cool travel sharing website! [Yes we shamelessly plug on our own site!] Oh, sharing also gets you daily deals for Austin (save some dollars on food and fun) and closer to VIP at our Sunday night party- you’re welcome!

Back-back-back it up!
Do you know what it’s like running a company, tweeting or taking notes without your iPhone, Blackberry or Macbook? No? Well you probably don’t want to either. Prepare for the worst and back up the data on your computer, phone and devices. Unlimited boozing and carrying hardware rarely mix well.

Download now!
As past years have proven, cellular and wifi bandwidth can be a problem. That means if you want to test out the hottest apps at SXSW you should download them now. I mean it, start downloading! There may still be an issue of having enough service to actually use them, but at least you can show off your phone-sash of badges to fellow geeks.

Get it in-line and online
Admit it, your blog profile is outdated, your Twitter avatar doesn’t look like you and you have six email addresses that you route into gmail. Everyone you schmooze with will want to grab your handle, Bump or Hash you (no they don’t even ask for your last name first!) so be ready. Have a clear way for people to get in touch with you and make sure those profiles are up to date. If you keep directing people to a redirect page where your blog should be - that ladies and gents earns you a #sxswfail.

Bring your papers

Attending a tech conference with analog supplies seems silly in this day in age - companies like Hashable are tracking real-time connections, Addieu narrows connecting to a few clicks and services like Tout are helping spreading your pitch only one SMS away. Technology is awesome! But lo and behold, networks fail, smart phones die and sometimes you’re too boozed-up to type on a digital keyboard. Fret not my digital friends - paper business cards to the rescue! Bring a few to hand out in these dire situations


Ain’t no cure like the one I got
Drinking + not sleeping + BBQ overload may be the norm for many social-media lovers on a regular basis. Now multiply that by 5 and smoosh it into one little weekend. You either can handle it with all of your #tigerblood or you’ll need advil, sunglasses and Vitamin Water Zero- pack accordingly.

Hungry like a wolf [don’t ask]
You know what I love between panels, talking and parties? Food. Clearly there is no shortage of places to eat in Austin- but somehow it’s hard to find the time. If you attended last year’s event you likely survived on protein bars and free cookies doe-eyed college kids handed out on the streets between panels. Don’t let this happen to you! Bring some snacks and if you’re eating lots of BBQ - gum might be a good choice.

Electric gets hectic
Chargers! Pack them, carry them with you and don’t lend to strangers. These things are in high demand. You may even consider one of those chargers that looks like your iPhone just gave birth to 2 double AA batteries.

All about the Washingtons, baby
Now we all love our credit card miles, want-to-be American Express Black Cards and Chase debit cards alike - but cash will always be king, especially in a city like Austin. Have some one’s on hand to tip those special bartenders during open bars, a twenty or two to bribe your way into the VIP line and some money to pay that friendly cab driver who helps you find your way home.

Dress you up in my logo - in my loooogo
Now, what to wear. It’s a tech conference, hello! Even though SXSW is debuting a fashion event, it’s still mostly t-shirt and jeans at the beginning of the week for SXSWi and t-shirts, chains, and black jeans at the end of the week for SXSWMusic. You’ll want to be casual, comfortable and hopefully, clean. Company logo t-shirts will abound -shoot me a message if you’re a user (of the site of course) and want to rock a gtrot shirt!

Lighten up Francis
Less is more, especially when you get attacked my swag at registration and between panels. Show up with less as you’ll likely be hauling more by day’s end. There is secret place to easily stash stuff - but that’s a secret I’ll never tell (okay -only if you ask)!

City girls love southern weather
A shout-out to the ladies, walkable shoes are a must for hopping from the convention center, 6th street and back again. Also, the weather will be awesome this week so boots and dresses will likely be the rage. Just be wary of the Austin winds for flowy skirts (yes, I quickly found out CVS sells leggings for these instances of skirt-vs-wind).

Now go into the #SXSW wild tech-music-film children! Say hello and I’ll see you in Austin!

About: Brittany:
I'm a travel addict working for, a travel company that makes travel more social. Say hello @gtrot or on Facebook

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