I intended to blog months ago about prepping for Dreamforce, but everyone else did a great job of that, so I thought I’d skip it this year. And then our little Portland user group had an awesome “Dreamforce tips” meeting… and it was so awesome and information-packed that I just had to share some of the great tips from that meeting, from my fellow bloggers, and yes even from my own overloaded brain.

You’ve signed up for a million sessions. You’ve triple-checked your flight time and hotel reservation. You’ve got a “look into this while you are there” list from your boss. But are you ready for Dreamforce? Here are a few final bits of advice…

Packing:

If you’ve been checking out the Dreamforce Chatter feed, you may have seen this Forbes Style File article. Very nice! If you are leaning toward the dressier side of things, they have some great suggestions.

And then there’s Force Behind the Force, one of my favorite blogs, with some advice on what not to pack. Direct quote: “Go for comfort over dressy.” We can’t say it enough.

My advice is a combination of those pointers: so when you pack, think about what you intend to accomplish.

  • This year, I am attending Dreamforce to absorb information like a fired-up student. I will be among the most casual folks there. And if you are a jeans and t-shirt person, you will not be alone.
  • If you are 1) networking, 2) presenting, 3) looking for a job, or 4) manning a booth on the expo floor, you need to look nicer than I will! Dress it up a notch. Replace sneakers with some cute, flat-heeled boots and you can still be comfortable.
  • Be sure to check the weather forecast before you pack – and bring things that you can layer, because it can get warm and crowded in the sessions but will cool down considerably at night while you are party-hopping.
  • Last but definitely not least: when you get tired of reading about what all us girls are packing, think about actual necessities. Brent’s “What’s in My Dreamforce Bag” list is brilliant.

Checking In:

On-site registration and check-in is located in Moscone West, Moscone North, Marriott Atrium and the lobby level of Hilton Union Square, during the following hours:

  • Sunday, November 17 (2 – 6pm)
  • Monday, November 18 (7am – 8pm)
  • Tuesday, November 19 (7am – 7pm)
  • Wednesday, November 20 (7:30am – 6pm)
  • Thursday, November 21 (7:30am – 3pm)

They tell you in the confirmation email: “Beat the lines and pick up your badge on Sunday!” They are not kidding. If you get to town during those hours on Sunday, check in as soon as you can, even if you have to do it before you go to your hotel.

Electronics:

You won’t want to carry your laptop around all day, so leave it in your hotel room. If you have a tablet, bring that instead, or just take notes the old fashioned way with pen & paper. And don’t forget to bring all of your chargers!

Be sure to download the Dreamforce app – I’ve got it on my Droid and so far it looks great! It is also available for iPhone.

Twitter gets crazy during Dreamforce! Follow @salesforce and @dreamforce, and follow/join the Dreamforce conversation at #df13.

Want more apps? Check out the Admin Hero’s best app list.

Transportation:

San Francisco has incredible public transportation. Take BART into town from either SFO or Oakland airports, and consider getting a Muni Pass for the week – very useful for checking out neighborhoods and restaurants that are not within walking distance!

During the conference, shuttle buses and pedi-cabs will be provided by Salesforce to get you to and from all of the locations of the sessions. Be sure to tip your pedi-cab driver!

If you’ve never tried Uber… well, you must try Uber. Unfortunately for me, it doesn’t exist in Portland – but in San Francisco, it makes every visit so much better! It’s like a combination of a taxi and your own personal towncar & driver. You create an account online with your credit card, then download the app to your smartphone. When you need to get from Point A to Point B, you use the app to order a car, and they tell you the name of your driver and when he/she will arrive. You don’t need to pay the driver because your card is charged for the ride. Best. Idea. Ever.

Luggage:

On the last day of Dreamforce, check out of your hotel and leave your luggage with the front desk, or you can check it at Moscone. You don’t want to be worrying about hotel check-out during the morning sessions. And be sure to leave a little room in your bag for the books and swag that you will most likely be bringing home with you… or a lot of room if you plan on taking advantage of the amazing shopping!

I hope these tips help you just a little next week. Have fun, learn a lot, and be safe!