A Practical Guide to Surviving AWS re:Invent

headshot of Dominic Wellington
6 min read

It’s the most magical time of the year! Yes, it’s time… to get ready to head to Las Vegas for AWS re:Invent.

Why, what else would I be talking about?

As a veteran of more re:Invents than I care to admit to in public, I wanted to share a few survival tips to help you make it through the week more or less intact.

Travel logistics for AWS re:Invent

I’m going to assume that by now you’ve booked your travel and accommodation. If you’re lucky, you’ll have got into one of the good hotels, ideally the Venetian. If not, you’re going to have to plan some extra transit time into your schedule.

Transit time is a factor in general. It’s been a long time since all of re:Invent fit into one venue. Last year saw over fifty thousand attendees; that gets us back to 2018 numbers, and this year there should be more. re:Invent 2023 is spread over six different venues, and while there is a shuttle bus service linking them, you should give yourself plenty of time to get from one to another. See the Campus page for more details: AWS re:Invent 2023 Campus | Amazon Web Services.

Sometimes, it’s just going to be quicker to walk, and there is a lot of walking at re:Invent. The venues are so big that it’s a decent hike just from the front door to whatever session you wanted to attend. Wear comfortable shoes, and take a bag that you don’t mind hauling all day. This is an event where backpacks win over messenger bags, whatever your opinion on style.

Will I beat my 2021 step count this year?

Planning your agenda

Because of the logistics, you should definitely plan your agenda now, rather than trying to figure it out on site. If two sessions are back-to-back, you’re going to struggle to get in, even if they’re in the same venue. Lines form outside popular sessions half an hour or more before they start (longer for keynotes). If you need to move between venues, you probably need to budget at least an hour, and then the same to get back.

Reserved seating has opened up for some sessions. Check if your sessions have that option, and if you’re sure you’ll attend, book your spot. But do cancel if your plans change: someone is sitting on the floor outside waiting for that spot, so do the right thing. You can manage your reservations on the re:Invent portal. 

As mentioned, keynotes fill up very early. It’s fun to be in the room and feel that energy, but you’ll need to be in line early to have a shot. Otherwise, you’ll get sent to an overflow room to watch on a livestream — and at that point, you might as well watch the video somewhere else. You could arrange to meet up for a watch party with like-minded folks, or you could just stay in bed with your laptop; I won’t judge. 

Even if you don’t do it for a keynote watch party, a meet-up is still a good idea. One of the great things about re:Invent is the hallway track, because lots of people will be in town at the same time. Strike up a conversation with the people near you in line, attend that user group meeting, and keep an eye on social media for impromptu “let’s all meet at this bar” sessions.

It’s worth keeping an eye on social media in general. The side channel conversation during keynotes can be hilarious, insightful, or at its best, both at once, and it includes remote participants watching from home. A good follow is Corey Quinn, who has his own set of re:Invent survival tips.

Want to see a SnapLogic demo at re:Invent? Book your spot today.

Basic survival tips for re:Invent in Las Vegas

Finally, there are some basics on surviving Las Vegas itself. Remember, it’s a desert; that means you will need to keep hydrated. Also, every list of Vegas survival tips mentions lip balm, and there’s a reason for that. Pack multiples, one for your bag, one for your pocket, and one for in case you can’t find the others or left them somewhere.

My last practical tip is to dress in layers. The desert gets cold at night, and the venues are freezing indoors — but outdoors during the day gets quite warm, and you’ll also keep warm with all that walking. This is the other reason a backpack comes in handy; it’s not just to carry your laptop (and a battery to charge your phone when it inevitably dies mid-afternoon), but it’s also a place to put those layers when you’re not wearing them.

But most importantly, don’t forget to have fun! re:Invent is just a whole lot of fun, not least because fifty-plus thousand people with broadly the same interests are in town all at the same time. The Thursday night party is a bit hit and miss for me, but some of the hits have been very good; I particularly remember seeing Thievery Corporation there, for instance, and while Skrillex is not my usual jam, the live show he put on was quite something. 

Just, you know, don’t have so much fun that you miss the morning sessions the next day — or your flight home! 
One last tip: Join me and the SnapLogic crew at booth #1052 for games and prizes. Find out if you’re smarter than an AI bot, and learn about our generative AI solution for integration and automation, SnapGPT. See you there!

headshot of Dominic Wellington
Enterprise Architect at SnapLogic
Topics: AWS
A Practical Guide to Surviving AWS re:Invent

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