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I still recall the moment that I was invited to attend this year’s International CES®, opening the email on my iPhone while on a bus headed into downtown Vancouver.

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This was no ordinary invitation, however. Several months back, I’d applied to – and was now officially accepted into – the CEA’s international journalist program. I was hand-picked to be one of 93 journalists representing 31 countries to attend the largest annual North American tech show, and was filled with anticipation (and giddiness) throughout the holidays.

Cosmopolitan Hotel
[Cosmopolitan Hotel Top of the Chandelier Lounge]

I arrived on Saturday afternoon, giving me time to settle in and reacquaint myself with Las Vegas in time for Sunday and Monday’s press events, including CES Unveiled as well as several pre-show keynote addresses.

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I focused on talks by Panasonic, Toyota, and Samsung, leading up to Tuesday’s opening day at CES. And then, along with over 160,000 other tech-minded folks, I was set free to explore!

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Preparing for CES

How did I prepare for my first CES? I got tips from fellow tech writer friend Michael Kwan, who advised comfy shoes, drinking lots of water, and carrying hand sanitizer. Check, check, and check.

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During December, I checked out the CES site and companion mobile app to plan my event-attending. And then a steady stream of press releases began to fill my inbox. Resourcefulness, patience, and flexibility wound up being key during the busy week as well.

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Staying Healthy During CES

I made good use of the Vegas taxis by immediately heading south on the Strip to Whole Foods at Town Square and stocking up on organic fruit, carrots, whole wheat pretzels, bread rolls, and granola, picking up a carton of yogurt at CVS Pharmacy as time allowed (my hotel room was fridge-less). This kept me properly fueled during afternoon and evening work sessions in my room.

Excalibur Hotel

My Hotel Experience

For all the poor Trip Advisor and Yelp reviews of the Excalibur Hotel, I must chime in here and say that my six-night stay was stellar. The room I stayed in on the 24th floor was in upgraded Tower II, with nicer design elements, new carpeting, etc. Service and housekeeping never failed me, and when CES kicked off and shot the hotel’s wifi system upside the head, within a half hour of my phoning front desk, a tech guy was knocking on my door, coming in to hardwire my Internet connection.

I always request the typical light-sleeper special: a room as far away from the elevators as possible, and on a higher floor. With 4,000 rooms divided between the two towers, I was amazed at how quiet the floor got considering CES was in town. When travelling, I look for clean, safe, quiet, and comfortable. While the Excalibur is certainly many levels shy of five-star luxury, it was serviceable for a business stay.

New York New York Hotel and Casino

I made New York, New York Hotel & Casino my second home, enjoying their fun atmosphere and good range of affording dining including Chin Chin (a throwback from my LA days) and Il Fornaio.

At CES

Make use of the Ask Me folks! They’re the ones wearing the blue sash and can help you navigate when 1) there’s hundreds of people rushing toward you, causing you to become quickly disoriented, and 2) when the city’s 3G and wifi is maxed out and the CES app no longer updates its live beacon functionality.

I also want to give a big thumbs up to my friends at Roam Mobility, as I again made use of their hassle-free unlimited talk, text, and data package during my week in Vegas. Thanks for helping to make my CES experience complete by staying connected!

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FOMO

There’s little room for FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) here: YOU create your own CES experience! I’ve met so many fun people during my week at CES, gotten my hands on the latest innovations, and navigated my way around the city to various events and parties, letting go of some my plans and allowing part of the time to unfold organically. This (IMHO) is the only way to survive such a massive conference, as it can take up to an hour to get from the Las Vegas Convention Center to your hotel, with long shuttle and cab wait times.

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Now on my flight headed home, my mind turns to thoughts of video editing — I have dozens of GoPro clips to sort through and compile that I’ll link to on this post later. And speaking of GoPro, I was lucky to have been invited to the Leaders in Technology dinner, featuring a chat with Fortune Magazine’s Alan Murray and GoPro CEO Nick Woodman.

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What’s Next

Below’s a list of my CES coverage. I’m already looking forward to CES 2016, but for now, keep your eyes peeled on this site for product reviews of the many tech discoveries I came across while perusing some of the 2.2 million square feet (!) of show space.

Greetings From CES 2015!
CES: Top Trends to Watch in 2015
2015 CES Press Day: New Innovations at Panasonic
2015 CES Press Day: Toyota Welcomes the World to a Hydrogen-Fueled Society
CES Press Day: Samsung CEO BK Yoon Delivers Pre-Show Keynote

My CES Videos on Vancouverscape’s YouTube Channel

CES 2015 Unveiled at Mandalay Bay
CES 2015 Day 1 and 2 Highlights and Impressions
CES 2015 Tech, Leaders in Technology Dinner, WD Party at TAO Venetian

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