Over the years I’ve made a short list of things that help me survive tech ed.
1) Arrive early. Travel the day before the event. It means you’ll sacrifice your Sunday afternoon. However, it also means you avoid the rush traffic, you can register and check in without needing to hurry, and if something goes wrong during travel, you have enough time to deal with that. Additionally, you can start the seminar well rested after a good night’s sleep and a relaxing breakfast
2) If you have a choice in the matter, pick your hotel as close to the event as possible. This way, you don’t lose time in the mornings and evening on public transportation. Your schedule is busy enough already without adding additional hassles to it. And if you can walk to the event center, you are not bound to transportation schedules.
3) Don’t party. Paying attention throughout the day, making notes and talking to people is tiring. You’ll need to unwind and recover if you want to be able to give it your all the next day. If you’ve only had 4 hours of sleep and a lot of rich food and alcohol the day before, you’ll have trouble to stay alert. Then again, tech-ed is also an excellent moment to network and talk with other people, so find a balance.