Tips & Tricks for AWS re:Invent

Gerald Bachlmayr
4 min readNov 1, 2022

After two years of international travel restrictions I am excited to be able to join re:Invent 2022 in person. I would like to share my learnings from my previous two AWS re:Invent trips in 2019 and 2018.

You might wonder, why you should go all the way to Las Vegas if the majority of the sessions are recorded and the keynotes are even on live stream. Here are my main reasons:

AWS re:Invent 2022

Why re:Invent?

  1. Learning experience:
    Going to re:Invent is a massive learning experience. No matter what experience level you are, you will learn a lot if you pick the right sessions. You have dedicated time there to attend sessions and won’t be interrupted by meetings. Small sessions like “chalk board sessions” are not recorded and give you the opportunity to discuss solution approaches and use cases with individuals from other organisations.
  2. Motivational boost:
    You will come back with a big boost in motivation and you will be super-keen to apply all the things that you learnt at re:Invent and during the leadup. This will keep your learning drive going for a while and it might also positively influence your team.
  3. Building relationships:
    It is a great opportunity to build relationships: within your professional area, your industry, and also with your software vendors. Software vendors and consultancies organise after-parties and they are a great opportunity to continue building your network once the sessions have finished for the day.
  4. Having fun:
    Being part of re:Invent is fun. There are not only knowledge sessions, but also a lot of fun activities — e.g. the DeepRacer League, re:Play (the final party night of the event). Don’t forget to also look out for smaller parties mentioned under the previous point.

How to prepare for re:Invent

  1. Get your event ticket:
    You will need to organise your event ticket, either via your AWS partner contact or on the re:Invent portal. The ticket will give you:
    ● Hotel discount to a variety of hotels
    ● Enable you to book sessions on the event portal
  2. Plan your sessions:
    ● You can book reserved seats for the following session types: Builders’ sessions, chalk talks, breakout sessions, and workshops. You do not need to reserve a seat for keynotes or leadership sessions.
    ● Plan your sessions within proximity. I try to have my sessions throughout the day within the same hotel. Don’t be tricked if the walk to the next hotel looks short. Hotels in Vegas are massive and you usually have to walk through a huge casino area before you make it to the actual conference area.
    ● Leave enough time between sessions: The event area is packed with people and you need to be at your session in time. In previous years you lost your reserved seat if you were not there 15 minutes before a session starts.
  3. Devices and battery pack:
    ● I like taking notes in some of the sessions, but I always stick to a small laptop for two reasons: You need to carry it all day and smaller devices tend to have a better battery life time.
    ● Bring a battery pack anyway. There are charging stations, e.g. in the certification lounge, however, a battery pack gives you more flexibility.
  4. Organise your visa:
    ● Visitors from most countries will need a so-called ESTA visa. You can organise that online via the government website: https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/
    ● The official ESTA website might not provide the best user experience but private organisations will charge you up to five times more for the visa.
  5. Bring walking shoes:
    ● Bring comfortable walking shoes. You will be walking a lot.
  6. More information:
    ● Please also have a look at the official FAQ page.

Thing to consider when you are at re:Invent

  1. Pick-up your swag:
    ● Every in-person attendee can collect their event swag at the Venetian. There will also be swag available in the certification lounge for certification professionals. Don’t forget to pick it up.
  2. Be on time:
    ● Be there on time for your sessions, especially if you have a reserved seat. Otherwise you will lose your spot to the people on the waitlist.
    ● If you are on a waitlist, turn up early. First come, first served.
    ● If you are taking a ride sharing service or a taxi: the main street “The Strip” gets very busy during peak time and it can take a while to get on and off that road. Drivers are only allowed to stop at dedicated taxi / ride share areas.
    ● If you decide to take a shuttle: they are dealing with the same challenge as taxis and they need to park in the dedicated bus parking area of the hotel. Additionally, shuttles might need to queue to get into the bus parking area.
  3. Use the time for networking:
    ● If you miss out on a session that is being recorded, you can watch it later on.
    ● If you miss out on networking opportunities with people from other states or countries then that opportunity might not come around again that quickly.
  4. Feedback:
    ● After a session you can submit a short online survey on your phone. Your feedback will help the event organisers to keep up the quality of the sessions for upcoming conferences and the next re:Invent.
  5. Change of scenery:
    ● After walking up and down the strip for several days you will need a break. Fremont Street in downtown is one option for a change of scenery, even if it is only for a couple of hours in the evening.
    ● If you spend an extra day, then the Valley of Fire or the Grand Canyon are nice options for a day trip.

Conclusion

Going to re:Invent is an experience you won’t forget. If you plan ahead you will have more time to enjoy the event once you are there. I hope this write-up helped you to prepare.

See you there!

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