Travel Insurance - hopefully you won't need it, but it's something you should get in case you lose items or need medical assistance. Make sure you understand what's covered.
Register with smarttraveller.gov.au - for those in Australia. It provides travel advisories and assists to find you in an emergency - whether it is a natural disaster, civil disturbance or family emergency . Check for similar schemes in your country.
Apply for ESTA - if you're not from USA, you may be required to obtain ESTA if using a Visa Waiver Program. Make sure you use the official site. It's valid for 2 years. Have a copy on you while travelling to USA.
Notify your bank - banks are pretty good with detecting fraud, but they might be over zealous and block your credit/debit card if they suddenly detect transactions in San Francisco.
Emergency numbers - make a list of important numbers, like:
- Health insurance policy and local phone number,
- Bank hotline for lost/stolen credit cards
- Hotel phone number & address
Mobile phone plan - will your phone work overseas? Is it locked to a particular network? Check local mobile providers for plans such as T-Mobile's $2 a day plan. Trust me, you will
Set your out of office response - don't get caught up in what's going on back in the office, there's enough going on at VMworld. Plus it's invigorating writing that you'll be away and not contactable!
Pack light - you're away for a week, it's not a fashion show. Wear the same tshirt twice. Pick up tshirts from vendors. Leave room for swag, or bring an extra bag for the trip home.
Tools - Bring a tablet, not a laptop. If you need a USA power adapter, bring a powerboard for it so you can charge multiple things at once. The extra metre of cord on the powerboard helps in some hotel rooms.
Get social - get on twitter, search for #VMworld, follow people and see what events the crowds are going to. Meet up and say hi.
Get organised - any event/session that you may want to go to, put it in your calendar. It's a reminder to check the standby line if you haven't registered for a session, and a reminder for the parties that are coming up.
Read more about it - Christopher Kusek (@cxi) always does a great write-up on what to do before and at VMworld.
Hope to see you at #vBeers or the VMworld Community Kick Off on Saturday night.