3GSM attendance tips for those that haven’t been before

This excellent set of recommendations/advice comes from Jag Minhas posted on forumoxford.

I have reproduced it with Jag’s permission. Hope you find it useful!

From Jag ..


Although I am not going to 3GSM this year, a few of my colleagues in my part of the office are, and have been asking for travel and attendance tips/advice etc. Last year there were a reported 50,000 attendees and I am hearing anecdotally that this year there will be over 70,000! So that’s a lot of new people. And given I am holed up in bed today off sick I thought I’d spend a little dead time compiling a list of tips/advice for those who haven’t attended before:

1. Plan your diaries NOW if you haven’t done so already. (This one is obvious)

2. Although Dean Bubley says in is latest blog entry on “3GSM fatigue” that he allows 5 mins buffer time between scheduled meetings in order to get from one place to another in the FIRA, my experience was to allow a lot more time – I would recommend 15 mins. If only to keep yourself sane. 45 minute meeting time is sufficient in my view.

3. One reason for advice above is that the time to take getting from one place to another in the massive FIRA complex can be quite long unless you have really planned your navigation route from place to place with military-precision beforehand. And even if you have be prepared for disorientation. Hall/booth maps and reality are not always interpreted the same way.

4. Because of the risk above, apply a bit of “backpressure” in your diary organisation beforehand; organise your meetings so that you are “contiguous” in the various halls – e.g. Monday morning you could cover Hall 4 appointments, Monday afternoon cover Hall 6 appointments etc. It is a real pain in the butt going from hall to hall.

5. FIRA is extremely crowded, especially when people are transiting between apoointments “on the hour”. Try organising your diary so that your meetings are at a less popular point on the clock – e.g. 10 minutes past the hour.

6. Wear shoes you can walk comfortably in all day – because there is a LOT of walking and especially because some of the transit ways between halls are carpet-covered cobble-stone, which, trust me, gives you a false impression that the floor is easy to walk on, and as a result your feet will take a real pounding and you may end up getting foot injury (I did.) Try to walk off the carpeted sections as your mind will be more mentally prepared for the phsyical unneveness in the stones and will adjust your walking style optimally.

7. Eating at lunchtime in the FIRA is chaotic due to sheer volumes of people, despite the fact that there are a lot of eateries. Most of it is too crowded to have 1:1 with buddies over a cup of coffee and lunchtime arrangements can be quite akward, especially if you are having just two of you are dining. (Tables-for-two are in high demand!) I would suggest that unless you are already being catered for in a private lunchtime appointment, you should eat a big breakfast and just snack on something to keep you going til evening, or bring something with you for lunch, or join the queue for the sandwiches. Allow at least half an hour if you do the latter. Or else eat you lunch at a non-rush hour time.

8. Carry as little as possible with you, and definitely don’t bring your luggage with you to FIRA unless you can store it somewhere. Many hotels will hold your luggage for you on checkout day, so you don’t have to wheel your bag around an already crowded venue. (It is worse than Oxford Street in some halls and at some times.)

9. The demand for taxis is very high outside FIRA. Take the metro instead.

10. Because Barca is a major tourist destination, there may be a lot of tourist-relates crime, e.g. pickpocketing etc. Try not to carry laptops/etc in public and be careful at the airport on arrival. There were loads of 3GSM people who had their bags stolen from the taxi-rank or taxi-boot (trunk) outside the airport and hotels. Split your wallets and keep yoour moby safe. Take more than one phone/SIM with you can. The thieves will be rubbing their hands at 70,000 wealthy, gadgeted-up, people descending into their city for a week. Check out some of the reports of tourist scams at this page. (Warning – it will make you paranoid if you read it too hard, just use it to get a flavour, but bear in mind that the police put on extra security for the event – like more dogs patrolling the Metro.)

11. For those arriving on Sunday, be aware that most supermarket type shops are closed on Sundays in Spain. Thus, not easy to get supplies if you are staying in an apartment. So, if you insist on drinking bottled water etc. and you are arriving Sunday, bring it with you if you can, or else buy it at the airport shops on arrival unless you want to traipse up and down La Rambla and not get ripped off. If you are brave and suitably roughly dressed, the some of the few places in the Cuitat Vella where you can get “supplies” e.g. milk, bread etc. on a Sunday are the East-Indian/Pakistani convenience stores in the El Raval and west-of-la Rambla district. Be warned. Hopefully your hotel will tell you where the nearest shop is.

12. Get your tickets/invites for parties organised before you go. Door policies and security are usually strictly enforced, don’t consider trying to “blag” your way into a party venue.

13. The Nokia party is the most popular! Last year they had it on the waterfront at the port end of the old town. Massive tent. Very impressive. Live bands etc. But get there early if you want the food before it get’s eaten up!

Enjoy, and those of you taking cameraphones with Shozu etc. you should consider configuring your Shozu to tag Flickr pictures with a unique

code for ForumOxford members to keep track of each other’s pictures. I propose “oxfordforum” ?

Can’t think of anything more for now.

Best regards – Jag


Thanks Jag! Awesome stuff!