Tips From An MWC Veteran
How to survive and thrive at this year's conference
When in doubt opt for the train to get around
With 100,000+ conference goers crowding the city streets, in addition to the usual abundance of tourists, getting around Barcelona can be a nightmare. Hailing a cab can be next to impossible and with traffic, getting to and from Fira Gran Via (the expo center) can take hours – seriously, hours. Walk when you can, and if you’re near a train stop, that’s your best bet. The transit system is pretty easy to navigate and they’ve now opened a stop near the Fira that makes it convenient.
Eat light and eat often to stay energized
A day at MWC starts early and ends late. You’ll likely be at the expo all day and before you know it, it’s 7pm. Most restaurants do not open for dinner prior to 8pm as most locals don’t have dinner in Spain until 10 or 11pm. Stay hydrated and eat snacks during the day to keep you going.
Bring business wear and ‘going out’ clothes (plus walking shoes!)
During the day, you’ll likely have a full schedule of meetings – obviously you want to pack your trade show attire, but set aside a couple of clothing items for the nightlife. Bars and clubs have a lot of energy starting on Thursday night. It’s a very vibrant city. You’ll also want to pack some comfortable shoes for other nights as you can do a lot of walking. I tallied up 55 miles last year!
Don’t overdo nightlife early in the week
Barcelona has no shortage of bars, clubs, and parties – and with the addition of MWC events it’s easy to over indulge early on and pay the price the rest of the week. Save your energy for late nights on Thursday and Friday night, if possible, as this is when things get going in the city. Also, venture out of your hotel comfort zone and try different areas like El Born and El Raval.
If you’re a first timer, don’t nap too long – and allow time to check out some of the local flavor
If you’ve traveled to Europe previously, it’s not much of an adjustment. For those who are coming from the US/Canada/Mexico, try not to nap too long when you arrive! You’ll have trouble adjusting to the time zone and it’s a long week. Also, allow some free time to check out Sagrada Famillia and the local farmer’s markets. Mercat de Santa Caterina and Mercat de la Boqueria are great to see even if you’re not buying anything. Make sure you try all the tapas that you can. There’s a lot to choose from.