Tips for International Travellers Attending PASS Summit 2012

By Heidi Hasting and Ben McNamara

VISA - SEATTLE GENERAL INFO - HOTEL/ AIRPORT TRANSPORT - TIME ZONE - POWER - PHONE - TIPPING & MONEY RESOURCES - APPS AND SOCIAL MEDIA - BUSINESS CARDS - FOOD AND DRINKS - THINGS TO DO AND PLACES TO SEE

VISA
Make sure you’ve considered USA visa requirements in advance. http://travel.state.gov/visa/

SEATTLE GENERAL INFORMATION
This website is a must visit for any traveller to Seattle. http://www.seattle.gov. It has everything from where to stay/eat/shop, places to visit, the weather and how to get to downtown Seattle.

Downtown Seattle is small enough to get anywhere just by walking from the Space Needle to the Aquarium. There are also some walking tours like the Underground tour and Seattle Coffee Crawl.

International Travellers please visit this page http://www.seattle.gov/html/visitor/internationalvisitors.htm

HOTEL - AIRPORT TRANSPORTATION
For those of you travelling by plane to SeaTac airport the Link Light Rail train service will get you from the airport to downtown Seattle in less than an hour from US $2.50. If you arrive in the day time there are some great views of Mount Rainier from the train.

TIME ZONE 
Seattle: http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/city.html?n=234
Seattle compared to other time zones: http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/difference.html?p1=234
Seattle is currently in daylight savings UTC/GMT – 7 Hours but this ends on Sunday November 4th so at the time of the conference November 6th – 9th Seattle will be UTC/GMT – 8hrs.

POWER
Make sure you pack a power adaptor/convertor with you for all your electronic devices. North America uses either Type A 2 parallel prongs or Type B Two Parallel prongs and a third earthing prong see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Domestic_AC_Type_B_USA.jpg

PHONE
There are readily available WIFI hotspots in and around the Seattle Convention Centre and Skype is an excellent option for calling home. If you’re like me and you wouldn’t mind having all the functionality of your phone without using the Wi-Fi or international roaming option from home then stop into one of the local Telco’s and organise a SIM for the time you’re in the USA. Make sure your handset is unlocked before going for a USA SIM.

AT &T at 1501 4th Ave Seattle, WA 98101
T-Mobile at 1527 6th Avenue Seattle WA 98101
Skype: http://www.skype.com/intl/en/home

TIPPING AND MONEY RESOURCES

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/usa/practical-information/money-costs
http://www.tripadvisor.com.au/Travel-g191-s606/United-States:Tipping.And.Etiquette.html

APPS AND SOCIAL MEDIA

Guidebook
If you have an Android, iPhone, Blackberry, Windows 7 phone or iOS device then this app is a must and it’s free. Simply download the app search for the conference and download. This will give you the conference schedule right on your phone so you can pick your sessions, setup a schedule and more.

Twitter

If you don’t already have a Twitter account then I highly recommend getting one it’s a fantastic tool to have while at the conference. It’s great for networking, keeping in touch with other conference attendees, got a SQL question just ask and add the #sqlhelp hashtag to get some help from users all over the world. People often tweet about evening events that are happening after the regular conference hours, SQL running groups, SQL Karaoke. http://twitter.com/

BUSINESS CARDS 

Business Card, Business Cards, Business Cards need I say more. It’s a quick and easy way to exchange contact details with your new contacts.

FOOD AND DRINKS 

Coming from another country be prepared that what you ask for and what you get may be not what you were expecting. For example in Australia a flat white coffee is a standard menu item at coffee shops but in the US we found an equivalent doesn’t exist but the friendly coffee shop staff were happy to accommodate a custom made coffee after we explained how it’s made.

Another classic example is in Australia at a restaurant chips are deep fried potatoes, in the US if you ask for chips in a restaurant you receive crisps (crunchy thinly sliced potatoes from a packet)

Bottom line stuffs going to be different so double check before you find yourself dreaming of the food back home.

Tap House - 1506 Sixth Avenue Seattle Washington 98101  http://taphousegrill.com/

Bush Garden - 614 Maynard Avenue S. Seattle, WA 98104  http://www.bushgarden.net/

THINGS TO DO, PLACES TO SEE: 
List of places to see (in this order) as provided by my friend Sam an USA expat:
1.    Pike Place Market
2.    Space Needle/ Seattle Center
3.    Ferry ride to Bremerton and back
4.    The Ballard locks
5.    Seattle Seahawks football game
6.    Pioneer Square
7.    Underground Seattle
8.    Discovery Park
9.    Green Lake Park
10.  Seattle aquarium/waterfront

 

Why Attend?