Are you an IFA newbie? With a floor area of 1.6 million square feet, there’s a lot of ground to cover at the event. And with 1.6K exhibitors, you’ll have a tough time seeing all the innovations and products you’re interested in. I was once an IFA newbie myself, and there are definitely a few things I wish I had known before I arrived. To help you get the most out of your first trip to IFA Berlin, I’m sharing my list of first-timer’s tips with you.

1. For important business, arrive on day 1

You know that saying: “the early bird catches the worm”? If you want to meet executives and the press at IFA, you need to be there on the first day (Friday). All the “important people” arrive on the weekend to announce their new products to the press. But by Sunday, they’ve already cleared out. Even though the show goes on through Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, the key decision makers are typically gone by then.

2. Book your meetings in advance

If your plan is to just walk around the venue and hope to catch people you need to meet, think again. There’s a lot of floor area to cover, and most executives will already have their time booked. Pre-booking your meetings makes your visit to the show 10x more efficient! The sooner you book an appointment, the higher chance you have to get in any company’s booth with the decision makers. Luckily, IFA has a great tool to pre-arrange meetings in advance – IFA Virtual Market.

3. Prepare for “roughing it”, mobile style

Finding a place to charge up is tough, especially when you’re out and about the event floor. Bring an extra battery pack or two so you’re always good to go. Plus, the WiFi at the event is not always very reliable, so make sure you’ve got a good 4G connection to roam on. Be prepared to set up a hotspot for yourself and your colleagues if you need to be in touch with your headquarters back home.

4. Carry in comfort

Unless you have to do very heavy emailing during the event, leave your laptop at the hotel. If you need to show materials at your meetings, use a tablet instead. In short, the less weight you take with you to the show, the better.

Also, bring a suitcase with wheels to tote around any materials you need. Your back and shoulders will thank you for it! If you feel the grandpa-style suitcase will cramp your style, I’d advise you to steer clear of a strap bag, else your shoulder will be dead halfway through the first day! Better to use a suitcase or bag with a handle if you can’t use something on wheels.

5. Dress smart, but comfortably so

The event floor is hot – let me stress, very hot! There are thousands of people surrounding you in a closed space, so you’re best off with cooler clothes. Also don’t forget comfy shoes for touring the show. Some classy black sneakers might do the trick, depending on the type of meetings you have.

6. When hunger hits, head for the Central Gardens

The food lines on the event floor are long! The best food and shorter lines are in one place: the Central Gardens. You can access the Central Gardens from any hall by taking the back exit. There, you can get salads, burgers, and other choices, without waiting too long in lines. Plus, if the weather is good, you can even sunbathe a bit before heading back into the electronics jungle.

That’s a wrap! I hope these tips help make your trip to IFA a lot more efficient – and more enjoyable as well! If you’ll be at IFA, drop me a line on Twitter at @claudiomkd. And be sure to follow #IFAstories for a first-hand look at the latest consumer devices and storage trends from IFA.