Before you go...
1. Make a plan of attack
Pour over the schedule and plan our your days: which classes you want to take, what vendors you want to talk to etc. Have a first and second choice for each class in case you're sitting in a class and it's not what you expected. In the next couple of weeks my PSW Planner PDF will be available to hep you plan out your class choices. (Remember, you don't pre-register for conference classes, just go to the ones you want).
2. Give yourself a budget
Chances are you'll see books, DVDs, plug-ins, or photo gear that you'll want to buy, Before you leave, give yourself an "allowance" to spend - or if your boss is paying, get them to agree to a budget.
3. Pack comfortable clothes and shoes
You'll do a lot of walking: to and from the hotel, between classes, around the Expo.... so comfortable shoes are a must! Room temperatures are really tough to control, so bring along a sweater, sweatshirt, hoodie etc just in case. (Yes, it's Florida, but inside there will be A/C)
4. Bring photo gear or not?
Of course if you're taking part in a pre-con photography session, bring whatever you need. If not, I'd still bring some kind of camera, but as to whether you need a tripod, multiple lenses etc is another question. I guess it comes down to how much "stuff" you can carry.
5. Bring a laptop or not?
I always travel with my laptop for email etc, but I wouldn't bring it to class (except for the hands-on pre-con sessions of course). Our conference classes are not really designed to be hands-on, so most people find that they don't end up following along on their laptop. Of course you'll probably want to try out back in your hotel room some of the techniques you've learned!
Once you're there
1. Check the signs for room numbers
Hopefully you planned out your classes, but track down one of the large signs to see what rooms your classes are in. There will also be notice of any last-minute additions or changes. I'd also do a quick walk around to get the lay of the land and see where things are.
2. Pick up some snacks at a local store
Convention food is always expensive, so find a close convenience store and buy yourself some juice, pop and snacks. You'll thank me later for this one. (In Vegas I always go and buy a case of Diet Coke since the Mandalay is a pepsi-only facility)
3. Look for the people in STAFF shirts
The people working at Photoshop World really are our staff, and their goal is to help you make your experience a great one. So don't hesitate ask a staff person for directions, where to find things, class suggestions, the latest gossip etc (okay, not the gossip part)
4. Bring your workbook to class or not?
This is a personal choice: some people lug the workbook to every class while others leave it in their hotel room. You'll find that some instructors make ongoing reference to their class notes while others don't. So again, it's up to you, but if you do end up leaving in your room, tear out some of the class evaluation forms and bring them with you.
5. Bring a laptop to class or not?
See #5 above. In a nutshell, I would advise against it. Sit, watch, observe, take a few extra notes but don't try to follow along on your laptop :)
6. Don't skip the keynote
The Photoshop World keynote is unlike any conference keynote you've ever seen (unless you've been to a Photoshop World before) so you really don't want to miss it!
7. Wear your name tag
The Expo is open to the public for part of the conference, so we'll be closely checking for name tags - you have to have one to get into the classes.
8. Talk to the instructors
Instructors really enjoy chatting with attendees! Having said that, when instructors are rushing off to teach a class or speak at the Expo is probably not the best time to ask a question :) But with a bit of patience you'll find the perfect time to chat or ask your favorite instructor to sign their book.
9. Talk to other attendees
You automatically have something in common with everyone there - Photoshop! I've heard plenty of stories of people making business connections and ongoing friendships that started simply with "so what do you do with Photoshop?"