We are excited to welcome over 330 international attendees to Social Media Marketing World from 55 different countries, with the largest groups coming from Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Switzerland, Netherlands and Singapore,
IMPORTANT: INTERNATIONAL TRAVELERS, E-PASSPORTS: The United States recently changed the rules on using the Visa Waiver Program. Scroll down to the Visa and Passports section for details.
To make your experience as great as possible, we’ve created this resource page to help you prepare and maximize your time in San Diego. These ideas and resources come straight from other international attendees at our previous conferences.
When you’re traveling around the world to a conference, it’s helpful to know someone when you arrive. Previous attendees encourage the use of the SMMW networking groups on Facebook, LinkedIn and Slack (sign-up here) to find people in advance you can meet upon arrival, or perhaps even meet in your home country before you travel. Some attendees have even arranged to travel together.
Networking Resource Page
We encourage you to take advantage of all the networking resources we have as you prepare for your trip. The Networking Resource page highlights all our groups, tools, videos and resources that can help you make the most of your time in San Diego.
One opportunity you shouldn’t overlook are the Dinner meet-ups. This is a chance to eat with 8-10 fellow attendees during one of the evening meals when the conference doesn’t provide food (dinner is served on Sunday night at the USS Midway). Go to this Google Spreadsheet, select the meal you’re interested in, and then find a table you’d like to join. It works well if you join with 1-2 people you already know.
Social Media Marketing World kicks off on Sunday, April 17, 2016 (afternoon workshops begin at 1pm) and ends the evening of Tuesday, April 19 at 5:30pm (schedule). Many attendees plan to stay a few days extra and make a vacation out of their stay.
Be sure you are aware of the current currency conversion. Here is a site to help you plan.
You can exchange currency or purchase traveler’s insurance at San Diego International Airport.
Foreign currency exchange and travelers’ insurance services are available daily at two locations in Terminal 2: in the Baggage Claim area (5am-6pm) and in the gate areas (5am-1pm, 4:30pm-7:30pm). You can reach the Baggage Claim location at (619) 260-1921, or the location in the gate areas at (619) 200-3530 for more information.
Using your Mobile Phone and Internet
If you want to use your mobile phone abroad, but don’t want the roaming charges, then an effective way to make savings is by buying a local pre-paid Sim-card, or a pre-paid Global Sim-card. Global Sim-cards allow you to roam across a number of different countries, on different networks, with a single Sim-card. Check out this site to see what kind of SIM card you need. Here are some places to purchase a SIM card before you arrive:
It’s important that you check before you leave your country whether or not your mobile device is locked to a particular network and if so, make arrangements for it to be unlocked so that you are able to activate an international pre-paid SIM once you get here, as usually you need to have your phone unlocked prior to leaving your home country.
Connecting to the Internet
All of the hotels and the San Diego Convention Center will have WI-Fi available. To avoid all international charges you can also use some free apps to remain in touch with family and colleagues your devices. The following is a list to help you.
- Skype – You can use this to make calls and receive messages. You can purchase additional minutes to use to make calls.
- Whatsapp – Use to send and receive mobile device messages for free (text, video, and pictures)
Wifi Help Desk
Smart City, our WiFi provider, will man a help desk next to the Information Desk throughout the conference. If you can’t find them, ask one of the “white shirt” staff members.
Reminder – Bring a power adapter and/or power board to charge all your devices.
If you are traveling internationally (including Canada and Mexico), you must present a valid machine-readable passport at the U.S. port of entry to enter the U.S. Please plan in advance to make this process as smooth as possible.
You should check your passport expiration date to ensure you have ample time to get the required documents you need. Your passport must be valid for 6 months from your day of arrival. For more details on travel into the United States, please click here.
Acquiring Visas: If you’re required to obtain a visa, this is the site.
Visa Waiver Program:
IMPORTANT NOTICE TO INTERNATIONAL TRAVELERS WHO ARE PLANNING TO TRAVEL USING THE VWP!
As of April 1, 2016, you must have an e-passport to use the Visa Waiver Program. An e-Passport is an enhanced secure passport with an embedded electronic chip. You can readily identify an e-Passport, because it has a unique international symbol on the cover.
ESTA is an automated system that determines the eligibility of visitors to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). Authorization via ESTA does not determine whether a traveler is admissible to the United States. U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers determine admissibility upon travelers’ arrival. The ESTA application collects biographic information and answers to VWP eligibility questions. ESTA applications may be submitted at any time prior to travel, though it is recommended that travelers apply as soon as they begin preparing travel plans or prior to purchasing airline tickets.
Link to More info: http://www.cbp.gov/travel/international-visitors/esta
How to APPLY FOR A NEW ESTA
All eligible international travelers who wish to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program must apply for authorization.
While CBP recommends that you apply at least 72 hours before travel, you may apply anytime prior to boarding. In most cases, a response is received within seconds of submitting an application.
Who You Are:
- You are a citizen or eligible national of a Visa Waiver Program country.
- You are currently not in possession of a visitor’s visa.
- Your travel is for 90 days or less.
- You plan to travel to the United States for business or pleasure.
- You want to apply for a new authorization for one person or a group of applications for two or more persons.
What You Need:
- Valid passport from a Visa Waiver Program country.
- Valid credit card (MasterCard, VISA, American Express, and Discover (JCB, Diners Club)) to pay US $14 per application.
- Your contact information.
- Your most recent employment information, if applicable.
- Link to Apply: https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/esta.html
Sales Tax: The United States add sales tax (typically 8%) to all purchases. Hotels also charge an additional tourism tax of 10.5%.
Tipping Guidelines: This chart shows standards for tipping in America for a variety of common services.
You can find other travel information on the SMMW travel details page.
Articles for International Conference Travelers
Here is a list of articles that can help you prep for your trip to San Diego
- 13 Must-Have Items to Pack for a Social Media Conference
- Smart Traveller Advice for the United States
- 20 Tips Before Traveling Internationally
- Travel Tips from San Diego International Airport
- FAQs from San Diego International Airport