Whether you’re a seasoned pro or this is your first SXSW, proper planning will hugely impact your experience. This is our guide to the top 7 things to have with you for a successful SXSW.


COVID Protocol Items

As we return to an in-person SXSW, Austin continues to navigate the COVID-19 landscape. After conferring with Austin Public Health, SXSW has decided to keep existing guidelines in place for SXSW 2022. All credentialed SXSW participants, including registrants and wristband holders, will be required to provide proof of a completed COVID vaccination series (completed at least 14 days prior to credential pick-up date), or a recent negative, verified rapid antigen or PCR test. Testing intervals are based on risk-guidelines. Travis County is currently at Stage 2, which requires 72 hours tested prior to credential pick-up, and an interval required for re-testing at 7 days. A testing center will be available in Exhibit Hall 2 at the Austin Convention Center, and there will also be pop-up testing sites at SXSW.

Additionally, attendees are also highly encouraged to receive a booster vaccination if eligible. To pick-up and maintain credentials, there will be mandatory masking in all conference rooms, exhibitions and other indoor locations where required by the venue including all Film Festival theaters.

So, what should you make sure to bring?

Proof of vaccination status or acceptable negative COVID test result

Face mask

Hand sanitizer


Small Bag

While not carrying a bag may expedite your experience at bag check to enter some events and venues, you’ll find yourself struggling to carry all of your essentials PLUS the free swag you are sure to accumulate. We highly recommend bringing a small and light backpack or fanny pack to stash all your things for a happier, hands-free experience. Stuff a few snacks in your bag


Leafly Lounge


It may seem obvious, but with so much happening you can easily forget to pack your photo ID and SXSW Badge. It’ll make things exponentially more difficult without them! SXSW is also a great place to connect and network with others, so make sure to bring along business cards, stickers or any other items that include your contact information.


Power Bank + Cable

From tracking your SXSW schedule, trying to connect with friends, calling a ride share or sharing on social, you will often find yourself needing some extra juice for your phone. Outlets are hard to come by at SXSW, so we recommend making sure your phone is fully charged in the morning and packing at least one fully charged portable power bank or battery case along with the cable(s) you need to ensure you stay connected.


SXSW Ashley

Weather Prep

Welcome to Texas – where you can experience all of the seasons in one week of SXSW *hold my beer.* A small umbrella or poncho will be a lifesaver if it rains (especially if you’re waiting outside in a long line), and a compact/lightweight jacket comes in handy during chilly evenings. The Texas sun is also brutal, so we suggest bringing sunscreen and/or a hat. Have you ever experienced Cedar Fever? Well, you’re in for a “treat” for this seasonal allergy that knocks a punch. Prepare your body with Flonase this week and pack some extra allergy medication.


SXSW 2019

The Essentials

Put together a little self-care kit complete with pain reliever, ear plugs, TUMS, wet naps and a water bottle, and you’ll thank yourself later. Also be sure to bring cash to tip the bar staff at any of the fun SX parties you’re attending.


SXSW 2019

Photo by Diego-Donamaria

Hard Copy of Your Schedule

That’s right – we’re going old school. Wi-Fi and a good cell signal can be spotty, so we recommend organizing and printing out your own schedule in advance to make sure you don’t miss out on your priority items.