Posted to Ben Finklea's blog on August 20th, 2010

American Drupalista in Copenhagen: 11 Essential Items for a Better DrupalCon CPH Experience

drupalcon skull logo

With DrupalCon Copenhagen events unofficially launching this weekend, and the conference itself gets kick-started on Monday, most American Drupalistas are packing their bags and hitting the airport this weekend to travel.

I know how exciting it can be for any American Drupalista to embark on a pilgrimmage to the area of the world where it all started for Drupal. But don’t let your excitement cause you to pack in haste and forget essential items. This could lead to a very forgettable experience, so let’s avoid that from happening altogether.

Before you hail a taxi to the airport, or get into the horrendous security line at the airport, make sure you have these 11 essential items to ensure for a better DrupalCon Copenhagen experience.

1. International Credentials

Don’t forget your passports, plane tickets, green cards, (limo) driver’s licenses, 400 pieces of flair – whatever documentation you need to get through customs, get checked into your hotel room and not get deported before the shebang is over.

things to take to drupalcon

I know this is an easy one, that’s why I started off with it. I guarantee that you will not enjoy your experience at DrupalCon CPH if you cannot make it there. Don’t be that guy, or girl. Quadruple-check your pocket or purse before walking into the airport (because buying replacement international plane tickets are expensive).

2. Knowledge of the City

With a population of ~1.9 million people, Copenhagen isn’t what you would consider a ‘village’. So getting around, whether its using the metro or bus system, may require a short study “sesh”. Here is quick screenshot of the metropolitan.

get the lay of the land

I know what you are going to say: “but Ben, I’ve got my iPhone...” From what my investigatory team has gathered, there are fewer wifi hot spots than one would desire. Don’t get stuck in a strange, Dutch-written, metro station without any reception bars if you don’t know your way around. As a former client of ours would say: “It’s just common sense.”

3. Power Adapter

Taking your computer? Be sure to purchase and pack a power adapter for European outlets. Electrical outlets in Denmark use a two-prong plug typical for continental Europe.

take your european power adapter

There may be a chance though, that you could run into an outlet that is a little deeper than European standard. Look for plug types C, F, or K, for they have the correct size for two round prongs.

4. International Phone Card

Need to make a call back to the states? You may want to avoid using your smart phone. I believe that AT&T will charge you $1.29/minute for that late night ‘i miss you’ call to the significant other or kids. If you want to make phone calls back to the U.S. for business or pleasure, consider buying an international phone card.

mobile phone cards

These calling cards shouldn’t be too hard to find either in the airport, online, or at any prominent store – i.e. Best Buy, Walmart, Sam’s Club. Just be sure that you aren’t coming back to a horrendous phone bill that either your spouse or your boss crumples up ferociously and throws at you in a fit of phone bill rage.

5. Sleeping Aide

Now I’m not suggesting you start popping pills like Amy Winehouse, but depending upon where you are coming from in the states, your jet lag could potentially become a huge party foul once the conference gets going.

be conscious of your jet lag

If you have the ability to take a sleeping aide on your long plane flight over or when you get checked into your hotel room, you could be getting up at sunrise with the locals in no time.

6. Swag

Swag is like conference currency, and DrupalCons are famously known for all the “pimplicious” stuff available for the taking by its attendees. It is very common to see peeps in the Drupal community generously decorating their MacBooks with stickers of the infinite Drupal logo variations.

Drupal swag is the bomb

You don’t have to commit copyright infringement and creatively merge the Drupal logo with your own idea to get your swag taken by slews of Drupalistas. If you and your company make a good impression on someone, make a solid business connection, or just need to spread some good cheer throughout the community, good looking swag could win valuable space in hundreds of suitcases come next Sunday.

7. A Sacrificial Offering for “Morten the King of Denmark”

There is a member of the Drupal community named Morten Nielsen, but most people know him as “Morten the King of Denmark.” He is from (surprise!) Copenhagen, Denmark and is very active as user: In fact, he is on the planning committee and is playing host to all of us Drupalistas who are invading his town for the week. You may recognize some of his recent work:

drupalcon copenhagen logo

That’s right. He is also the man responsible for all the kick-ass DrupalCon CPH logo variations coming out a design a minute on all the official Drupal sites. If that isn’t reason enough for a sacrificial offering at DrupalCon CPH, I don’t know what is.

8. Thirst for the Local Brew

The Drupal community has a strong thirst for good brew, so if you are going to fit in some “networking” time on this trip, bring your thirst for the local brew. (You're in Europe, for the love of Pete, go check out a pub!) In fact, it may not be a bad idea to do your research on pubs in and around your hotel as well.

copenhagen brew pubs

The pub in the photo above is called: Visit Copenhagen Beer Guide and Copenhagen Pub Guide. I believe these two sites may be all you need to quench your thirst.

9. Your Appetite for Scandinavian Cooking

From August 20th - 29th, the Danish capital hosts the 4th Annual Copenhagen Cooking Festival with gourmet restaurants, family activities, a cooking school and wine tastings. This is the biggest food festival in Scandinavia and a tribute to the Nordic kitchen. You will experience food traditions that date back centuries with a special focus placed on excellent local dishes.

The city will be alive with activities from street kitchen ‘Taste the World’ pop-ups and children cooking courses to a Crayfish Party boat trip to celebrate Sweden’s crawfish season. Hurry, because it seems events are selling out fast. You can learn more about the festival at Be sure to brush up on your Dutch before you click-through.

9. Anti-Bacterial Sanitizer

I continue to keep this item on my DrupalCon lists because of a swift and merciless flu outbreak at DrupalCon DC 2009. Our educated guess as to a contributing factor of this outbreak was the amount of hands being shaken on the first few days.

There is no better way to spoil a trip than to spend the good part of next week holed up in your hotel room. Sure you can follow the Twitter feed and read live blogging sites, but in the end you will just end up crying yourself to sleep on your huge pillow. So I’ve heard.

10. Jacket/Umbrella/Inflator Raft

Do you know what the heat index in Austin is today? Near 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Yes, that is blazing hot and absolutely ridiculous. Your hometown may not be in the same heat wave, but when you get to Copenhagen, are you prepared for the weather?

As you can see, according to, it is going to be in the Mid 60’s with light rain or few showers all week long. So go unpack your cargo shorts, faded Weird Al Yankovich t-shirt, and put in a water-proof jacket, some jeans, and “tenny” shoes for those wet sidewalks.

11. Drupal the Card Game Skills

Better bring your “Drupal the Card Game” skills! There is a Drupal the Card Game Tournament being played in Copenhagen this year so it may be smart to bring your deck and get some extra practice in. You could prove your Drupal ninja skills and become the first Drupal the Card Game master ever!

Thank You For Reading!

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If you are at DrupalCon Copenhagen this coming week and you see me, please say hello and let me know if you enjoyed the post and if it helped you prepare for a better experience.