The Metro - Use it. A 7-day pass is only $28 and it's worth every penny. It gains you access to all the subway lines and the buses. It's the most efficient way to travel around the city. And if you aren't sure what line your stop is on or whether you need to go uptown or downtown, don't be afraid to ask. Ask a booth worker or one of the many cops you can find in the stations.
Pack comfortable shoes - This will differ for everyone, but pack the best all-day walking shoes you've got. If they don't match your outfit, who cares! You will be walking a convention center that is a NYC block wide non-stop for three full days. By 5p.m. on Day 3 your feet will be bigger than an overdue pregnant ladies if you don't heed this advice.
Checking In - Take the time to get to the Javits Center early on the first day of exhibits or even the afternoon before. Getting your BEA badge early will save you time. That means you can hit the floor faster.
Business Cards - If you're attending BEA, presumably you are there to make or solidify contacts with people in the industry and to learn a little bit about the inner workings of the publishing industry. Business cards with basic info on them are perfect for quickly handing off info to someone while waiting in a signing line or chatting with someone at a booth. Some of the publishers last year had "fishbowl" giveaways and cards were handy for that as well.
Networking - Don't be afraid to talk to people. Yes, BEA is fast paced but you can get off a few sentences and a business card exchange without taking up too much time. Don't just go up to a booth and ask for a book. Introduce yourself, mention you're a blogger (if you are) and drop a card with them. The same goes for autographing lines. Speak to the author and give them a card. It can't hurt.
Food & Drink - When it comes to eating, the Javits is an expensive place. A bottle of water you'd normally pay $1.69 for is $3.50 there and food is no better. Carry a water bottle you can refill with you on the floor. It will save you tons of cash. Also pack a few snacks in your bag. They may save you life when you forget to eat lunch amidst the BEA chaos.
Schedules & Time Management - Build off of the schedule BEA has made available and set priorities. Use an excel spreadsheet, color coding, or whatever you need to, but map out the signings and panels you want to attend and rank them. If you have three things to do in one hour, designate one that you can skip if you are short on time. It will help you make quick decisions on the spot.
Easy carrying - Not carrying your books at all is the easiest way to take the strain off your back. There is a baggage area where you can check a rolling suitcase, and stop by occasionally throughout the day to drop of your books. If security is your concern, someone stays at the baggage area at all times. I've heard there were instances of books going missing from that area two years ago, but I don't know if someone watched over the bags then. I didn't hear any horror stories from last year. While you'll get plenty of tote bags at BEA, the best advice I can give you is to bring a bookbag or messenger bag to hold your personal belongings, books and all the totes you accumulate. It'll take the stress off individual arms.
Shipping - There is a shipping area at BEA run by FedEx (I believe), but depending on how much you are shipping it can get pricey. Your other option is to hang on to your books and walk the few blocks from the Javits Center to the post office so you can ship your BEA bounty via priority or media mail and save yourself some cash.
Armchair BEA - For those of you who can't attend BEA this year, you can live vicariously through those who are going. Sign up as a participant for Armchair BEA and get updates on all things BEA.
I think that's it for now...
I'm not affiliated with BEA in anyway. I did attend last year and am happy to answer questions if anyone has any. Just leave it in the comments. Otherwise, I'll see you all at BEA!