Forget the compass, but never the smart phone.
When you erect your tent, mark it with a flag. When the elephants (the assistance trucks) arrive, you can spend hours looking for your tent.
Learn how to take down your tent quickly to avoid being left behind the next day.
Identify the best place to spend the night. My advice? Set up your tent away from the generators of trucks and racing cars...those guys usually work late into the night.
The password for entering the bivouac: Bracelet.
Take a shower as soon as you arrive at the bivoauc. Showers are still clean and you're less likely to run out of water.
Get an internet modem with a local operator. The internet package in the press room costs $2,250 per 2,000 MB, or $22,500 for unlimited internet.
Have a credit card, because you need to pay for everything in advance to be part of the Dakar Rally. Getting a credential as a journalist that gives you access to the bivoauc costs $3,600, plus another $3,300 for a seat in a media car. If you travel in a media plane, the price goes up to almost $12,000.