Conference Travel: 7 Tips

A conferencing we will go…. Travelling to conferences is a different animal from vacations, and a few little tricks up your sleeve can make all the difference!

It’s been a little crazy these past couple weeks!  I hit two conferences in just over a week (one of which was local).  It was a whirlwind of learning + networking.  Fun?  Oh yeah.  Exhausting?  Oh yeah.  There were a few little random things I learned (or reinforced) along the way, that I thought I would share. 

  1. Bring power + a backup.  I was live blogging and video casting from these two conferences.  That means power is at a premium.  I have a short extension cord that lives in my laptop bag + power cords for all my portable devices.  I charged everything at night, and brought the cables with me just in case.  (Note: I looked into the iGo Charger, but it didn’t make sense for me.  You might feel differently, so check it out HERE.)
  2. A rolling laptop bag (or suitcase) will save your back.  I have a rolling laptop bag with a telescoping handle.  I have to admit it was a little cumbersome to cart around everywhere, but it was better than a migraine and a backache.  (Definitely a buzz killers for socializing + working.)
  3. A short term data plan is your friend. I might be struck down by the wireless companies, but I don’t want a data plan 100% of the time, but there are times I do need one.  So I hooked up my Blackberry to an unlimited plan for the weekend I was gone.  Why?  I had interviews to conduct with people who were traveling from out of the country, so we communicated via Twitter.  It was very convenient, and I could keep on top of all that was going on (without it costing an arm and a leg).  I got home, and a few days later went back to life without a data plan on the Crackberry.  *deep sigh*
  4. Some comfortable earphones ease the pain.  For some reason, I have some smallish ears, so regular earphones just plain hurt after about 30 minutes.  Lucky for me someone recommended the JVC Marshmallow headphones.  They are way cool, as the earpiece is made of memory foam.  They also block a fair amount of airplane noise.  Bonus!
  5. A “capture tool” handy at all times.  You never know when inspiration will strike, no matter where you are.  So, I have a notebook in my bag at all times.  (I happen to have a Moleskine because it is a good sturdy notebook that doesn’t get torn to shreds after weeks/months of use.)  The plane trip home was a great opportunity to do a brain dump, so I grabbed my notebook, put in my headphones and wrote some furious notes!
  6. A clipboard.  My “O Myth” co-host, Krista, is the Clipboard Queen.  I am a fan as well, and carry one to client appointments and when I travel.  It’s a great way to capture notes, keep schedules and other info you need on the go.  Love that!
  7. Pack your sense of humor. My trip to BlogWorldExpo 2008 started with an hour shuttle ride + 1 hour schlepping my luggage around the wrong conference center + some pretty serious hotel issues (hotel’s fault, grrr) that kept my room a distant dream until late into the night.  Good think I packed my sense of humor and my comfy shoes. 😉
What do you bring on your business trips?
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