First Time travel for Conference- Best Practices?



  • Next week is the first time I will be traveling for a work conference(and solo for that matter) , What is best practice for traveling to conferences?
    what items do you take on your carry-on? aside from the basic toiletries of course.
    What are some of your suggestions?



  • Definitely take a change of clothes in your carry on in case they lose your checked bag. Also be sure to load up your device (local offline storage) with music/movies/TV so you don't have to buy wifi on the plane.



  • If you're an introvert expect to be exhausted at the end of the day, like unusually so. When I went to SpiceWorld '14 it was my first IT conference, and by the time things wrapped up at the end of the day (usually 3-4) I was wiped out. I just went back to my hotel and crashed.

    Don't bring a heavy laptop if you can avoid it. Even if you have to borrow something it is worth reducing your carrying around weight.

    Contrary to advice others might give, I prefer not to drink much in the way of alcohol when I'm out of town. There are too many opportunities to do something you really regret when you don't have your normal routines and environments. You might even get locked in a parking garage (funny story that happened to @scottalanmiller if you're curious).

    Don't count on getting anything done/read/fixed while you're there. It won't happen, or if you try it, it won't go well (generally speaking). Emergencies are another matter, but don't count on the above happening, or promise anyone that they will.



  • Conference center wifi is frequently terrible. Plan according. Power is hard to come by. Plan accordingly.



  • @kelly said in First Time travel for Conference- Best Practices?:

    If you're an introvert expect to be exhausted at the end of the day, like unusually so. When I went to SpiceWorld '14 it was my first IT conference, and by the time things wrapped up at the end of the day (usually 3-4) I was wiped out. I just went back to my hotel and crashed.

    SW is way more social than most conferences. If you go to VeeamON, for example and don't feel like meeting people, you won't. You'll be "around people" but relatively alone. SW is a bit unique.



  • @kelly said in First Time travel for Conference- Best Practices?:

    If you're an introvert expect to be exhausted at the end of the day, like unusually so. When I went to SpiceWorld '14 it was my first IT conference, and by the time things wrapped up at the end of the day (usually 3-4) I was wiped out. I just went back to my hotel and crashed.

    SW was like this both times I went barely could stay awake during the after parties.



  • If you don't have a company credit card for your hotel stay, call ahead and ask for a 3rd party authorization form. That way they will have your boss's (or whoever's) credit card on file. And keep a copy of that form with you. I was almost homeless in San Francisco for a couple of days because of that one.

    Going to and from the airport, I prefer airport shuttling, second would be Uber/Lyft.



  • @nerdydad said in First Time travel for Conference- Best Practices?:

    If you don't have a company credit card for your hotel stay, call ahead and ask for a 3rd party authorization form. That way they will have your boss's (or whoever's) credit card on file. And keep a copy of that form with you. I was almost homeless in San Francisco for a couple of days because of that one.

    Going to and from the airport, I prefer airport shuttling, second would be Uber/Lyft.

    company paid for the hotel already, I will be using a personal card and tracking everything; a filing an expense report.



  • @wrcombs Boss used his card both times and both times, the hotel wanted the card physically. Didn't matter if you already reserved the rooms ahead of time. It was the 3rd Party form that saved my hide both times.



  • @nerdydad said in First Time travel for Conference- Best Practices?:

    @wrcombs Boss used his card both times and both times, the hotel wanted the card physically. Didn't matter if you already reserved the rooms ahead of time. It was the 3rd Party form that saved my hide both times.

    Well I should probably be getting on that..
    I dont want there to be any issues.



  • @nerdydad said in First Time travel for Conference- Best Practices?:

    @wrcombs Boss used his card both times and both times, the hotel wanted the card physically. Didn't matter if you already reserved the rooms ahead of time. It was the 3rd Party form that saved my hide both times.

    Good Call! i Just called the hotel and explained the situation, They are sending me a form right now to get filled out.



  • @nerdydad said in First Time travel for Conference- Best Practices?:

    @wrcombs Boss used his card both times and both times, the hotel wanted the card physically. Didn't matter if you already reserved the rooms ahead of time. It was the 3rd Party form that saved my hide both times.

    Thats how every hotel works.



  • Bring a bunch of business cards. If you collect them from people, write on the back why you might contact them again. For example if you talk to them and find out they own a MSP as well, you write that on the back, so when you get back you don't contact them thinking they were the VoIP guy you talked to. It's cool to meet colleagues in other parts of the country where you don't want to post stuff publicly, but since you're not competing, you can share numbers with them. It's nice to be able to hand them a card.

    Set your out of office reply and someone else cover your phones. It sucks to have to talk time out of a conference to take a call or pound out an email. Your time there is so limited, you need to make the most of it.

    Travel light and make sure you have room for swag on the way back.


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