Conference Survival Guide

Conferences, even when fun, are often hard.

They are emotionally and physically draining, especially if you don’t live in that city. You want to go to everything, see everyone, make new contacts, learn new things, eat good food, network with industry pros, buy some cool new toys, go to the socials, the list goes on!

Every time I’ve gone to a conference (except the last one), I’ve left it feeling burnt out, stressed, and cranky – OR I’ll crash partway through and miss out on a lot.

I’ve compiled a quick “conference survival guide” with info on what I need to get through a conference feeling better and happier than I used to, which I hope will be helpful for others as well! There’s also another guide by Mary Q. Confesses, which focuses mostly on areas I have not gone into much detail on.

  1. Stay Hydrated, Fed, and Medicated
    Bring a refillable water bottle with you (make sure it’s empty if you’re going through airport security)! You’ll be surprised by how thirsty you get, especially if you’re talking a lot or feeling extra-nervous.

    Make sure to keep feeding yourself! There will be grocery stores that you can visit if you want to carry some granola bars and other snacks with you. You can get 20% off food at the hotel by showing your name badge/mentioning you’re with the Summit, and get $5 off on food at the hotel (a day, I think) by participating in their Make a Green Choice Program. There will also be some food, drinks, and coffee available in the blogger lounge at all times, for free.

    Do you have medication that you take daily, weekly, occasionally, or just in case? Make sure you have enough for the trip! Pack them in containers with the prescription label to save yourself any potential hassle if you’re flying, and don’t forget the medications that you basically never need, especially if you’re traveling out of country! I technically have asthma and allergies, but they are so mild that half the time I travel I don’t take my inhaler. On average I need my inhaler once a year, 100% of those times is when I’m away from home.

  2. Stay Charged
    A portable charger (left) with multiple devices plugged into it (right). From top to bottom, the devices are a Samsung S5 Neo phone, the PalmPower Recharge vibrator, and the Vi-Do BAM bullet vibratorHaving access to the internet is very important for us bloggers! During conferences, our electronics go a long time between access to an outlet to recharge. There’s also a good chance that you’ll be showing off your vibrators to folks randomly throughout the conference. Keep everything topped up with a portable USB charger so that you don’t lose power partway through! My personal preference is to get a portable battery pack that has multiple USB slots – you won’t have to bring as many wall adapters with you, you can charge things while away from your room, and you can charge your phone, Tango (or, in my case, PalmPower Recharge), and your tablet all at the same time.

  3. Stay Comfortable
    Conferences are notorious for being either WAY too hot or (most often) WAY too cold. Do yourself a favour and don’t pack exclusively for the weather outside! Last SFS I made the mistake of dressing for the hot, humid summer weather…and then left the hotel twice. I was freezing the whole time. Toss a sweater or two and a pair of jeans into your suitcase and you’ll be much happier.

    If you also bring an empty purse or canvas bag (or take the one that will probably be given to you when you check in, assuming this year’s items are similar to last’s), you can easily carry around your water bottle, some granola bars, your phone and charger, cash, your room key, and whatever else you may need. Obviously, this is not accessible for everyone based on their abilities, but consider what you may be able to carry instead.

  4. Stay Rested
    At conferences, there’s always the pressure of Doing All the Things – staying to the end of the nighttime socials, getting up bright and early for the first course, go go go go go! The harder you push, the more likely you are to crash mid-conference, making yourself sick and miserable. Take a break, take a nap, go for a swim, say “no” to events and instead, opt to get a few extra hours of sleep.

  5. Leave Room in Your Bags
    I always try to travel without a checked bag when I’m flying (just to be on the safe side….), but either way, make sure to leave some room in your luggage for the items that you will inevitably end up getting at the conference. Even if you don’t have the money to buy anything, you’ll end up bringing home more than you left with!

Need help or support at any point during the conference? Tweet or DM me @taylorjmace or @feistyfoxfilms or approach me if you see me in the halls. I’d love to help, if I can! Hopefully everyone has a safe and happy #SFS17!

Curious what you can do to help make the space more welcoming to new folks? You’re in luck because I wrote about that, too!


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