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2012 July 23 - 12:00 am

2012-13 MEETING PLANNER: Travel Tips

Travel Tips that will make your conferences bearable:

  • Get Two Beds at Your Hotel
    Always get two beds in the hotel where you’re staying. An extra bed is like having a huge extra table in your hotel room. Always do this if you’re staying by yourself. This tip works because few people attending conferences want two beds, so rooms with two beds are readily available. An extra bed provides extra space to put all the stuff you collected at the conference and also a place to lay out your clothes.

  • Take Some Food
    It’s always a good idea to pack some food items. You can always get room service, but to get some chicken nuggets and a Coke will cost you $40. Packing protein shakes or protein bars usually works, since they are very filling and nutritious. You might not want a full meal, but just something in your stomach.

  • Ask for a Fridge
    At your hotel, request a refrigerator. It can save lots of money, since hotels will charge $5 for a soda from the mini-bar. Here’s a trick that will help get a refrigerator for free: tell the hotel you need it for your diabetic medicine or your wife’s breast milk. If your hotel doesn’t have refrigerators, they can usually go to another property and get you one.

  • Stay at the Conference Hotel
    Resist the temptation to try to save money by staying somewhere other than the conference host hotel. Another hotel might look cheaper, but if you’re spending $20 to $30 on a cab each way, costs add up fast. Plus, it’s inconvenient to get up earlier to get to the conference and make time to travel to the conference. There’s much to be said about just waking up and going down to the conference.

  • Bring Along a Power Strip
    If you happen to be sharing a room with one or more colleagues, pack a surge protector or basic power strip. That will avoid the argument right before bedtime on whose cell phone, laptop or mobile device needs to be charged more. The power plug on the base of the lamp on the desk just won’t cut it.

  • Call Your Room Number
    Once you get your room number and you get your card key, call your room number from your cell phone. Even if it’s just a three-digit number, you’ll have it your call log. This really helps if you can’t remember your room number. Just take out your phone, look through your call log and see what room you’re in.

  • Make Sure To Hydrate
    Conferences usually involve receptions. Receptions usually involve drinking. If you are drinking, also drink water. Every time you order a drink, also order a water. Conferences are fun and there is so a lot to learn, so pace yourself, and never drink on an empty stomach. If you’ve had a few drinks, make sure to drink water before going to bed. About 20 ounces of water before retiring works well.

  • Travel Light
    Carry on your baggage if you can. With a reduced need to give your belongings over to the care of others, you are much less likely to lose them to theft, damage, or misrouting. You also eliminate checked baggage fees. You don't have to pay porters and others to carry and store stuff for you. You are more able to take public transportation, rather than limos and taxis. All of which also bring you into more intimate contact with the people and places that you have come to visit.

  • Choose Sessions Ahead Of Time
    Conferences often have simultaneous streams of presentations themed around specific topics. Look at the conference program/schedule and decide which presentations you want to attend. Switching back and forth between streams is perfectly fine. If there is an exhibition, do your homework and set appointment times well ahead of time. This will give you a much better chance of meeting with a senior representative who is prepared.

  • Trains, Planes and Automobiles
    It’s a good idea to arrive at your hotel the evening before a conference begins. This allows a good night’s sleep before the morning the conference begins. It’s tempting to buy a cheap red-eye flight departing late at night and arriving early the next morning a few hours before the conference starts. However, this will mean you’re tired during the conference due to lack of rest.
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