There are many details to attend to when heading to a conference. Sometimes we overlook things we wish we had thought of prior. Plan in advance with these travel tips so the only thing you’ll need to worry about is enjoying yourself, learning something new and networking.

1. Print out a checklist

It never hurts to use a travel packing checklist to be very thorough when packing. You don’t want to forget something important before you leave and potentially spend time and money buying it again when you’re at the conference. You could miss seeing your favorite speaker or an opportunity to meet potential clients.

2. Sneak in work if you must

If you have to get work done while traveling, plot out what is manageable to accomplish while in transit. Maybe you type up a report, send your invoices, sketch a design or just devote the time to cleaning out your emailConsider taking a photos of important papers or scan them using an app like Genius Scan. This way you can quickly reference something digitally without having to lug too much stuff or risk losing anything.

3. Outline your day

Plot out sessions you’d like to attend in advance. This way you won’t have to scramble looking for what to do the day of the conference and potentially miss something you really wanted to see. You can plan your schedule in advance and plan other activities around those times. 

4. Don’t forget to eat

If conference sessions start early in the morning or  allow little time to grab a quick bite in between meals, bring some healthy snacks with you.  I almost always stash some granola bars, nuts or pieces of fruit with me to ensure I don’t get too hungry in between meals. I can be at my best and not feel sluggish until I am able to sit down and have a full meal. Also, try to pick out places to eat that will be close by to where you will be at that time. You can make sure that you fuel up in between sessions.

5. Make room for swag

I never realized how many great freebies can be given out at conferences. It’s hard to know how much space you’ll need in your suitcase though. Consider packing lightly, but bring an extra tote. Choose a few outfits that you can mix and match so you don’t have to take too many. Also, limit the amount of shoes you bring since they take up prime real estate in a suitcase. Bring a pair of versatile shoes that can be worn with most outfits and then maybe stash some flip flops or sandals in the outer pockets of your suitcase. Then you can squeeze in some free t-shirts, books, mugs or any other free gifts to bring back home as “conference souvenirs”.

6. Look into your transportation options in advance

Scout out how to get around depending on where you are headed. Don’t assume the same type of transportation in your area  is readily available in another area. You might need to rent a car, take a shuttle, grab a subway or another form of transit to arrive to your destination or get around while you are there. Find out in advance what your options are and what is safest for night time. 

Though the company has been dropped from certain areas, avid traveler and writer at SophisticatedSpender.com Crystal Hammond has never had a problem. She says, “I love using Uber. Whether you’re headed to an airport, conference, nightclub, restaurant, you get rock star status with front door service. It comes in handy so you don’t have to walk in uncomfortable shoes, potentially get sweaty while walking and you don’t have to scout out or pay for parking.” She also adds that if you ever feel nervous, you can now share your location within the Uber app so that others know exactly where you are during your entire ride. 

The Bottom Line

There’s more to planning a trip to a conference than just buying a ticket, getting there and packing a suitcase. Being equipped with the ideas mentioned will help you be at your best and allow you to maximize your time while you’re there.

 

Karen is a Nationally Syndicated Personal Finance Writer who sharpens her skills at US News Money. You can also find her placing clients on podcasts and reading about home office organization, productivity and habits.

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