Post by Blog Manager Robbi Hess
We are fewer than 20 days to the BlogPaws 2015 Conference in Nashville and I have already started packing my suitcase. Henrietta, the Diva Poodle is beside herself because she knows I am going and she is not. As an early packer, I find I pack, then unpack, then re-pack right up until the night before my plane whisks me away!
Why do I do this? I sometimes have this feeling that when I am not home I am traveling to a galaxy far, far away and if I run out of toothpaste or snag my pantyhose that there is no way to replace them. I never seem to remember that wherever I go, there are places to shop. Anyway, it’s who I am and I am all right with that. What does any of this have to do with you, dear reader?
I want to offer my “best packing and conference preparation tips” for any newbies that will be attending BlogPaws and for any veterans who may have forgotten an item or two last time. And, please share with me anything that I may have forgotten on my packing list — there is still time for me to get it into my suitcase!
Here is what will be in my suitcase:
- A sweater or scarf. I am rarely chilled, but when I attend a conference I sometimes find the conference rooms to be a bit on the frigid side. I dress in layers — short sleeve blouse and a lightweight sweater or scarf that I can drape around my shoulders in case the air conditioning is on high.
- I also look at the temperature of the area where I will be traveling so I can decide how to dress for those times when I leave the hotel and do some sightseeing. If you want to see what the weather will be in Nashville, TN when you’re there for the conference, check out the Weather Channel. If it’s going to be rainy I bring shoes that are good for walking in the rain. If the weather is balmy I will bring sandals (oh yes, and get a pedicure!) I also bring shoes for walking to and from conference rooms and of course fancy shoes for the Red Carpet event!
- A lint brush. I live in a home with four cats and a dog that sheds, for what feels like year-round. Henrietta doesn’t shed but everyone else does. If I wear black pants to go anywhere I will pull them on last minute and make a mad dash to the door, hoping that doesn’t stir up the hair, but it inevitably does so I lint brush myself before I get into my car. I always pack a tiny lint brush no matter where I go.
- Consider the conference “dress code” before you pack your bags. I am at a conference right now that was noted as “business casual” so I packed clothes for that, but also can get away with “dressy” jeans and a nice blouse. The same is true for the BlogPaws Conference. It’s business casual and you should dress for your interactions with pets AND interactions with brands and other bloggers with whom you want to connect. While you don’t have to wear a suit or a dress, you do want to make a great first impression when you meet a potential colleague or client. Keep in mind though that the Nose-to-Nose Award Celebration is a Red Carpet event with an actual red carpet and paparazzi snapping photos.
- Bring notebooks, something to write with, your computer and charger and business cards. I pack extra everything when I attend a conference — you know, just in case my pen runs out of ink or I lose a notebook! I am currently in love with stone paper tablet notebooks and that is all I write on. I sometimes take notes on my computer when I attend a session, but it’s rare. I “think” better and take more thoughtful notes when I write longhand. You can purchase business cards on the cheap at places like VistaPrint or you can even design and print them from home. The reason for a business card is it’s a great “leave behind” when you meet someone and gives them an opportunity to have your contact information at hand once you leave the conference. Because BlogPaws is committing to “going green” at the conference we aren’t going to be printing as many conference brochures so I may print one at home or I will rely on the sched.org planner we are providing.
- I always bring snacks to conferences because I either may not make it to a snack break, the conference planners may not offer snacks and I just might not like what they’re serving. To prevent my stomach from growling I bring, from home, snacks that I love that are grab and go.
- A plan. I always bring “a plan” to any conference I attend, whether it’s a one day networking event or a three day, full blown conference. What’s on my plan? Who I want to meet. The sessions I want to attend. The brands I want to interact with. The information I want to glean from speakers or other attendees. What I think I will be blogging about when I get home (as it fits into my editorial calendar or under a particular theme). The perceived ROI (return on investment) I will get from my conference attendance — that could be meeting someone “famous” that I have followed on social media, a blogging colleague I have always wanted to shake hands with, someone that I think might be a great guest interview for my blog, etc. You see where I am going with this, right? While attending a conference is a great way to get out of the office and “play” for a few days, it’s not always an inexpensive endeavor so I need to be able to justify having spent the money and time away from the office and my plan helps me do just that.
There is still time to register for the Conference. You can even use my Discount Code BP15-Robbi-10 to help you save some money on the registration price!