Oh, how I love this time of year! Despite the fact that I am busier than I’ve been in a long time, I’m so excited to be making my way to Blog World Expo in less than two weeks. (I’m speaking this year, feeling honored as all get out as a soon to be 3-year veteran of the event.)
So I know that many of you may be finding this your first year at #BWE10, or maybe even your first conference ever. I love the fact that so many people go to these things each year who are “new” to them. It’s fantastic! So I thought I’d share my personal plan and do a little ‘net roundup of tips and tricks posted by others as well.
Here’s my personal prep list (your mileage will certainly vary):
- Get all sites/blogs up to par.
- Finish up some lingering projects so I don’t have to explain to customers why I won’t be finishing them up until after mid-month.
- Get more excited than I already am, if that’s even possible.
- Finish working on my super secret special projects I’m bringing with me to share with friends.
- Schedule blog posts for while I’m away. (This one’s a big maybe, and admittedly at the bottom of my list.)
- Schedule out additional work and notify clients that I’ll be away.
- Finish my SCHED* on the BWE site so people know where to find me.
- Tighten up outlines for session at BWE. Connect with panel members to keep us all on the same page.
- Make lists. I love lists. Lists of what I’m going to pack, lists of appointments and meetings, lists of things needing discussion during said appointments and meetings, lists of whose numbers I need before I go… lists!
- Confirm transportation and reservations.
- Keep getting excited!
- … more I’ll think about I’m sure.
I really love this event, if you can’t tell. I have so many awesome friends I’m going to get to see again for the first time in a year, and so many work-related things happening at BWE that just inspire and motivate the hell out of me.
So, the packing. Yes, I know that two weeks is a wee-bit early to actually pack, but here are some items I’m packing (and why you should too) simply because I freaking love making lists.
- Flip video camera & digital camera with batteries, cords, and extra memory cards. You will want to carry one or both of these with you at all times, I guarantee it. I pack all of this in my carry-on.
- Laptop, notebooks, pens, folders, biz cards. Believe it or not, I stopped taking my laptop with me to the event after the first day last year. The first year I didn’t even bring one. It’s heavy and difficult to lug around sometimes, and the Las Vegas Convention Center (where BWE had been held previously) was notorious for not having anywhere to plug in and recharge. If Mandalay Bay Convention Center does have ample outlets, I may change my mind this year and bring it with me, but otherwise it’s staying in the room.) All of this too goes on the plane with me.
- Toiletries in 3.4 oz. bottles, makeup, all the girly stuff. Lots of photos get taken at these things and a girl’s gotta look her best! The 3.4 oz. bottle rule still applies for carry-ons and I tend to pack them that way in the suitcase anyway, just in case. I only carry-on a small bottle of contact lens solution and pack a larger one in my checked bag. Basic toiletries go on the plane with me while the bigger items and stuff I could get by on if my luggage were delayed goes in the suitcase.
- Two pairs of jeans, two pairs of dress pants, two dresses (one casual, one a little dressier). The conference itself is pretty casual. If you’re more comfortable in jeans and a nice shirt, go that way. There are parties and networking events after hours, and that’s when dresses are suitable for women. Guys, bring nice pants and a dress shirt for these, maybe a blazer. On the day that I’m speaking, I’m more likely to wear the casual dress, and use the cocktail dress for one of the special night events. The rest of the time, you’ll totally find me relaxed and comfy in denim or dress pants.
- A multitude of shirts (as many as I can fit) because I’m one of those women who doesn’t know what she wants to wear until she’s getting dressed. Some of these will be very casual, others will be a bit nicer. I seriously can’t even offer advice on these other than to say that while it’s hot outside, most of your time is spent indoors where there’s hefty air conditioning. I bring at least one shirt on the plane with me in my carry-on, the rest goes in the case.
- One pair dressy shoes, one pair sneakers, one pair casual shoes, one pair sandals/flips. I know, seems bulky as hell, doesn’t it? Trust me, your feet will thank you.
- Gifts and special items. I always bring something with me to give to friends I plan to hang out with. I dunno, it’s just nice to see them surprised and to give them something they can take home to remember the trip. This year I’ve gone a bit overboard, but I’m so excited to be bringing this stuff with me. One year I brought some cute amigurumi crocheted toys I made to Darren for his kids, and I was putting the finishing touches on them while I was on the plane!
Of course there are the basics like undergarments, a bathing suit (we ARE at Mandalay Bay this year, afterall), cellphone and charger, etc. I also recommend a light sweater (VERY light sweater) and/or jacket.
Alternatively, you can watch the video below of this guy (Joel Bauer) do his best unintentional impression of Patrick Bateman from American Psycho and pack like he does. *eyeroll* (Yes, this is the same guy who brought us “Your Business Card Is Crap“.) For what it’s worth, if you admire this guy even the slightest bit, you are no longer allowed to speak to me or even so much as glance in my general direction. And if you can get through the whole video with the sound on and not wanting to put your fist through your computer screen, you deserve an award.
Other posts that offer great advice:
- 9 Ways to Rock Blog world Expo – Chris Brogan
- 15 Tips for Getting the Most out of Blog World Expo – Darren Rowse
- BlogWorld Expo Networking: Fun-Filled or Fearsome? – Annabel Candy
- Getting Ready for Your First Blog World Expo – Kristi Hines
- Avoiding Event Burnout – Allison Boyer (BlogWorld)
- Introverted Networking: Party Crashing, Group Subversion, Social Survival Skills and TALKING TO GIRLS – Jeremy Wright
- How a Geek Gets Organized for BlogWorld Expo – Michele McGraw