Are you ready for convention? The saying, “A stitch in time saves nine” couldn’t be truer when it comes to preparing for your weekend. There is simply so much going on that if you aren’t careful you will blow the family budget, miss important presentations that you needed to hear, or find yourself lost in a sea of other confused moms.
Take it from me, with a little pre-planning you will feel less overwhelmed once you arrive at the conference.
Before you go:
- Go through your convention program to become familiar with the following:
- Speaker workshop & topics
- Highlight your favorites
- Parking location and cost
- Registration location
- Book drop
- Convention layout
- Children and Teens registration
- Opening and closing times
- Make a budget. Get an idea of how much curricula costs online before you visit vendors.
Making your packing list:
- Plan to stay put. Pack so that you can relax and enjoy the convention once you arrive. Sometimes you’ll have to come and go from the hotel, but you will usually have to park quite a distance from the hotel once the convention starts.
- Don’t forget your hotel etiquette! Tip the bellman, or anyone who provides extra service. These employees are paid at a lower hourly wage as their employer factors a “tip wage” into their earning. Don’t forget they’re trying to provide for their families too. A good rule of thumb is $1 per suitcase to the bell stand when they deliver or picks up your bags. The general rule on thumb for housekeeping is $3-10 per day. This range depends on the quality of your hotel, how many people are staying in the room and how much mess they have to clean up. It is also really helps the room attendant if your stuff isn’t spread all over the room. It is best if you place everything back in the suitcase or in the drawer before you leave the room each day. This also prevents damage and loss to your possessions.
- Don’t forget your smart phone! Even if you’re by yourself, you’ll see people you know and there WILL be photo opportunities for you. If you’re with your spouse or your kids you want to have some photos for your scrap-book!
- If you don’t already have a rolling cart, you’ll probably want to budget for one.
- Go through the convention schedule in advance—highlight the lectures you want to attend and the vendors you want to visit. Your plans will probably change, but if you don’t plan ahead, you’ll be spinning your wheels the entire time.
- Traveling with your children? Bring books, snacks and quiet games for them to play. This will keep them quiet so others aren’t disrupted.
- Plan for emergencies! There is usually place to purchase such needs at convenience store, but you will pay a LOT more than you will at home. Pack cough medicine, prescriptions, cold meds, pain killers…even a thermometer and small first aid kit! Bring more diapers and wipes than you think you’ll need. It even helps to have a few of those small plastic grocery bags as the trashcans in the room are VERY small for a family.
- Food- You will want to pack snacks to munch on. For most people snack foods are the most important as you can really rack up the money buying water/soda and snack food items.
After all the planning, it’s time to enjoy!
You might not realize it this year, but you are creating new memories for you and your family with every experience you have.