In two and a half weeks I’ll be getting on a plane and flying to New York City for BlogHer 2010. This will be my fifth time attending the conference! If you’re going, especially if this is your first time, I’d like to share some tips that have helped me make the most of my conference experience. BlogHer vets, please feel free to add your own suggestions in a comment!
TIP #1 - Start drinking extra water NOW, especially if you are flying to the conference. Airplane travel is dehydrating, and the minute you walk into the hotel for the conference, you are going to start talking to people and not stop for hours. That’s also dehydrating! By the time you feel thirsty, your body is already getting dehydrated. So, make sure you are drinking lots of water and other caffeine-free beverages now, drink water while waiting for your plane, grab a bottle in the hotel gift shop to drink in your room, and take advantage of the refillable bottle that PUR will be providing to every conference-goer as well as the water stations in every room.
Photo credit Liz Rizzo
TIP #2 – Wear your most comfortable shoes, no matter what kind they are. Okay, maybe you shouldn’t walk around the conference wearing fuzzy bunny slippers, but by all means, if your most comfortable shoes are tennis shoes, wear those. If you are one of those lucky women who are comfortable in high heels, go for it. The BlogHer site recommends bringing shoes of varying heel heights because wearing the same shoes all day can cause foot pain. And bring some bandaids in a ziploc baggie! If you don’t get blisters, someone around you will
TIP #3 – Bring less clothing than you think you will need. The pants you wear on Thursday will be just fine for Sunday. For Friday and Saturday nights, if you are attending the conference cocktail parties and/or private parties, wear what makes you comfortable. If that means keeping the same capri pants or skirt on and just changing into a fresh top, go for it. Some people will completely change for evening, some won’t. The conference areas will be air-conditioned, but also packed full of people exuding body heat. If you are usually cold, bring a jean jacket, cardigan, shawl, whatever you have. The parties will be HOT. A tank top with a light skirt or cotton capris, a halter dress or a sundress will be perfect. Pack light because you’ll probably want to bring some swag home with you, so your suitcase will be considerably heavier going home.
TIP #4- Take all the swag you want, really. There will be TWO FLOORS of vendors just waiting to give you a sample of their product and not wanting to have to pack it up and take it back to their offices on Sunday. Last year I took home laundry detergent (I drove last year, so no airport restrictions on liquids), toys from Playskool, toys and decks of cards from Hasbro, makeup, perfume, t-shirts, plus all the wonderful items in the official conference swag bag, and so much more. But, here’s my suggestion – sometime around Saturday afternoon, spread everything you got out on the floor of your room and really decide what you want to take home. There will be a station set up through Saturday where you can box up and ship your items home – even if it costs you $25 or $30 out of pocket, that’s cheaper than checking a second suitcase at the airport or paying the “too heavy” luggage fee. Send home as much as you can!
TIP # 5 – Give yourself time to rest. It’s tiring to go-go-go all day, walking, talking, hugging, posing for photos, shaking hands, passing out business cards, taking notes during sessions, and it’s perfectly okay to just stop for a while. If you feel yourself needing a break, take one! If you feel overwhelmed by the crowd, grab your roommates and slip out for a bit. Go up to your room, lay down on the bed (set the alarm first!) and take a catnap. It will be impossible to do absolutely everything while you are there. Believe me, I’ve tried :) Take your laptop into the lobby, update Facebook, check Twitter, call your kids. Whatever you need to do to take care of yourself. A new feature at this year’s BlogHer is the Serenity Suite, where sufferers of anxiety (like me), people who don’t want to be around alcohol, and anyone who just wants a calm place to sit and chat can go. It will be open Friday and Saturday from 10 am to 10 pm except for during the lunch hour.
Photo credit Liz Henry
TIP # 6 – Bring business cards! Hopefully you already knew to do that but if not, don’t worry! Tiny Prints and Vistaprint both do excellent jobs at business cards. You might have to pay a little more to have them shipped to you in time, but you will definitely want a card. It should have your name, your blog name, and some way for people to contact you, whether it’s your Facebook URL, your Twitter username, or your email address. Don’t worry about buying an expensive business card holder, a ziploc baggie is just fine, really. I use a small zippered pouch meant for holding makeup! It’s fun to come home and spread all the cards out and see just how many people you met!
TIP #7 – Be polite to everyone you meet. Every year there is post-BlogHer complaining about how some blogger was rude to some other blogger. I don’t care if you’ve been blogging for 10 years and make a gazillion dollars a year at it, or if you just created your blogspot account and still don’t know what an RSS feed is – you are all still PEOPLE OF THIS EARTH. If you are a “big name” blogger, please be polite to the newcomers. Last year I read a post from a new blogger who introduced herself to an established blogger and had that person reply “I’ve never heard of you” and turn away. That is JUST RUDE. Yes, your time at the conference is limited. Yes, you might be there to network your butt off and try to line up new clients or sponsors or advertisers. But please take a minute to acknowledge other bloggers, ESPECIALLY if they are telling you how much they love your blog! And if you are new and you see a blogger you really admire, don’t just shove yourself into the middle of their conversation! Unless they are being interviewed or are obviously engrossed in a private conversation, it’s okay to go up, wait politely until they are free, and then say “Susie Blogger? I’m Sally Blogger and I love your blog”. You can ask if you can give them your business card but if they say no thank you, please don’t be offended. Some people only take business cards from people they think they will be doing actual business with. It’s not personal.
TIP #8 – If something is happening that you aren’t enjoying, go somewhere else. If you sit down for a session and realize after a few minutes that you aren’t as interested in the topic as you thought you would be, it’s okay to quietly get up and leave the room. Chances are there is someone standing in the back of the room who will be glad to take your seat! Keep in mind that the main sessions are being recorded, so try not to walk directly in front of the camera if you can.
TIP #9 – Take advantage of meals, snacks, and appetizers. Being on your feet from 8 am to midnight is exhausting. Keep yourself fueled throughout the day. In addition to the breakfast, lunch and in-between snacks that are part of the daily conference pass, there will be vendors handing out all kinds of snacks. It’s okay to stash a few in your tote bag to eat later. At the cocktail parties, there will either be a buffet set up or servers passing by with trays of nibbles – eat them! Unless you made plans to actually go out for dinner, those appetizers ARE your dinner. If you’re drinking alcohol at BlogHer, it’s a good idea to keep food in your tummy
TIP #10 – If you do drink during BlogHer, please drink responsibly. I know, I sound like a commercial, but trust me. You’ll get drink tickets with your conference badge that are exchanged for drinks during the cocktail parties. Plus, bloggers who don’t drink will be giving away their tickets as well. It can be very easy to lose track of how many cocktails you’ve had. It’s no fun showing up for breakfast with a raging hangover. It’s not a bad idea to pack some ibuprofen just in case
TIP #11 – Okay, I know the title says ten tips, but I thought of one more! Stop by Target, Walmart, Walgreen’s, CVS, Rite Aid, or your favorite drugstore and check out travel size toiletries. I always pick up a small tube of Advil, baby powder, makeup wipes, trial size Degree deodorant, bandaids, and a small tube of toothpaste. I also pick up small plastic bottles to put shampoo and conditioner in. Remember, your carry-on can have ONE quart-size bag of liquids, nothing over THREE ounces. Travel size toiletries are usually around a dollar apiece.
I hope these tips help you enjoy BlogHer ’10! If you have a tip I didn’t mention, please leave it in the comments. Here’s a couple of other BlogHer ’10 survival posts with great tips:
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