Now that I am well rested and caught up with work I can tell you that… I had a great experience in New York City for BlogHer 2015 Experts Among Us! This was my first BlogHer Conference. I was able to attend some of my scheduled sessions of choice, saw the keynote speakers, attended special events, enjoyed expo hall networking and the PARTIES! I was able to reconnect with my blogger friends that I haven’t seen in years and connect with new ones. I LOVED meeting some of the other Caribbean Bloggers from all over. Attendees came from Canada, the Bahamas and Trinidad to attend BlogHer. They get a major shout out!!! I always say attending blog conferences are like fun reunions for me. I get to see my tweethearts and blogging boos that I haven’t seen since the last blog conference or special event. I’m going to share some essentials that I pack when traveling to a blog conference. I’ll also share some blog conference etiquette for good measure. This may have been my first BlogHer Conference but, I’ve had my share of blog conferences to prepare for. Here are some takeaways…
1. Make sure you have enough business cards in tow with you. You are going to be networking a majority of the time. My sole purpose for attending blog conferences is to network. I even scheduled myself to attend a speed networking session so I had the opportunity to meet a decent amount of people in a small period of time.
2. Power up all your gadgets and remember to bring all the adapters and power chargers you’ll need for each device. I powered up all my gadgets, had back up power sources and was able plug in every chance I was in one location for an extended period of time. The last thing you want is a dead laptop, tablet, phone, smart watch, camera or mophie!
3. I usually travel with a backpack and will have all my essentials in tow. I used to carry my pocketbook as well but, I learned quickly that your hands fill up and you don’t want a pocketbook, backpack, and swag walking around all day until you can get back to your hotel room. I also pack my backpack lightly, so I can add items as the day goes by.
4. Be comfortable! I always have flip flops in tow with me. I had some fierce shoe game and some of my favorite heels but, I can always switch out and put on my flip flops when necessary. I had a mixture of outfits for my day sessions, special evening events and parties. YES… the flip flops were conveniently close by. Fun Fact: I wore my flip flops the ENTIRE time. Lol! I didn’t even bother with heels or stilettos. I was comfortable and that’s all that mattered!
5. I’m a visual person so I schedule EVERYTHING! I even had reminders and alerts set 30 minutes prior to a scheduled event. You’ve heard me say it before and I’ll say it again… If it’s NOT on my calendar, I don’t show up! I wish I was joking but you see, the way my mind is set up… I need to have it in writing and an alert to make it happen. The BlogHer App was a huge asset! I loved getting the notifications as events, giveaways or special promotions were happening.
6. Take breaks as needed! I will be the first to tell you that I schedule myself with breaks in between events and meetings so I can either get a little work done, wind down or take a nap if necessary. If you are ripping and running all day with no breaks and you have evening events and parties to attend, you’re going to be exhausted! You may not be the bubbly social butterfly that people expect. I demonstrated that on Saturday because I was exhausted and also got called out on it! I was 100% after my nap and ready for the evenings festivities!
7. Have all your event confirmations in a folder if they aren’t going to be on Everbrite so you don’t have any issues providing proof you have registered or RSVP’d to attend an event. I stopped printing confirmations a long time ago but, I mark the emails and keep them in a email folder so I can easily access them when I need to. Most hosts have an attendee list as well, but it’s better to be safe than sorry! I was able to get into all my scheduled events with no problems.
8. I decided to drive to BlogHer and had more than enough space to accommodate any swag I received. If you are flying, you can ship your swag back home. It would probably be cheaper than adding another piece of luggage when you travel by plane. If you travel light and have the ability to add another piece of luggage, carry an empty bag just for your swag! I know it depends on the airline. My car trunk was packed to capacity!
9. I’m going to tell you something I’m still working on. Body Language! I have a bad habit of crossing my arms, mostly because I’m cold and it’s just a real bad habit. I wore a sweater for most of the event. I have been told it makes it seem as though I am unapproachable and closed off. I make a conscious effort to NOT cross my arms in social settings and also SMILE! I tend to look serious most of the time and people think I’m mad. I’m Not, If I’m mad you’ll know it. Lol! It’s okay to talk to me, I don’t bite!
10. Last but not least… You’ve heard this from me before! PLEASE have updated social profile pictures so that we can make the connection that you are YOU! If you have a picture from 2001 but, it’s 2015 and you have changed in appearance. It serves us no purpose to know how you used to look. I’m looking for the person I’m connecting with NOW on social media. So… Reminder, update your headshots if necessary! There were a few opportunities to do that at BlogHer.
Bonus: Have cash on hand, I have a bad habit of only using debit & credit cards. You’ll need cash for public transportation (bus, car service, train or taxi). Some transportation services take credit/debit cards but, be prepared. Oh… I’m a bit of a germaphobe so I have hand sanitizer on me at all times. Is there anything you can think of that I didn’t mention? I’ll be back to share some of my favorite moments at BlogHer 2015.