This year I am heading to two conferences, one for blogging and one podcasting.  Since 2010 I’ve attended at least one blog conference at year and each time I learn more about what to pack and what to leave behind. Here is my list of things to consider when heading to a conference.

Tips for attending a blog conference

1. Decide if you plan to take photos via your phone, DSLR or digital camera. I think I brought my DSLR to one conference and I barely used it. It was too much of a pain to take out and I felt a bit crazy with it.  There will be tons of other people at most blogging conferences with their DSLR so if you are a die hard user you won’t be out of place, but for me my iphone works just fine and takes up less space.

2. New wardrobe versus tried and true outfits from your closet. I’ve done both ends of the spectrum, and my advice is buy an outfit for one of the events at the conference {a party, event, meet-up, etc} and for the rest go with clothes you already have and love. You will feel comfortable and thus you will feel confident. Also factor in walking for your shoe selection. If the conference is in a small area in a hotel go for the cute, less comfy shoes.  If the conference is in a big convention center {like BlogHer} make sure you have a few options.

3. A selfie stick. These seem to be the butt of a lot of jokes, but they are so worth it. My husband and I bought one for our trip to Europe and we have some amazing pictures thanks to it. Our team also used a selfie stick at our holiday party.  No shame in your game for getting a selfie stick to get lots of great group photos.

4. Notebook vs. Computer/ipad.  I am a hand written notes kinda gal.  Many people do really well taking notes on their ipad or latptop, but I go all old school 1992 and rock a cute notebook and pencil.

5. Power plugs and back up batteries. Chances are everyone at the conference you are attending will be connecting to the hotel/conference wifi and you’ll have to decide if you want slow wifi or if you want to use your own data. Either way there is a big chance your phone battery will near the end of it’s life before dinner, so be prepared.  You can quickly become everyone’s best friend if you bring a power strip, because there are always more people needing to charge their devices than there are wall outlets.

6. Planning out your days. Pick a few sessions that are a must go to, but for the rest of the time be open to networking, socializing, and don’t forget to give yourself some down time.

7. Networking and meeting people. A friend of mine told me that when he goes to a conference he picks 1 or 2 people that he knows are going and sets those as the people he wants to really get to know.  I love this because in big crowds I tend to get super overwhelmed, so the idea of using a 2-3 day conference to cultivate just a few really good relationships really puts me at ease.

8. Plan to have some spending cash. Even if a conference plans to feed you 3 times a day you will want a snack, or a fancy coffee, or you might skip out on one of the conference meals to have dinner with a few new people you’ve met.

9. Have fun and don’t stress! I have a tendency to get overwhelmed in large crowds and as a conference date nears I want to back out because I get nervous! It is so silly, because once I get there and meet others I am fine.  Don’t worry about being nervous, so many other people will be nervous too.  Search the conference hashtag on Instagram and Twitter before you leave and chat with others who are nervous too. Then you can plan to meet up and BOOM instant friend, no need to be nervous!

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