Saturday, August 28, 2010

Getting Ready for a Conference

Grace Hopper is fast approaching so I find myself, once again, madly going through my usual routine list of tasks to do before heading to a conference. Here's my process:
  1. Get funding. This comes from different sources depending on the conference, ranging for me from our CU-WISE budget to Carleton's Student Activity Fund to my supervisor.

  2. Make a Google Map. I create a new map for each conference or event I travel to. I start by plotting the main conference hotel. If applicable, I then add other hotel options. Finally, I add potential sight-seeing opportunities and restaurants I want to visit.

  3. Book flights and hotel. This one's pretty obvious. Best to get it sorted out early.

  4. Plan schedule. This certainly won't be set in stone, but I like to look through the conference program and decide what sessions are "can't miss," and add these to my Google Calendar. I also try to plan out the sight-seeing portions of the trip (I always make sure to have some extra time for looking around!).

  5. Gather documentation and currency. I print out all my flight and hotel info, my schedule, and make a packing list. I make sure I have my passport and enough money in the appropriate currency. I also bring my marriage certificate because I changed my name on a lot of my documentation, but not my passport. This time I'm also going to order custom business cards to hand out at the conference.

  6. Prepare camera. Fresh batteries, clean memory cards, and in my case, clean lenses. I also have to decide what equipment I'll take (lenses? flash? carrying cases?).

  7. Prepare laptop/phone. Again, want to make sure they are well charged for the plane, and that I have all the charging cables. I also try to make sure all the software I might want is installed on the computer I'm bringing.

  8. Pack. It really is best not to leave this until the last minute. Use the packing list you made earlier and cross stuff off once it's ready in your "packing pile." Be sure to be strategic in what you put in your carry-on if you are checking your main bag. Just pretend your main bag will get lost and put your essentials in the carry-on.

  9. Triple check flight times. I've been wrong before.

  10. Check in online. Even though it doesn't take much less time to do it online, I feel more comfortable, since I think it means I have a little more leeway time to get to the airport (since the cut-off for boarding is later than the cut-off for checking in). I hope I'm not wrong on this!
I think that more or less covers it. Anything else you do to get ready?


Christian Muise said...

Assuming you're going to an academic conference, a predownload of the proceedings is always handy.

Gail Carmichael said...

Good idea! I didn't even stop to think this could be an option before the actual conference, but it definitely would be handy to have looked at some of the papers before seeing the talks.

Shrutarshi Basu said...

Inventing teleportation would get rid of about half of those.

Gail Carmichael said...

I'd still probably get the time wrong. ;)

Cate said...

Woah I travel in a much more haphazard way! Phone, wallet, laptop and passport, never any currency until I get there... Unless in Asia, Europe and north America are okay. Always works out fine but after my latest trip to Amsterdam I'm realizing this level of going with the flow is a bit unnatural. Also, always always pack at the last minute. Packing expands to fill time you have for it (learnt that one at boarding school).

Gail Carmichael said...

I have to admit I've been packing a lot more last minute lately, but I've always been glad when I took more care. At the very least, I find it's worth making a really nice list. Funnily enough, all my recent trips have been in North America (except one vacation to the Dominican).

Cate said...

Last summer I ended up adding 6 weeks working in China to my Europe trip - 2 days before I left! Last-minute packing is a skill I've honed for just such opportunities...

. said...

I also print some basic info (directions, etc). You never know when your electronic devices will decide to go on vacation. It will save you some minutes, even if all your information is on the cloud :)

Gail Carmichael said...

Oh yes, I do that too - I realized I forgot to include that in my list! :)

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