I can’t believe it’s that time of year again! The leaves have changed here in Indiana, the air is a little cooler, and we’re all dreaming of Thanksgiving and Christmas (break, that is). But before that, the ASHA 2016 conference must be held! If it’s your first trip or your 10th, these are the 7 key tips I use every year to make sure my trip is the best yet.
1. Plan, Plan, Plan
ASHA is a fun time, but sometimes it can feel exhausting trying to see the sights and do all the things. Before you go plan out your sessions using the schedule of presentations you received in the mail, or use the list on ASHA’s website. Sessions can fill up fast, so try to have a “backup” session for each time slot, just incase the one you wanted is at capacity before you get there.
While you’re planning be sure to add some time in the Exhibit Hall! So many great vendors are there with lots of fun freebies and giveaways…including yours truly! 14 of my blogging besties and I will be at booth #514 in the hall with goodies of our own! I do hope you’ll stop by and grab our swag and introduce yourself! Internet friends are only more fun in real life.
We’re also hosting a super fun Meet & Greet on Thursday night where we’ll have more time to chat, including even more giveaways! (Noticing a theme here? We like giving you guys stuff.) Not sure when you can see me? Here’s a quick visual for you.
2. Dress for Success, er, Comfort
Comfort is KEY at a multi-day conference like ASHA. The SLP Bloggers and I will be rocking sweet matching t-shirt both days, and I’ve tossed my favorite jeans in my suitcase already. Lots of sitting and walking means it’s okay to be comfy. Don’t worry about being snazzy for other SLPs, we get it. We play on the floor, too 🙂 Tip: Add a light jacket or cardigan to carry with you. Philly is supposed to have cool temps this week, and conference rooms can be inconsistent in temps!
3. Walkin’ and Water
Speaking of multi-day conferences, walking is INEVITABLE! Leave your heels at home–your feet will thank you on Saturday. Trust me here. I’m packing these comfy shoes, some grey sneakers, and a comfy pair of boots for these 3 days. Also, bring a water bottle. Hydration is important, and there are few things worse than sitting through a short corse thirsty.
4. Let’s Talk Tech
ASHA is a tech-friendly conference, so make sure you don’t forget some tools! I always back an extra phone/iPad charger (I just saw one at Target today for $5). I also bring my headphones and USB charger cord and keep them all in a small zipper pencil-case to keep them from becoming tangled in the bottom of my bag. My iPad isn’t pictured here, as it was happily charging when I took this picture, but downloading session handouts from ASHA’s website and save them on your iPad in apps like iBooks, DropBox, or OneNote for quick access during presentations.
5. Keepin’ it old school
While tech is handy, nothing is worse than being in the middle of a session when your iPad (along with all your handouts) dies, or you need to scribble down the details for dinner with your friends. I always be sure to pack a pen and a small notebook for moments just like these!
6. Eating on a budget
Eating out 3 meals a day for 3 days can be a real downer on your budget. Here’s how I eat healthy (and in a pinch)– I pack granola bars, fruit pouches, and other “easy” snacks and light meals that I can toss into my bag or purse for the day. This way I’m saving a little cash, I have flexible meal times, and can munch when I need it.
7. Entertain Yourself
Don’t forget travel time! If you’re flying, don’t forget to bring a book along or download a new movie onto your iPad. This is (part of) my current “need to read” list and I’m excited to crack one open in the car!
That’s it! Any other tried & true tips you’ve found helpful? I’d love to read them in the comments! See you in Philly!