Not long ago, I asked fellow GWA members on Facebook for suggestions on how to make travel less stressful and maximize the value of attending a GWA conference. Here’s what they said…
Even before you leave home there are things to check at your destination before you travel:
- Room amenities, including wi-fi, fridge, hairdryer
- Nearby source of fresh food and snacks (check with concierge or Google it)
- Crate a list of addresses and phone numbers of your destination and contacts
The right snacks can make any trip more enjoyable. Here’s what other travelers like:
- Granola or energy bars that won’t melt in heat
- Apples (they travel well in carry-on luggage)
- Favorite teas or coffees
- Empty water bottle you can fill once you are past security
Pack clothing that will make life sweeter:
- Wrinkle release spray if you have clothes that don’t travel well
- A light jacket or sweater in case the meeting rooms are cold
- Rain poncho or umbrella for unexpected weather
- Two pairs of comfortable shoes to alternate from one day to the next
- A packable hat for sun protection during the garden story tours
Tips for travel without the stress:
- Mark your checked bags with colorful tape or a bright tag
- Keep travel documents (copies of emails, reservations, boarding passes, maps of destination, speaking contracts) in one place such as a brightly colored folder
- Put phone and laptop chargers in a clear zip-lock bag for easy access
- Sanitary wipes for armrests and other suspect surfaces on the plane
- Have every bit of luggage on rollers. Who needs a sore back?
Keep body and mind going while you’re away from home:
- Wear comfortable slip-on shoes. You never know how long you’ll be on your feet.
- Carry skin lotion to combat dry air in airplanes. Make it scented for added stress relief.
- Yoga or stretching exercises for while you wait in a terminal
- Neck pillow, eye mask, sweater or jacket that can double as small blanket
- Large scarf that can cover your face if you want to sleep on the plane
- Earplugs (for no noise) or headsets (for wanted sound)
- Keep prescription medications with you on the plane in case your luggage is lost.
Bringing back plants from the conference:
- Shrink wrap, bubble pack, or plastic wrap for live plants
- An extra carry-on bag that can pack flat
- Sharpies and clear mailing tape to mail things home
- A post office flat-rate box for things that are too sharp or heavy for airport security
Maximizing conference benefits while still having a good time:
- Bring plenty of business cards and never leave your room without them. For quick access keep them in your badge holder.
- When you receive a card from someone else, make a note on what you were discussing. This will help you with follow-up after you get home.
- Always keep a pen and notepad with you. You never know when you’ll get a wonderful idea or valuable contact.
- Have a good “elevator speech” memorized and ready – a fifteen-second description of what is unique about you and what you hope to accomplish soon.
- Take a few minutes, now and then to just sit and gather your thoughts.
- During the conference post occasional photos of yourself and GWA on social media. Let your business contacts know what you’re doing and what you’re learning.
After you get home and return to everyday life:
- Gather those valuable business cards you received and review them while the event is fresh in your mind.
- Send thank-you emails to conference sponsor, letting them know they were appreciated. This will encourage them to do it again next year.
- Write a blog post about what you learned at the conference.
- Send emails to everyone who gave you their card with information, advice, and appreciative comments.
- Mark your calendar for the next GWA conference. You know it will be great!
Meet the Author
This blog post was written by the many GWA members who contributed their suggestions via the Facebook group. To join us, click here and ask to be added to the list.