1. PLAN EARLY
It’s never too soon to start planning a conference trip. In addition to securing the best deals on airfare and hotels, many conferences offer “early bird” registration fees, meaning savvy attendees can save hundreds of dollars just by registering months in advance. That said, booking early comes with its own risks: Most conferences don’t offer refunds, so those registration fees could be lost if something unexpected comes up in the months between now and the event.
2. PRINT THE SCHEDULE IN ADVANCE
Don’t waste precious conference time figuring out which events you want to attend. Most conferences publish their schedule well before the actual event, so you’ll have plenty of time to organize a game plan. Divide your schedule into three categories: “Absolute Must Attend,” “Would Like to Attend,” and “Nice to Attend IF I Have Time/Energy.” Save your energy for the first category, make an effort to squeeze in a few events in the second category, and don’t sweat missing any events in the third category. Attending a conference is a marathon, not a sprint, and you don’t want to get burnt out attending every possible session on your very first day.
3. WORK THAT HASHTAG
Nearly every conference has an official conference hashtag these days. Use it before the event to connect with fellow attendees and during the event to share photos or things you’ve learned. It’s also a useful way to see where everyone’s meeting up after-hours.