Next week 500 of my closest friends will descend upon Opryland to eat, sleep and dream all things blawg. For a blogger, it's Utopia…Shangri-La…Disney World…bliss; to our family, friends and everyone else, it's a freak show Star Trek convention.
While I've seen several posts about preparing for Blissdom, I thought I'd offer a few tips I haven't read anywhere else; you know…the stuff you don't find out until you get there but wish you knew before. Feel free to add your own Blissdom/Blog Conference Secret Tips in comments…I bet there's a few things I haven't thought of!
Roughly the size of Rhode Island, Opryland could house about a dozen football fields. I'm not kidding, I did the math. If you must, bring your pretty, slick stilettos or funky, stacked peeps, but I'm tellin' ya save those for when you get to your destination!
To walk from your room to the meeting venue, bring comfortable athletic shoes or sensible walking shoes (I swear I'm not a hundred years old yet). You're going to be walking miles every day, so style needs to take a back seat to comfort! Roll your eyes at me now, but your not-so-sore dawgs will thank me later.
In other words, be prepared, expect the unexpected. Here's a list of items I've happened to bring (or, ahem, lacked) and someone need 'em.
- Pain meds (Advil, Tylenol, Aleve)
- Sleep aids (you're going to be SO tired your body is gonna be JACKED!)
- Safety pins
- Feminine hygiene products…& a few extras
- A fan to block out your roommates' snores (no comment)
- Contact solution
- Socks or flip flops
- CHARGERS–phone, laptop and camera. GO…PACK THOSE NOW!
- Power strip (you'll be everyone's BFF when their electronics are about to die)
- Hair products (I always forget something I need–gel, conditioner, spray, hot rollers, dryer, etc.)
- Cold meds; there's a good chance you or someone you know will need OTC cold remedies. Be a hero…have 'em ready. Remind me to tell you the story about tweeting a request for Valtrex…s i g h….
 Bring a backpack
Remember the miles you're going to be walking? Depending on the location of your hotel room, by the end of the conference you could have walked a marathon. I'm not kidding; I did the math again. If you're lugging around a laptop and/or heavy purse, your back is going to feel every step your feet take. This year I'm leaving my cute laptop bag behind (tears) and I'm using my backpack lappy bag; it's about as cute as sensible shoes, but then again I'm no slave to fashion.
 If you remembered to bring business cards…
Keep a stack stuffed behind your name badge in the plastic pocket; that way regardless of what you're wearing (sans pockets especially), you'll have 'em handy.
 If you forgot or didn't know to have calling cards…
Embrace your Inner Creative and make some! EVERYONE will love 'em! Use stamps and stickers or glitter and glue, and you'll be remembered easier than someone who spent $100. Isn't that the point?
 Bring along mints & gum.
You're gonna be talking. A lot. You're gonna be snacking. A lot. Session venues might be faaaar from your room, so you'll be glad to be able to freshen your breath when you can't brush your teeth. If someone offers you either, take it; it may or may not be a hint, so err on the safe side ;).
 Label like a mad man!
You're gonna be in a sea of people who have identical laptops, phones, cameras…and cords. Use a permanent marker, address labels or something so your stuff can be easily identified.
 Invite yourself
Are you comin' solo? Don't know anyone? Are you new to blogging? BARGE IN! It's gonna look and feel like "groups" are closed, but you'll be surprised to find most people are dying for "you" to make the first move. Present company included :). Whether joining a group for a meal, or sitting at a table during a session, or hitting the dance floor during party time, just smile and introduce yourself. It's the universal blogging sign for "welcome."
 Clothing optional
I don't mean come nekkid, I'm just encouraging you to be bold! Last year after bringing my Princess dress to three previous blogging conferences, I finally got the nerve to wear it (with much encouragement from Amber and Arianne). It was one of the funnest things I've ever done…and I can't wait to play dress-up of some sort again.
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Was this helpful? Did I help you think of something you hadn't thought of yet? Do you have Secret Tips to add to my list? Do share!