Tuesday, June 20, 2017

I'm Going to ISTE: A Type-A Guide on Preparing for the BIG Event!

ISTE 2017 is just around the corner! This blog post came to me on a last minute whim after realizing how overly prepared I like to be for conferences, and ISTE is no exception! Now, I'll admit that I have a very type-A personality. I like to have every detail planned out before I long distance travel or my anxiety goes through the roof! I am hopeful that the combination of previous ISTE experiences and the obsessive need to be overly prepared will help those of you who made need a tip or two to get ready for the ISTE conference & events!

Know your flight.

Airlines often have hidden charges. Last year my airline charged an additional $40 for a carry on bag! Luckily, I checked the airline policy and was able to pack accordingly in order to avoid this fee (I stuffed everything in an expandable backpack). I also signed up for text alerts that let me know if my flight would be delayed.

Get to know your hotel before you travel.

Once your hotel is booked, give the front desk a phone call. The front desk will be able to give you details on how far you are from the convention center, if a shuttle is available from your hotel, what your walk from the hotel will be like, and they will be more than happy to answer any other questions you may have. 

Know what to pack.

It's going to be HOT! And you're going to walk A LOT! Make sure you have a few pairs of comfy shoes that you can walk miles in. Even though it will be warm outside, there will be AC inside. I like to pack a light sweater just in case I get a little chilly (I'm always cold). And, don't forget snacks! You'll be busy, so a protein bar is a perfect snack in case you miss a meal!

Join Twitter.

Seriously, join Twitter! Follow @ISTEconnects for up-to-date information on what to expect at the conference. Follow the hashtag #ISTE17 for more tweets about ISTE events. These will be very helpful as you try to plan your trip! Twitter is also a great way to network and meet new friends who will also be attending the conference. 

Speaking of friends...

If you won't be attending ISTE with anyone, find an accountability buddy. I feel much safer when I know that someone is looking out for me! Last year, my "accountability buddy" made sure I got to my hotel safely. New friends also make for great lunch and dinner conversations, and they can introduce you to new people. As a total introvert, making outgoing friends really helped get me out of my shell and feel more comfortable. 

Plan sessions and events ahead of time.

I signed up for so many events and meet-ups, I can hardly keep them straight! However, this is nothing a little spreadsheet can't fix. My friend Heather (@hmarrs24) created the perfect template for keeping yourself organized! You won't be able to attend every event or session you want to, but you can, at the very least, map out a few key must-do events. 

Save time for the expo hall. 

You could spend hours in the expo hall... and if you're like me, you'll want to! Last year, Ron Clark taught lessons with a group of students at the Class Flow booth. I couldn't miss seeing him teach, even though I had other sessions planned! Be aware that you may have to give up a session or two if you get sucked into the expo hall! 

Did I mention friends?

The best part of ISTE is all of the new people you will meet. Bring a smile, positive attitude, and know that you will make life-long friends. 

Am I missing anything!? How do you prepare for ISTE!?


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