Conference Travel Tips Redux: The R. Kelley Director’s Cut

by Rebecca Kelley on November 16, 2007 · 46 comments

Shoe’s recent post about conference travel tips was pretty spot on. It was also quite the coincidence, as I was planning on writing one of my own. Oh well, suck it bitches, you’re getting a dupe post from me. At least it’s Friday.
My conference travel tips:

Limit yourself to carry-on luggage

I know, you’re thinking “How on earth can a female travel with only a carry on?”, but I’ve got it down to a science (a couple pairs of shoes and jeans, a few shirts, toiletries, my liquids in an “I’m not a terrorist” sized baggie, and I’m good to go). I travel about once a month for work, and I quickly got tired of waiting for my bag at baggage claim. Also, you can really shoot yourself in the foot with layovers, especially since so many flights are delayed nowadays. You could lose your luggage in the process, which is a real pain in the ass.

Oh, and ladies, you don’t need all of that crap you’re trying to shove into your giant suitcase. Trust me. You’ll impress the fellas by simply being a female in the industry (“OMG, someone with boobs!”). You don’t need to pack eighteen tops and six pairs of shoes.

Bring Visine (especially if you’re going to Pubcon–Vegas Dust Eyes is a look nobody can pull off)

I stay out late, get a few hours of sleep, and always wake up looking like I’ve been infected with the RAGE virus. If you don’t want potential colleagues and clients to think that you’ve got a touch of the Satan in you, rock the Visine (or Clear Eye, if you’re a Ben Stein fan).

Pack casual clothes 

Unless you’ll be meeting with a client and need to dress up or want to impress people, I’d pack casual clothes or clothes you’re comfortable in. Search/tech/Internet conferences are attended by, well, SEOs, techies, and Internet dorks. These folks define dressing up as wearing pants, period. You will feel overdressed if you pack suits, ties, and dress pants (unless you’re comfortable wearing them, in which case you’ll just stand out among the crowd).

Dump the conference tote

I’d recommend getting the bare essentials out of the standard-issue conference tote (i.e. the “Conference at a Glance” agenda) and then abandoning it. I took home about a half dozen SES tote bag before I realized that I will never use the damn things (and I hated lugging around 5 lbs of crap), so I resorted to grabbing the agendas out of them and then just leaving the bag at a table. I don’t even use the big bulky note-taking thing that’s issued to attendees because it’s frickin’ gigantic and because I type faster than I write, so I just take notes on my laptop.

Pack some Airborne or cold-blasting packets

I always feel my immune system start to take a nosedive when I go to conferences (staying up late, drinking too much, not getting enough sleep, etc). Whenever I wake up with Lumpy Throat Syndrome, I down a few Airborne cocktails throughout the day and feel better. Blast your immune system with vitamin C and other cold-fighting agents right when you feel the first signs of getting sick, and you can usually fend off the cold.

Have cash on you 

You don’t want to be the one dick in the dinner crowd who doesn’t treat and take care of the cab ride or pitch in on the dinner tab. Don’t be That Guy. That guy is an asshole.

Wear comfortable shoes

Sometimes you’ll go straight from wandering around the conference all day to an after conference mixer and then dinner or an event at a bar. If you don’t have time to change, make sure you’re not torturing your feet. I’m uncomfortable in virtually anything except sneakers (I loves me some Pumas), so I don’t dare pack heels out of fear that I’ll either trip and break my neck or that I’ll kill my feet.

Open up a crapload of tabs in your browser before boarding the plane 

You can get some work done that way, or you’ll just have more stuff to read.

If you room with someone, make sure he or she’s not an asshole

You never really know someone until you’ve lived with him/her. I’ve had roommates I’ve wanted to strangle, and I’ve had roommates who are cool. Bad roommates are snorers, people who take forever to get ready, people who go to bed several hours before you do, requiring you to sneak into your own room at 4 am, drunk as a skunk and running into all kinds of shit because you can’t see a goddamn thing, and night tooters. Good roommates are people who don’t do any of that.

And the last tip I can offer you: Stay away from Shoe. He’s a real asswad. ;)

full disclosure

About the author...

– who has written 42 posts on

Rebecca Kelley is the Director of Marketing for This or That Media. She also runs Mediocre Athlete, a hobby blog about exercising and training, and My Korean Mom, a blog about her harsh but amusing Korean mother. In her spare time, Rebecca is a freelance blogger for hire, loves food and movies, and trains for marathons and triathlons.

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1 John Chow

Never trust a shoe!

2 Worknplay

LOL, bad mouthing Shoe on his own blog , kudos ! ;-)

3 Joe

that’s some nice filler content.

4 Vik Dulat

The best one is probably having some cash on you. I have had so many people that just say ” OH NO, I “forgot” my waller. COME ON NOW. Forgot you wallet..PlZ!1

Just my 2 cents

5 John M Weaver

Way to be straight forward…especially your last tip…how do you really feel??

6 賃貸 大阪

I agree, make sure to have smaller bills for tips.

7 賃貸 大阪

At Pubcon, I look forward to buying you a drink in your pumas.

8 Domtan

Good tips Rebecca. Ever accidentally tip a maid $40?

9 Gyutae Park

Haha, rkelley is a lot funnier here than on seomoz. Good stuff.

10 Joeychgo

One more thing. If possible – arrange or a limo to meet you at the airport. It wont cost much more then a cab, and the aggravation factor is taken away after that flight.


I keep a bookmark folder in Firefox full of blogs I like to read. Once a day, I right-click on that folder and choose “Open all in tabs”. I suppose if I were getting ready to board a flight, I could do this and then prepare any post comments I wanted to while in flight. Then just submit comments when I’m near WiFi again.

12 Brian

Hmm, never thought about opening browser windows. I usually just try to download about 3 hours worth of shows via torrent the week before the trip and watch those during the flight. A few 30-minute shows will make a flight go by quick.

13 Blog Contests

Ha, I like that one – Open up a crapload of tabs in your browser before boarding the plane

14 Chris

You are totally right about the luggage, a few weeks ago, I travelled to Latvia with just a backpack. Inside was my laptop, all of my clothings and everything else I needed. Later I heard that I could take my notebook seperate, this would have given me more room for carrying cigarettes on the way home (they are really cheap over there).

15 Gronk

Nice! and you only said ASS 4 times!

16 Jamie Harrop

Baggages is a royal pain in the ass.

In July when I flew back to the UK from HostingCon, I had two stopovers enroute. I was carrying a bowling ball (jn a bowling bag), my laptop and a large suitcase. Because the first connecting flight was leaving just 30 minutes after I touched down, US Airways were going to make me take all three bags as carry on. Yes, even the large suitcase. They said there wouldn’t be enough time for the suitcase to make it to my connecting flight if I checked it in.

So, there I am walking through the airport with a bowling bag on my left shoulder, a laptop on my right shoulder, and a huge suitcase trailing behind me. As you can imagine, it got very boring very quick, so I checked in the suitcase and told the check in people that I would much rather risk losing my bag than carring three bags as checkin for a few thousand miles across the Atlantic!

I’m glad I did, because the bag made it and carrying the bowling bag and laptop alone as check in was hard enough!

17 Making The Money

Yeah I heard he cheats at everything, even RSS contests!

18 jim

Carry-on luggage is a must, it saves you so much time considering how crappy some airlines are.

19 serge

nice, my wife should read this post.

20 Stuart

ROFL @ “night tooters”

I’m glad I’m not into the roommate thing

21 big money

I can imagine how “funny” it would be when you open up all your tabs in the browser and end up with one of those “Firefox has received an error and must shut down”, or have that happen after your comments are set to submit. That happens often with me.

22 Adamxcl

I would say comfortable shoes that are NOT sneakers if it’s a full day/evening schedule because sneakers will get you kicked out of the hottest nightclub parties. I’ve been to more than a few events (RAIN, Tryst, Tao, Hard Rock, etc in Las Vegas) where attendees can stay after the party but those with tennis shoes are asked to leave. Or maybe get sneakers that are dark and don’t look like sneakers. I go with Rockports for comfort and decent looks.

23 lyricsreg

LOL … why lot tip with bigger bills ? :)

24 Rebecca Kelley

Ooh, good point there.

25 Rebecca Kelley

No, but I fought with a maid in England because sometimes she started to take my tips and then she just stopped. Cultural thing?

26 Rebecca Kelley

I’m a bit less neutered here. :)

27 Rebecca Kelley

I know, I should have worked it in a bit more. Ass.

28 Rich Sage

Thanks for the great tips, both of you. I am just starting the Internet Marketing travel and I’ll think back to this post. Cheers!

29 King Jacob

Love the browser tab tip!

30 Affiliate Unleashed

LOL. Nice.

31 Affiliate Unleashed

Some more pretty good tips… I like the tabs tip and the vitamins tip.

32 Mike Huang

HAHA! Good tips from a woman’s point of view :)

These work for both guys and girls


33 John Loch


Hmm.. I have a suspicion, but someone want to set me straight ??

34 greg

This is especially true in Vegas where the lines for a cab can be up to an hour wait.

35 Alex

No doubt that “night tooters” are a most unwelcome sound and smell combo.
For those of you traveling to Vegas, check out Las Vegas Transportation Guide for tips on how to get around Vegas after you arrive.

36 lyricsreg

A new quality guideline for web articles ? Usage of the word “ass”

37 Gecko Tales

The problem with only one suitcase is that you don’t have room for all the chotskies. After adtech I had to decide what I could take home and what I had to donate to the maid.

38 Hustle Strategy

I generally agree with this one as well, though I save pages, so I can shutdown the pc when asked to turn it off. I also carry a psp with a bunch of movies/shows saved on it. So I can catch up on some tv… I can also put books and the like on it.

39 Nicholas James

Nice tips, again. Its all about common sense but, if you forget those simple things then you’re kindof screwed.

40 JT

No, probably because she doesn’t carry $40 in ones for the strip clubs.

41 John Loch

Aha !

I thought so.. just wasn’t sure.. :)

42 CatherineL

Great tips – especially just using carry on luggage. Last time I flew I thought flying first would mean I got my suitcase faster. Not so – I was first of the plane, but almost last to receive my luggage. I must have waited over an hour! So it’s definitely a carry on for shorter trips from now on.

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