A First-Timer’s Summit: Packing Heat—Where’s Rick Steves When You Need Him?

by Danielle Villegas on 28 March 2013

Danielle Villegas, also known as TechCommGeekMom, is attending the STC Summit for the first time this year, so we’ve asked her to blog about her expectations and excitement approaching the Summit, plus her experiences at the Summit. This is the fourth post of her series.

For me, going to the Summit means a big trip. It’s not often that I get a chance to travel. I usually go on only one big trip a year, which is a vacation at the beach with my family. For those events, I am the ever-vigilant mom who is trying to make sure that we don’t overpack so that we can fit into the car for our 600-mile trip from New Jersey to South Carolina, but also under-pack enough so that we can bring home a few mementos from our week-long trip. But this time, I’m packing for about a half a week, and I don’t have to think about what I need to pack for my son or husband. I only have to pack for myself. But what should I bring with me?

I surveyed a few veterans while I was at the STC Mid-Atlantic Technical Conference in Philadelphia a couple weeks ago, and I was given two good pieces of advice. First, I was strongly advised to bring clothing that can be worn in layers. While it can be hot outside in Atlanta in early May, the presentation rooms in the hotel can be rather cold, requiring a sweater or similar garb. The other item that came in handy at the Conference was business cards. I was surprised at how many I handed out in one day! If you are looking for inexpensive ones that can be made fairly quickly, check out Zazzle.com, which is what I used to make mine. Both pre-designed cards and customized cards can be created on the website.

My main concern has been what to pack technologically. When I went to the aforementioned conference, I overpacked! I brought my iPad, my iPhone, and my 17-inch laptop. Talk about overkill! I had to lug my rolling laptop bag everywhere I went, and it was HEAVY! I didn’t even need my laptop. I was able to use my iPad and my iPhone without any problems. I even used my iPad for my presentation. A Summit veteran informed me that presenters can bring presentations on a flash drive, and re-charging stations will be available for all types of electronic devices. He told me that he usually uses only his iPhone during the Summit! I’ve invested in a small portable charger as well, just for my own peace of mind. I’m a huge supporter of using mobile devices, so using a tablet or smartphone is a smart way to go because the devices are light and easy to use.  Having a smartphone with you will also help with getting around on the rail system, finding local restaurants, stores, and other activities nearby the hotel. (Yes, there is an app—several apps, in fact—for that!)

I think I’ll be prepared to pack light and lean. What items do you think you’ll be bringing to the Summit?

Danielle M. Villegas writes the blog TechCommGeekMom.com. She is graduated with her MSPTC degree from NJIT in 2012, and is currently a Web publishing consultant for BASF North America and an instructor for World Learning teaching Business and Technical Writing.

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