Since a few people expressed interest, I’m going to write about how I go about traveling alone by writing about how I travel alone while I’m doing it.
First up: the BlogHer 2011 conference in San Diego. I’ll be gone for four days and three nights, attending a huge energy-intensive event for two and a half of those days. It’s a short flight to and from SD.
I’m not a big fan of spontaneity when it comes to my transport, lodgings and food. I booked my plane ticket and my room as soon as I decided to attend the conference. It’s cheaper that way, and I’m not subject to the stresses of not knowing where I’m going to sleep, where I’m going to eat, or when I need to be at the airport. Less stress = Less pain.
Think About What I’ll Need and Where to Put My $$$
By the time I decided to attend BlogHer, all the specially priced rooms at the Marriott attached to the San Diego Convention Center were booked. My choices were a “conference rate” room at a hotel several blocks from the event site (the SDCC) or a more expensive room at the attached Marriott.
I picked the Marriott, despite the fact that I could have used the price break.
Why? Because I know what I need and when I need it. I know that I’m going to exhaust myself at the conference, and that I’ll probably need to lie down in the middle of the day then go back to pick up my next session. If I have to walk blocks to my hotel, lugging my stuff, the exhaustion will get worse rather than better. Naps will be borderline worthless, and I might have to skip half the sessions and all the evening parties, which means that I won’t get my money’s worth out of the conference, which means that the trip fails.
Worst case scenario, I’ll be so racked out by the end of the trip that I’ll collapse in the airport again. I hate that.
So, the Marriott. Much, much better chance of a good trip and success with my business at a rate of about $40 per night.
Prepare Some More
Before I leave, I print out my flight information, my hotel reservations, my rental car reservations (not this time–I don’t need a car), and any other reservations I’ll need. No, this isn’t strictly necessary. But it makes me feel better, and I’ve found the printouts useful more than once.
If I had a smartphone, I’d probably skip the printouts and have all the reservations in my phone instead.
I’ve written about packing before. Most of the deal with packing is thinking hard about what I’ll really need, because I can’t rely on somebody else to have it, or to help me. That means that I bring food, a water bottle, all the meds I could possibly need or want, and any items that will diminish pain or make me more comfortable.
Because I’m going to be in over-air-conditioned conference spaces all weekend, I packed a warm sweater. I’ve got my squishy socks and some soft pants and oversized t-shirts so that I can be comfy in my room.
And I packed an extra carry-on bag to help drag home the swag I’ve been told to expect from the con.
I’ve got my laptop, my cell phone, and enough cash to deal with any minor emergency situation. Again, I have to think about the fact that I will be alone–nobody else can pay for things, smooth out situations, or prop me up. So I bring anything I think can help me make it through each day with as much ease and as little pain as possible.
Coming soon, Part 2: Leaving the House & Beyond