We’re officially in convention countdown mode, as the RT 2015 Convention in Dallas will be upon us in … six weeks! Cue squeeing and mild panic! We can’t believe it either. If this is your very first RT Con, we’re so happy you’ll be joining us. We thought we’d go over some pointers to make May 12 to 17 super awesome fun times. So we asked seasoned RT veterans a very important question — what do you absolutely need to pack? Below are several fantastic suggestions, via Twitter and Facebook, to help put your mind at ease.
Parts of this article were originally published April 8, 2014.
Comfy shoes are definitely a must, you’ll be on your feet for long, fun-filled days! Definitely do not forget to pack your phone charger, so you can meet up with friends, and — oh yeah, check in on your family back home. Bringing along a bunch of pre-made contact cards for easy raffle entries (they should include your name, email address, cell phone number and address. Business cards or address labels work great!) and pre-made shipping labels addressed to yourself, so you can mail all the books and swag you collect, will make your life way easier. (There will be shipping available on-site at the convention hotel.)
Ah, caffeine. How would we survive without it? If you’re an industry professional or an author attending RT Con, you will have to be “on” the entire time you aren’t in your hotel room. It’s so fun, but also exhausting. With a packed schedule, you might need to make room in your suitcase for caffeine, bring extra coffee money or somehow fit naps into your schedule!
More great suggestions above, including extra empty suitcases if you don’t want to ship books and swag back via mail. The weather in Dallas may be warmer than what you’re accustomed to (it’s generally in the low 80s during mid-May), so pack seasonal clothing, though it’s often chilly in conference hotels, so layering is a great idea!
Another great tip several people suggested: snacks! If you want a quick breakfast or something to munch on between workshops and you don’t think you’ll have time to grab food (or you want to save some money), bring food you can toss in a purse or tote bag like granola bars, trail mix, fruit snacks, crackers, etc. This can help you make friends, too, if you’re in a sharing mood.
When it comes to planning your schedule, there’s really no wrong way to go. Choose multiple options for each time slot in case you decide an event isn’t for you and would rather try something else. If you’re unsure of a panel or workshop and want to try it out, sit in the back in case you need to quietly exit. And don’t overwhelm yourself! It’s ok to leave gaps in your schedule, and don’t forget to make room for eating, resting and any off-site plans you might want to make.
Lastly, hang out at the bar at night. Yes, even if you don’t drink alcohol. It’s the best place to meet authors, industry folks and readers in a relaxed atmosphere. And it’s ok to be anxious, nervous or shy. You’re not the only one, we promise. People are generally friendly and welcoming at RT, so feel free to say hello!
Did we miss anything? If you’ve got a suggestion, leave it here or tell us on social media! If you’re still anxious about your first RT Con, don’t miss the RT Virgins orientation. And don’t forget to plan your personal agenda on the RT Booklovers Convention website.