It’s always fun to share pet conference travel tips before setting off for BlogPaws! For those who might be travelling very long distances to visit the world’s major pet blogging event, I am sharing my experiences to help you with packing tips for international travel, and navigating your way through our list of things to do before traveling abroad.
I have suggestions for:
- and your Blogger’s Conference Kit
With previous experience as BlogPaws Ambassadors in 2016, and a lot of international travel stamps in my passport, I hope to help make your overseas adventure a success. Some of the information is common sense but as you know, the obvious and sensible tips are the ones that fly out the window like a rejected cat toy in moments of stress.
Best Conference Travel Tips 1
First Pack Your Suitcase
I want to share some really important and useful information. Here’s something you might not believe.
You don’t need half as many clothes as you think you do. Some of my clothes came back unworn from BlogPaws in 2016. If you become totally desperate for another garment after you arrive, buy something while you are there. You need a lot less than you think. A little planning about mixing and matching means a lot less space means you use a lot less space.
Special Conference Travel Tip: You have room for more BlogPaws swag too.
I have created a fun packing infographic. It is aimed at the ladies but there are some sensible guy tips too. What you see here is what I aim to bring with me for a seven day trip. Remember you can always wash a garments, or use the hotel’s laundry services. So don’t panic about bringing too little!
Cat ears – Meowingtons have a great selection at modest prices!
Remember. Your aim for the conference is to look presentable in comfortable clothes. Casual smart allows you to meet sponsors and friends and also look and feel as though you are representing your blog with a lot of confidence. Stand tall!
Best Conference Travel Tips 2 – Flying to BlogPaws
The majority of international visitors to the USA will be coming by air, so our travel tips are all about the paperwork and procedures involved in coming long distance to the conference. The long flight time is a given, so we won’t remind you about the noise, the people and the movies you might see. We will only say silicone ear plugs OR noise cancelling headphones and leave it at that.
Even in the age of electronic ticketing and biometric passports there is still paperwork to carry around like your passport and visa. We strongly recommend you have printed documentation to back up any e-tickets and other travel documents such as insurance.
Is Your Passport Up to Date?
Your passport will need to be valid for your entire journey there and back to your home country. You will not be allowed airside beyond the international check in without a valid passport that covers you. Check your passport now and apply for your visa.
For the USA The U.S. Department of State recommends your passport have at least six months of validity—beyond your actual travel date…….. The normal rule for most countries is that they require you to have three months from your actual travel date before your passport expires.
Do I need a visa?
A visa is a conditional authorization granted by a country to a foreigner, allowing them to enter, remain within, or to leave that country. A visa will always have a set time limit, usually two years.
- For visitors to the USA the ESTA visa is mandatory. The visa does not take long to process and anyone can apply online. There is a small fee and the visa lasts for two years.
- When travelling, always check the visa requirements from your home country to any overseas destination to rnsure you comply with any requirements.
- Do not leave your visa application until the last minute. Hold ups might put your whole trip at risk.
If you want to know more about what the ESTA visa is and what it involves, there is a very good post outlining it here. We also recommend you print off your visa documentation.
Book Your Flight in Good Time
We booked our seats months ahead as we are visiting from New Zealand. BlogPaws is not hosted at a peak time for seasonal holidays in the USA but your own local holidays or festivals can trip up plans and restrict flight options.
Booking well ahead means you, or your travel agent, can work on the best deals on flights. Once you have your flight booked, make sure your documentation is printed off. Carry a copy with you while you are travelling. Pet Conference Travel Tips
Best Conference Travel Tips 3
Airport Tips and Tricks
It pays to arrive early for the airport check in. Although most airport procedures are becoming more automated, international check in and security will still provide your longest waiting times. Airport security procedures vary from country to country but the intention is to ensure your safety and wellbeing, even if it doesn’t seem so at the time. Smile at the staff in uniform, they do this all day and the work can’t always be fun.
The check-in queues will appear to stretch forever and look overwhelming, unless you are travelling business class. Take a calming breath and locate the airline desk for your flight number and airline. Then join the end of that line. If you are not sure you picked the right place to queue, ask the people in front of you if they are heading to the same destination or flight number as you are.
- TIP International flights will have several desks open when the time comes for you to check in. The queue does clear much more quickly than you fear. The wait can still seem long, so this when your trusty book, ereader or iPod will help pass the time until it’s your turn. Have your documentation ready. This makes things much faster and the people behind you will thank you. Then hand over your suitcase and paperwork, get your carry on bag checked, and you are on your way.
Once you are checked in, you will be allowed ‘airside’ at the time specified by the airline. This will be approximately two hours before your flight takes off (but times vary). This wait is when you can indulge in a bit of ‘duty free’ chocolate, or find an extra book to read.
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Security at check in
To get to the departure lounge you pass through one of the most important parts of the airport. Security. From our previous travel experience we suggest the following as best practice pre-flight conference travel tips:
- Anything metal you are wearing will need to go into a tray and pass through the X-ray machine. This might include shoes, belts and jewellery.
- Scanned items always include cameras, mobile telephones and laptops. On our previous trips to Europe and the USA laptops and electronics had to be taken out of bags and run through the scanner separately.
- Ignore any exciteable children around you. Their parents have them all the time, you should only suffer them for a short period of time. Be kind.
- If you have a metal implant you may need confirmation from your doctor, in letter form. [I have a titanium rod from a motorcycle accident.]
What’s In Your Conference Blogger’s Kit?
As well as what to wear, you need decide what to take in your conference working kit. A balance of writing materials, notebooks and technology is good. Turn off the laptop unless you are desperate to use it while travelling. Take a break from the computer screen for a while. Remember to plan for any gifts you will be giving to blogging friends. Small branded items make a lovely memento, or if you are a crafter, making personalised gifts is a lovely option.
As for stationery, I find it tough to leave anything behind, but can’t find room for 200 coloured pencils and fine liners, plus glue sticks and stickers. So it’s decision time! What do I need? Can I make up any shortfall at a stationery shop close to the conference?
For Kansas City I can say a definite yes to making up the shortfall. World famous crayon and pencil company Crayola has a store very close to the BlogPaws venue. Their online shop gives you some idea of the range. There is also a Artist and Craftsman Supply, and Blick store not too far away. Paper Source has a collection of desirable must have’s for paper and planner lovers.
You will probably have a lot of your blogging materials on the flight with you. Your laptop, notebook, camera, and writing materials should all fit in your carry on luggage. This slips easily under your seat or in the overhead locker. Sit back and relax, you are on your way to an amazing international conference along with dozens of other pet blogging people.
I’m Here at BlogPaws! What Now?
Your BlogPaws conference organisers have found the ideal hotel for your travels. Once you step through the door you can relax and know that everything is taken care of.
You are amongst friends. You may even recognise several of your blog friends in the foyer. Find your room, unpack your luggage, then let fun can begin.
See you at BlogPaws in Kansas City!