I just re-read the post I wrote on August 17, 2012 about traveling with your partner to a professional conference. It was simply entitled, “So, you want to take your significant other with you to a conference?” You can read the original post here.
Interestingly, this original post is my blog’s all-time most clicked on article. I like to think that is a testament to the fact that this topic can be a sticky wicket in a relationship, and people in the LIS community were seeking information about how to handle it. Regardless of the reasons why so many people have clicked on that particular post over the past three years, I hope that my advice was helpful to readers.
My intention today was to revise that post entirely. But, after re-reading it, I don’t really see anything to change. I can only add to the story with updates of more successful conference trips with my husband and new tips I have realized.
For reasons that I cannot completely remember now, my husband Josh did not accompany me to the SLA 2013 conference in San Diego. I think it was a combination of schedule and cost. We followed my own advice and realized that it just didn’t make sense for him to join me. That was the year that I also attended the BIALL conference in Glasgow and spent an exciting time criss-crossing both America and the Atlantic in order to attend both conferences back-to-back.
Josh did travel to Vancouver with me for SLA 2014. In fact, he was one of the closing session speakers! Interestingly, we traveled on different airlines at the same time to get there. So, that added another element of communication and coordination in order to meet up at the Vancouver airport before going through customs. We had access to the Executive Lounge in our hotel during that trip, so Josh had a great place to hang out during the day in addition to taking excursions on his own around the city. He even took a bicycle ride with then SLA President Kate Arnold’s husband, who accompanied her on that trip. My husband and I planned an extensive vacation after that conference. Organization was paramount on that trip, as we had many different reservations in multiple cities to keep track of.
Looking ahead, Josh is already booked to join me in Boston for SLA 2015. (June 14-16, see details here!) We both know the drill by now. Easy peasy.
Lastly, I will have MY first opportunity to be the tag-along spouse for my husband’s conference. I’m quite excited, actually, to be on the other side of this scenario for once. But, he need not worry. He know’s I’m a pro!
Miscellaneous new tips:
– If you are an award-winner at your respective conference, inquire with your association about what sort of pass a family member can qualify for in order to see you receive your award. The answer may just be that a family member can attend the award ceremony. But, if your significant other really wants an exhibit hall pass, see if you can get that approved.
– Unless you have other meetings or appointments, try to make time to have breakfast with your significant other before your busy conference day begins. One of my favorite moments of my SLA 2014 Vancouver trip was devouring lots of smoked salmon with my husband before I headed off to the convention center. It was the calm before the storm, and I was able to share a nice moment with Josh and tell him what I had in store for the day ahead. He would then brief me on what sightseeing he was going to do, then we parted ways with plans to meet up later at our designated spot.
– Help facilitate networking by bringing your significant other into the picture. I realized that there were some conference attendees who were interested in some areas of expertise my husband had. Conversely, I was made aware of colleagues or vendors who had knowledge about professional interests of my husband. I made sure to facilitate those connections in order to benefit everyone involved. If your significant other is going to make the trip with you, might as well let him/her benefit professionally from it as well, if applicable.
In closing, I really don’t have much else to update. I think my original post really says it all. As Chair of the SLA 2015 Annual Conference Advisory Council, not only do I encourage you attend the conference but also to bring your significant other if it will enhance the trip for you. Be Revolutionary with SLA in Boston, June 14-16 – the more, the merrier!