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RWA survival tips set #1

Since this Romance Writers Association conference in LA will be my third, I’m going to be all helpful and share a few things I learned during #1 (in Florida) and #2 (in New York).

Yes, strictly off the cuff and strictly my experiences.

1. Travel plans.

You know, the getting there and getting back. I noticed today on Twitter that Angela James was suggesting the very smart move of booking airport/hotel shuttle now. Yes– plan it out.  To add my perspective? While I’m TOTALLY about taking the cheap/inexpensive route 9 times out of 10, I have to admit that I now budget for a taxi ride/pay more for parking closer to the terminal.

If you can afford it, here’s my rational. I have to drive 3 hours to get to the closest airport, and since I’m coming from Canada, include in crossing the US/Canada border. I then drop the car, hop on at least two planes (smaller airport–never a direct flight) to arrive at the other end. By now, depending on where I fly to, I’ve been on the road for a hellava long time.

After that marathon? The hotel shuttle in Florida took over 1 1/2 hours to arrive/drop us off in turn. For pickup for my 6am flight home, the shuttle arrived at 3:30am. That’s the night that after the Ritas were done, I took my packed bags (I didn’t want to disturb my roommates) and parked myself with all my gear with Ann Aguirre who also had a horrific shuttle pickup time.

Now, the upside of that staying up all night talking was Ann and I are now BFF, and room together at all conferences, but still… a Taxi ride? $20 more for a couple hours more sleep= WIN in my books. Find someone to share a cab with, even more WIN.

(That’s also the trip that after I landed, caught the shuttle to the park and ride and headed home, I GOT LOST and added an hour to my drive time. I was so tired.)

Plan to make it there and back in one piece. A couple extra bucks can be worth it.

2. In the hotel. 

Okay, you’ve been in a hotel before. You’ve done the elevators, you know about how long it takes to get places. *shakes head in disbelief* No, no you do NOT know, unless you’ve been to one of these places when it’s full of people. There is no…”I’ll just dash up to my room to pick up XYZ”. When you leave your room, take what you need with you, or plan a good hour break to leave the conference area, go to your room and return. Longer if you are prone to nap attacks.

The good part of this? You really don’t NEED to take a lot of anything with you. Stick your business cards in the back of your name tag, some money in your pocket. If you’re a note taker and plan to attend the various sessions, a small notebook in your purse. Check which of the sessions are taped, and you don’t even have to take notes on those– you can concentrate on watching faces and people.

I love people watching.

3. In the hotel part two.

The bathrooms, they are always NOT where you wish they were. 😀 Find then before you need them. Especially if you’re wearing “RWA conference shoes.”

There are usually coffee machines in the rooms, but the creamer is ICK and the sugar, not much there. And if you plan to hit Starbucks? Get up early, baby, that’s all I’m saying. Wait–no, I’m also saying this. Best. Idea. Ever. I bought a set of the instant Starbucks coffees, brought my own sugar/cream and had fabulous mornings because of it. Substitute tea if you’re a tea drinker.

Also–my brilliant roomie started me on this one. Bring a box of granola bars/or nuts or something so you can have a healthy snack when you need it.

That’s it for today. I’ll toss a few more at you in a bit.


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9 years ago

Awesome tips! I have some protein bars already (have blood sugar problems), but hadn’t thought about bringing my own coffee fixings. I need a leisurely cup or two before I should be around people.

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