The FGS 2014 Conference in San Antonio is just a few weeks away. Whether this is your first conference or your 10th conference, there are things you can do now to insure that you make the most of your trip. Here are just a few tips.
BEFORE YOU GO
- Plan your schedule. If you have not already done so, select the sessions and workshops that you plan to attend and plan your schedule. If there are several sessions at the same time that you want to attend, the second one can be your backup in case the first session room is full. If you want to attend a workshop, make sure you’ve registered early to reserve your seat for the session. Workshops often have limited seating and you may not be able to register on-site.
- Check out the Exhibit Hall information online. You will be able to pick up a Site Guide once you arrive at the conference, however, reviewing the list of exhibitors ahead of time gives you a chance to plan your strategy for visiting the Exhibit Hall once it opens. You can also access the Exhibit Hall map and directory from the FGS mobile app on your tablet or smartphone.
- Take your Tree. Make sure you have your family tree data accessible on your mobile device or laptop.
- Buy tickets for luncheons and special events. Plan which luncheons and special events you want to attend and purchase your tickets in advance. Visit the Institute of Texan Cultures or spend A NIght in Old San Antonio. These activities are a great place to meet other genealogists, but they also allow you to relax a little during the hustle and bustle of the conference.
THINGS TO BRING
- Comfortable clothes and shoes. Dressing in layers will help you deal with the often fluctuating room temperatures found at large hotels or convention centers. You’ll be walking a lot, so comfy shoes are a must!
- Business cards and/or address labels. Business cards with your name and contact information make it easy to stay connected with your new friends. Many genealogists also include the surnames they are researching on the back of the business card. Some attendees print out a list of address labels. Often vendors will have drawings and ask you to fill out a ticket; instead of having to fill out a ticket, just use one of your address labels!
- Tools to take notes. Pens, pencils, highlighters, paper, clipboard, folder, smartphone, tablet – take whatever you will need to allow you to take notes during the conference. Use a pen and paper to takes notes? Then bring extra pens. If you use your smartphone or tablet, make sure that it is fully charged each morning. Plus you can use your smartphone or tablet to take photos of friends as well. Remember, taking photos and videos during presentations is not permitted. Check out the FGS Photography Policy for details.
- Curiosity and a smile! Conferences are great places to catch up with old friends. They also present a wonderful opportunity to make new friends. Talk to the person sitting next to you at lunch or in a session. You just might run into someone who can help you break down that brick wall. You could also meet a cousin or two. If you’re a society member or officer, use this as an opportunity connect with other society leaders to share information and swap ideas.
ONCE YOU’RE THERE
- Check-in as soon as you can. Check-in at the registration table as soon as you can and pick up your conference bag. The bag contains your onsite guide, tickets for luncheons or workshops, and other materials. The guide includes the schedule of lectures including room assignments. It also has maps of the Convention Center to help you find your way around. Checking in early gives you time to review this information and plan your strategy to help you make the most out of your conference experience. Registration opens Tuesday, August 26, at 3:00 p.m. and is open each day.
- Get to sessions early. Some session rooms will fill quickly, so be sure to arrive early to insure you have a seat. Just a few extra minutes presents a little more time to network!
- Visit the Exhibit Hall. Check the On Site Guide for a schedule of demonstrations and presentations that will be given on the two stages inside the Exhibit Hall. Product demonstrations and more will be presented by vendors and selected presenters during regular Exhibit Hall hours. Visit the vendors booths to learn about the latest solutions for genealogists; visit the Society Showcase to learn more about the benefits of belonging to a genealogical society. The schedule for these presentations will be posted on the blog closer to the conference.
- Visit San Antonio. Don’t forgot to check out the sites in San Antonio. The River Walk by the convention center and conference hotels will let you take a quick break from the conference and enjoy a little taste of San Antonio at the same time.
The FGS 2014 Conference is just a few weeks ago. There is so much to see and do in just a few days. Planning ahead will help you maximize your experience!
Watch for more tips about things to do in San Antonio in the coming days.