Tips on Attending a food blogging conference

***DISCLAIMER: I have been giving a discount on registration in exchange for writing 3 blogs on my experiences at the International Food Blogger Conference (IFBC). This is the first of the 3 blogs. ***

My solo trip to Sacramento in late July will be to attend my 5th food blogging conference.  I have learned a lot since my first conference in New Orleans. I wanted to pass on some advice to those who have never attended one or if this is your first conference.

  1. Take two suitcases. A small one in a larger one. Food conferences do not disappoint with the swag. The first year I had to leave a lot in my hotel room. One year I thought I brought a big enough suitcase but I di not and had to mail my swag home. Last year I wised up and brought a carry on bag in a medium sized suitcase. Packed my swag in the bigger bag that was checked for free and had my carry on filled with clothes and swag I did not want to pack. So I will do the same this year.
  2. Take lots of business cards. You hear this advise all the time so I will repeat it. You will hopefully make lots of contacts at the conference. My cards are pretty simple blog name, and social media icons that I am active. You can get great cards from Moo, Vistaprint and there are others. Pick a design you like or create your own. But bring a lot.  

  3. Network, Network, Network. This is the hardest part of attending conferences. I consider myself a shy person so I find it hard to do that. One trick I do is to go over the list of attendees. Review the blogs and other social media and make notes of some of the bloggers or speakers I want to meet. And then, I go for it. Making my way to talk to bloggers. Remember you have something in common, food. GO for it and don’t be shy. I once bought a book on how to work a room and that didn’t workout. So skip the books and just mingle.
  4. If there are separate excursions, go on one. They are great for getting to know the area and a chance to learn new things, meet new people on a smaller scale and maybe for blog inspiration. 
  5. Take notes. I always carry a moleskin and write down ideas during the sessions. I end up writing on the plane ride home. 

  6. Take lots of pictures. It is all about the food so make sure you have plenty of space on your smart phone or camera. I used to take my DSLR and my smartphone but now I am all about the smartphone. There are lots of fun apps so down load a few or ask some of the attendees what they use.    
  7. Have fun! Explore. Try a restaurant that you have read about, see the sights if time permits. I usually schedule a day to myself to explore  and walk around.
  8. Keep it simple, at least with technology. I used to bring cameras, iPads, a computer and a smartphone. I have lightened the load and only bring my iPad and iPhone. I can write and upload photos from both of those devices. It saves me some time in the process.   

I wanted to have 10 tips to share but I only came up with 8. I’m sure others can add to this. 

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