I’ve been travelling a great deal lately, and I’ve tried to make the most it. Here’s my top 10 tips for flying off to conventions.

  • Carry-on luggage only. No need to worry about waiting time and lost luggage.
  • Never pack more than one pair of – comfortable – shoes.
  • Take off your belt and put the contents of your pockets in your bag before going through security. Saves you the time and the humiliation of having to fumble with keys and loose coins while people are waiting for you.
  • Bring a book! Great for passing time on the flight – and even standing in line at the airport. Give the book away once you’ve read it, less to carry home.
  • Sort business cards in useful and useless! Take notes on the cards, follow up by email or Facebook to important people, so you keep each other in mind.
  • Leave wallet and home keys at the hotel, carry only credit card and loose cash around.
  • Don’t bring too many of your own publications for sale etc. Psychologically it’s better to sell out than to carry half your load back home with you.
  • If you have to bring a laptop, get the lightest one they have. An iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch can do most of what you need to do on the road anyway.
  • Prepare. If you know there’s someone you want to meet, Google their photo, so you know what they look like if you spot them at the convention.
  • Set specific goals to what you need to do. Be realistic. Better to write down “talk to three publishers” than “sell my book”. When you set achievable goals, you’ll go home feeling good about yourself and won’t worry so much about whether it was worth the trip.

Bonus tip: Non US-citizens; remember to bring your passport when going out! In some places they require this as ID, which I recently found out in New York.

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