How to Get Organized for a Conference or Excursion
Many people in their 60s continue to attend workshops and classes to enhance their professional talents, learn new skills, network with others or experience the fun of a cooking class or a travel program.
The class could be an hour-long presentation at the local library or a week-long conference across the country. Here are some tips for the longer excursions.
Prepare a Notebook
I purchased several ½-inch binders and a box of clear sheet protectors from an office supply store. Each binder is designated for one conference or traveling adventure.
I would print the cover page from the conference home page and insert it in the sleeve on the front cover of the binder. I add several empty protector sheets and fill as necessary to follow the itinerary.
The first page contains travel documents, including airline schedules, airport transportation details and emergency contact numbers.
The second page contains the confirmation from the hotel. I learned the hard way to always remember the name of the place where I was staying. After getting lost in a foreign city, I finally found a taxi but couldn’t remember the name of my hotel.
The older I get, it seems my memory isn’t as sharp as it used to be, so I need to keep copies of every travel document handy. I know I can add the details to my phone, but there are times I’m not within cell phone coverage or the battery is low.
Entertainment Tickets and Vouchers
When traveling alone to a large city, I check the current performances and venues before I leave home. It’s often easy to find a single ticket for major shows.
On a recent business trip to New York City, I was able to secure a single orchestra-center ticket to the Broadway musical of Hamilton. I printed the ticket and placed it in the folder.
Conference or Travel Itinerary
Conference itineraries are usually included at the event’s website, but it’s handy to have a printed copy so I can review it on the airplane or write notes on the pages. I also include names and contact information of people I need to meet.
If I’m speaking at a conference, I’ll print the entire presentation in 18-point type so it’s easy to glance at the text as I speak.
The last sleeve holds miscellaneous details: the confirmation of registration for the conference, my biography, business cards, related email correspondence and brochures about local attractions. I also include a space for business cards and handouts from other speakers and attendees.
After returning from a conference, I make sure I’ve added necessary contract information and write a list with any follow up assignments.
I keep the binder on a shelf with others from past retreats, workshops, tours and speeches. I’ve attended several conferences over the years, and each binder contains information I can use.
After a career that included regular business traveling, I’ve learned that it’s not necessary to stress about fashion. Shoes are heavy and take up valuable space, so I usually wear one pair and take two. I take clothes that can be washed in a sink and hung to dry, and if I buy a garment I leave one.
Outfits are coordinated and include skirts, pants and tops that can be rolled up in a carry-on case. I wear a jacket that doubles as a coat. In a backpack, I carry my notebook, a purse, makeup, toiletries, iPhone, laptop computer, iPad and all the necessary chargers.
Over the years, I’ve adjusted my travel routine to accommodate my age. I don’t wear high heels because they hurt my feet, and I do not care much for tripping and twisting an ankle. I wear prescription eyeglasses and hearing aids because I need them.
My backpack contains two medications I take for minor ailments, and I no longer request a room on the hotel’s top floor because I want to get out quickly in case of emergency.
I’m mostly retired but continue to travel as much as possible. Attending conferences, workshops and tours gives me an energy boost and helps me learn new technology I need for writing and blogging.
My shelf full of notebooks is a personal travelogue full of important instructions, places and people, and I’m grateful for each adventure. Well into my 60s, I’m not ready yet to stop learning and traveling, and I encourage others to have notebooks ready to fill.
What are some local classes you enjoy attending? What do you remember about your favorite conferences and traveling adventures? How do you stay organized when you travel? Please share some insights and experiences below.