AOTA 2020 Conference in Boston can’t come soon enough! This year Purpose has a booth (insert heart eyes) #615. Conference is always a magical time to continue falling in love with Occupational Therapy, network with like-minded souls and see the latest innovation to share with the world (I can’t wait to see Tommy Hilfiger’s adaptive line!). Ali and I attended AOTA for the Centennial in 2017 with our class and had so much fun. Here is a comprehensive list from my experience of navigating conference the first time, hopefully some of the tips will make it easier for you to pack!
General information: The average temperature in Boston during March/April according to last year: As high as 60s during the day but as low as 30s at night! So if you are planning to go to conference during the day and then explore Boston, (click here for recommended places to visit) make sure you pack warm clothes.
1. Comfy Shoes!
Cannot emphasis this enough! There are so many incredible booths, poster sessions, speaker sessions and events to go to you will rarely be sitting down. Cost effective ways to make your current shoes more sustainable are insole inserts and for heels – these guys! I have worn these multiple times when I wear heels to present and they are truly life saving! Always remember you have to pack functionally!
2. Hair ties
You seem to have them everywhere EXCEPT for when you need them. I recently discovered spiral hair ties and they are life changing! First they don’t leave any marks in your hair.. so if you curl your hair for conference and then put it up mid-day, when you take it out in the evening it is still perfect. I wear these to work all the time too! Say goodbye to the dreadful ponytail crease FOREVER.
3. Business Casual Clothes
I remember I had no clue what to pack, especially when there would be potential grad schools I wanted to talk with and travel therapy reps. I packed mainly business attire.. dress pants ect. But I wish I would have packed business casual clothes instead. Colored jeans are always cute paired with an OT tee! Wear what makes you confident and be sure to stop by our booth and a get a picture at our photo station.
4. Battery Charger
There is always terrible service and few outlets at trade shows which takes a toll on your phone battery! I always make sure to have a power bank charger that I can plug my phone into if needed. You can never be too prepared- we used my phone for Uber rides, looking up directions, and trying to connect with people via social media. This year I am trying out a battery charging case for my phone, hoping that will help with the long days running the booth. Below are two examples of what I have used before- they fit perfectly in my phone or bag give your device up to 3 extra charges!
5. Business Card Holder
All of my organization dreams are a reality with this holder! Having a business card holder makes it extremely easy to organize and separate the new contacts you will be receiving. I had mine sorted into education/cool resources, Grad schools, travel companies and people. I also recommend taking a couple seconds after you receive the business card and writing on it a few notes to help you remember! AOTA conference is expected to draw nearly 10,000 people this year.. talking to that many people will make your brain go to mush. Writing a few descriptions on the back of the card will keep you on track and also will set you apart when you reach out after conference.
6. Extra room!
Trade shows in general always have some freebie items (pens/pamphlets/folders..ect) you want to make sure to save room to take them home. Don’t forget you will get an AOTA Official welcome bag when you register too so you are able to carry all your essentials when browsing through. Didn’t pack enough room? We have been there.. If you visit our booth and purchase a shirt from our new OT Apparel line let us know and we can ship it to your house for free!
SEE YOU AT BOOTH #615 IN BOSTON!
What are your must have travel essentials? Let us know in the comments!