Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Medical Conference Travel Tips for the Med Spouse

September and October are jammed packed with Medical Conferences for us. In all honesty, the traveling has gotten to be a more than I care for. While I have accompanied Doc H on a couple of trips, he has been traveling mostly on his own. I prefer having him home with me at night. Even if I don't see him before I fall asleep, I find comfort knowing he'll turn off our bedroom TV for me after I've fallen asleep.

  1. Read the all the conference material yourself. This not only includes the conference meeting agenda, but also {and, by all means, more importantly} the conference social meeting plans.
  2. Don’t listen to your spouse regarding dress attire. Check the social meeting calendar. . . then kick it up a notch. Better to be a tad over dressed. The last Welcome Reception, I found myself to be the only gal in jeans {They were designer and pricey, but still}. Luckily, I have been to enough of these, that I really didn’t care.
  3. Check into the resort/hotel a day or two early. You’ll get the better rooms and the king beds. If you arrive the day the conference begins, rooms are slim pickings.
  4. Make sure your spouse registers you as a guest. Otherwise, you’re without a badge and no one can tell who you belong to. Personally, I felt like a party crasher.
  5. Bring plenty of one dollar bills. No, there will not be a Chippendale Revue {Unless your spouse would like to put on a private show for you. Doc H and I are beyond the age when any such shenanigans could be deemed sexy or safe to our over-all well being}. All the bellmen, wait staff, etc. will know you are a doctor/surgeon family. If they can help it, they won't give you anything smaller than a five dollar bill. I'm sorry, but if you're staying at a resort which only offers valet parking {no self-parking available}, I don't care to tip the bellman $5 every time they park or fetch the car.
  6. Spiff up your shoes. Take them to a cobbler for repairs if needed. Don't be fooled. People will be checking out your shoes.
  7. Pack your best stuff. Everyone else will. Even if it's a hiking outfit, make it your best hiking outfit.
  8. Be sure to wear articles of clothing that badges can clip to or you don’t mind putting a pin through the fabric.
  9. Wear the damn badge. It makes it so much easier for people to remember your name. It is quite likely you will be bumping into the same people a few times a year. It’s embarrassing to be acquainted with someone for years, and not know their first name, and constantly have to refer her as “you-know,- Dr. Johnson’s wife”. Carrying the name badge in your pocket, pulling it out, and flashing it when someone asks why you didn’t get one, isn’t helpful. . . at all.
  10. Be sure you are allowed to drive the rental car. You’ll be by yourself much of the time. You’ll want to be able to get out on your own.
  11. Don’t let your spouse hold onto the valet ticket for said rental. It does you no good sitting in his wallet during the conference.
  12. Do bring your kids to the conferences. We travel to some wonderful locations. 
  13. Don’t bring your energetic tots to the receptions. There’s nothing more harrowing than being in a standing room only reception and trying to keep your pinot noir in your glass rather than on your clothes as tots are running around beneath you, weaving between the crowds, giddy with pleasure. The poor mom. . . not so much.
  14. Bring along your hobbies or a good book. If you're traveling sans children, you'll have lots of down time. 
  15. Do neck exercises. You will be nodding along in agreement during conversations you know nothing about, care nothing about, or even turn your stomach a little.
  16. Be ready to smile a lot. Practice before hand if your cheeks tend to cramp up. Smiling goes hand-in-hand with #14.
  17. Be nice to all, even if you don’t particularly care for that person. It is likely that will be the person you end up sitting next to at tomorrow night’s dinner or in your afternoon fly-fishing excursion group.
  18. DO NOT sign up for the golf or tennis tournaments if you’re NOT super competitive. They are publicized as friendly and open to all levels, but don’t be fooled. These are people with a-type personalities, after all. Meet me at the spa or the nearest Starbucks.
  19. Pack a your own outlet splitter if you like your electronic devices as much as we do. There are never enough plugs at these resorts.
  20. If you don’t have personal hot spot, you’re in trouble.  Get one. It will mostly likely be cheaper than using the hotel's. 


  1. Ah, neck exercises. A useful warm-up for many social occasions, not just conferences.

  2. Ooh, #3. Good tip.

    And #6? Oh, you know I am *so* there.

  3. I used to be envious of the spouses at conferences, but now I feel thankful to be the one actually attending the conference. It sounds far less stressful!

  4. Hello, I have checked the all point her which is really great to follow. thanks!

  5. I think this is a great list for any spouse traveling to any conference - lots of good tips!

  6. I wanted to say hello. I've enjoyed your blog. Learned about you through SITS today. I think you have a great concept here. I am going to keep up. I, too, am in my 40s, but my kids are far from teens. Started late. I don't know if that should be a frown or smile somedays :):(


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