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7 Educator Tips for Going to a Conference

Are you attending any conferences this summer? I’m writing this at the end of May and the next few months are full of travel to events around the United States. As a frequent traveler — I’m writing this post on an airplane today — I thought I’d share some of my favorite teacher conference tips with readers. 

It’s been more than a decade of attending and presenting at conferences for me. If you scroll through the calendar on my events page you can see hundreds of events. These have taken me to dozens of states and a handful of countries. Attending a conference can be an exhilarating experience. There are opportunities for learning, networking, and professional growth. 

However, the hustle and bustle of conference days can also be exhausting and overwhelming if you’re not properly prepared. Are you a seasoned conference-goer or attending your first event? Having a few essential items and strategies can make a significant difference in your overall experience.

7 Educator Tips for Going to a Teacher Conference

In this post, I’ll share seven practical tips to help you make the most out of your conference adventures. These tips can help ensure you stay comfortable, energized, and ready to soak up the valuable information headed your way.

Infographic titled "7 Educator Tips for Going to a Conference" featuring essential items for teachers to bring, such as purse snacks, chargers, business cards, hydration plan, sleep mask, hand lotion, and comfy shoes. Visit for more information.

Purse snacks

On busy conference days, I often find myself searching for something to eat. Sometimes I can’t find a spot for a quick lunch, or I’m just not happy with the options. I often joke about my “purse snacks” although they are usually in a small bag in my backpack. Here are a few you’re likely to find in my bag:

  • Breakfast bars – Right now this chocolate chip one and this strawberry one are in heavy rotation
  • Olives – I love these snack packs and usually grab a bunch on a Trader Joe’s run
  • Fruit strips These are tasty and take up very little room
  • Apple sauce – Although it might look a little silly, I’m always happy when I remember I packed one of these. And I’ve never had an issue bringing a few through airport security to last me a few days at a conference


Charging all of my devices before heading out for a conference day is a must. But I want to be prepared for anything. In addition to bringing a wall charger for my phone and laptop (like this one), a portable charger is on my packing list. Here is one charger to consider this year and I even gave a few portable chargers for holiday presents.

Business cards

It might feel a bit old school to have business cards on hand. However, I’m always happy when I remember to throw some in my bag. If I’m at a conference that has a badge in a plastic cover I usually put a few behind the name tag. Placing them on the side facing in makes it easy to grab one to give to someone and I don’t have to awkwardly fish through my bag.

In addition to having some to give out to a person you’re chatting with, if any cards come your way:

  • Tuck them all in one spot, like a front pocket of your bag or in your name tag
  • Snap a picture ASAP in case you lose it
  • Add a reminder on your calendar to follow up with anyone you meet for a few days after the conference

Hydration plan

It’s easy to lose track of time during a conference and realize you have drank a lot less water than you had planned. I love my extra small Nalgene which doesn’t take up too much space or weigh down my bag. I also carry my favorite tea bags with me at a conference. So if I find an opportunity to grab hot water I don’t have to worry about choosing a tea bag from a bin of options. Another favorite on my “hydration plan” is bringing something extra like a few Liquid IV packets. I’m always glad I packed these if I’m feeling run down.

Sleep mask 

This sleep mask has become a must have travel item for me. Not only is it super useful on an airplane but I love having it as an option to use if I’m not sleeping too great in a hotel room. I’ve spent oodles of nights in hotel rooms. But I still find that a sleep mask can make the extra difference in staying comfortable.

Hand lotion

Similar to having a hydration plan, I find that conference centers are often heavy on the air circulation. This can make it a pretty dry environment. This is one of my go to hand lotions to have in my bag for when I’m feeling a little extra dry. There are plenty of travel-sized options to choose from.

Comfy shoes

Sometimes at a conference I through an extra pair of shoes or sandals in my bag, particularly if I know it is going to be a long day. Having comfortable shoes is important and if you’ve seen me out and about at a conference this past year, you might have seen me in sneakers or a pair of loafers. At 5’2″ I do like to have the extra height of wearing heels if I’m standing on a stage, but most of the day at a conference you can find me in comfier shoes.

Getting Ready for Your Next Teacher Conference

These are essential items on my list and I hope the tips will help you navigate any conference with ease and confidence. From staying hydrated and energized to ensuring comfort during long days, these strategies will help you make the most of your time and maximize the benefits of attending professional events. One bonus tip to add to the list, bring layers — I always find it’s colder or warmer than I would like it to be in conference spaces.

Conferences are a fantastic way to expand your knowledge, connect with fellow educators, and gain new ideas to bring back to your classroom, school or district. Don’t forget to check out my calendar to see where I’ll be speaking and attending events next. My schedule is pretty full, and I would love the opportunity to connect with you in person at a teacher conference!

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Blog Author and EdTech Consultant Dr. Monica Burns

Monica Burns

Dr. Monica Burns is a former classroom teacher, Author, Speaker, and Curriculum & EdTech Consultant. Visit her site for more ideas on how to become a tech-savvy teacher.

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