Philadelphia City Hall has a wide open space in the middle, like a courtyard.
Well, I made it to Philly, even with the nor’easter on its way. Several colleagues have reported that their flights were canceled and can’t rebook for another day or two. I am so thankful I arrived safe and sound. My first flight was only delayed about 20 minutes which made my connection a little tight. Many schools have already reported closings for tomorrow, Wednesday 3/21/18, and I have seen some museum closings. So far I have just seen a small accumulation of snow but it is very heavy and wet.
I decided to take the SEPTA train into the City Center because A) it was inexpensive ($6.75 one way), B) it was a 30-minute ride, and C) and the train comes every 30 minutes. It was delayed about 45 minutes or more due to the snow.
I took the SEPTA train (my first experience riding a train solo) to City Center and I got off at the Jefferson Station, which is adjacent to the hotel which is adjacent to the convention center. I was thrilled when I learned these were all together! That means when I go to leave, it’ll be pretty easy to get back to the airport. I overheard some other librarians heading to the same hotel so I asked if I could follow along. They said sure and so about 10 of us made our way to the hotel to check in. Librarians are so friendly.
My roomie and I went and had dinner at an Irish Pub and now we are settling in for the night. Tomorrow is a pretty busy day starting at 9:30am and ending at 9:00pm.
There has been a lot of weather warnings for Philadelphia. The city is likely going to be hit with a nor’easter. I was hoping I was done with snow for the year. Alas, I have packed my winter boots, hat, gloves, and scarf.
I am a librarian so of course, I did a lot of research on what to pack and what to expect. This is my first national conference so that means I had to scale up what I know from attending the WAPL and WLA conferences in Wisconsin.
Here’s what I learned in my research:
- Pack more business cards than you think you need
- Pack clothing in one color scheme so things mix ‘n’ match and you can minimize the number of shoes you bring (I have three with me: black flats, winter boots, tennis shoes)
- Pack clothing that can be layered. Conference hall temps are notoriously irregular.
- Pack comfortable shoes; there will be a lot of walking
- Pack snacks and an empty water bottle (unless you like buying $5 bottles of water at the airport)
- Pack for carry-on only which makes it impossible (hopefully) for the airline to lose your luggage. Ok, my bags are bursting at the seams but I made it work (see pic above).
- Bring an extension cord. People will love you
- Bring address labels for the exhibit hall (this might be an old tip but I grabbed some just in case)
- Plug hotel address into phone. Yay, the hotel is connected to the convention center via a walkway
- Write a 30-second intro speech (What do I want people to remember about me?)
- Hand sanitizer because it’s still cold & flu season (and I’m totally wiping down the hotel room remote with some sanitizer when I get in)
- Pick 2-3 sessions per session time to attend. The ones you planned on may be dry/not what you are looking for, they may be full, or you may not be able to get there in time, depending on how spaced out session rooms are (this may be more of an ALA thing. The Philadelphia Convention Center looks to be one huge, 3 block long building)
- Tweet #PLA2018
- Type your final conference report up on the flight back. If you wait, you will be putting out fires back at the office and your report will go on the back burner
I can’t believe I leave for Philadelphia in nine days. I have a few things in order for the trip including:
- New pair of walking shoes! I heard the exhibit hall is huge and I plan to do some sight seeing so I wanted comfy shoes.
- I grabbed a poster tube to bring with me to transport back any posters that catch my eye. I’m not planning on bringing back a lot of ARCs. My back is not strong enough to haul those around and let’s face it, I never get around to reading them all!
- I’ve got two lunches, one breakfast, and one dinner planned. The rest I will figure out once I am there.
- Haven’t decided which sessions to attend. I put out a call to our member libraries to ask if they would like me to attend any sessions on their behalf. I heard back from about 10 people and I have quite a wish list to sort through!
- 10-day forecast. Looks like it’s going to be the type of Spring weather I am used to here in WI. It’s going to be in the 40s-50s. I’ll wear layers just in case.
Full confession: I have never taken a business trip that required flying. I choose driving over flying or taking a train. I think it’s related to my anxiety and the fear that I will miss a connection or lose my bag.
I am not afraid to fly. In fact, I have been on an airplane a number of times to go to Las Vegas twice, Mexico three times, and to Jamaica. The difference here is that I had a travel partner that did most of the navigating for me.
Going to Philidelphia will be my first solo work trip via air. I booked my flight and I will have one layover on the way there and a direct flight on the way back. I haven’t decided if I will check a bag or if I will squish everything I need into a carryon. It’s 5-nights though so I am leaning toward checking a bag.
I learned from my roomie that Philadelphia has a flat rate set for taking passengers from the airport to City Center. At least I know what to expect there. P.S. I have also never hailed a taxi or used Uber/Lyft. So many firsts for me on this trip.