Book Expo America and Book Blogger Convention 2010 tour posts to drum up excitement and provide practical advice to attendees. Today, I'm going on the assumption that you ARE going to BEA and BBC because it is the biggest BOOK PARTY in NYC (May 25-28).
1. First order of business is RESERVE your hotel room NOW through BEA's discount program. These rooms will go fast.
If you prefer, there is a hostel in New York City, check out The Zen Leaf's pros and cons post.
2. Second, pick a mode of transportation to NYC. Depending on how close you are and how much you dislike airport security, you may want to consider Amtrak because the costs are lower, the security is smoother, and the trip allows you to read a book. If you have AAA, you can get a discount on travel and BEA indicates Amtrak will give you as a BEA participant a 10 percent discount on the lowest fares.
Traveling from D.C. to NYC last year by train was smooth, and the train drops you in Penn Station, which is right near the NYC subway, making it convenient for getting to your hotel destination.
3. Third, if you plan to arrive earlier than the beginning of the conference, plan out what sights you want to see. Whether it is the Statue of Liberty or Strawberry Fields, having a plan makes it easier. But in addition to sights, make sure you check out the areas where you plan to visit to see what restaurants are available. I always make a plan of places I want to eat, especially near famous landmarks and museums. Makes it easier to grab some good grub, in budget, when you find that you are ravenous!
BEA does offer discounts on event tickets and monuments, and according to the Web site, there will be additional incentives for food places as well.
4. Fourth, pack your bags! Imagine a book connoisseur who also loves photography. You can imagine what this individual (ahem, me!) would take with her on vacation. I have a digital SLR Nikon, which I failed to take last year, but you can bet that won't be happening again this year. This will require not only charged batteries and a charger, but also an additional long-range lens and cleaning paraphernalia. Good thing I have a backpack case for all this stuff. Will I bring it all? Not sure, but I know I need a plan.
Traveling by train or plane will give you time to read, which means you will want to bring books. BUT remember why you are going to BEA -- networking and BOOKS! I suggest you pick 2 likely candidates or 1 chunkster, but not more than that. YOU won't have time! From the moment your feet hit the ground, you will be running and excited and overwhelmed.
I also tend to pack clothes that are versatile. Clothes that present well, but are casual and comfortable. Docker slacks, nice t-shirts, and a few blouses . . . and of course, as you've heard COMFORTABLE FOOTWEAR! I have a foot problem, which means I only wear sneakers because dress shoes aggravate me.
5. Fifth, While in the city, you want to make sure you have a transportation plan. Do you want to pay hefty cab fares over the course of a week? I know I don't, and I didn't. Anna and I took the subway and the bus last year, which was made simple with the NYC MetroCard.
We bought day passes, since we only attended about 1.5 days of BEA last year, but this year, I'll be picking up the $27 7-day Unlimited Ride MetroCard (click to see where you can buy these cards), which means all trips are covered for seven days and bus ride transfers are covered as well! Great deal for sight seeing and for getting to and from the Javits.
There are shuttle bus routes at a variety of hotel spots throughout the area that take you to Javits as well. I tend to prefer the freedom of the subway because I don't have to worry to much about timetables.
Must-Have items on your trip to BEA and BBC:
1. Book(s) to occupy travel time.
2. Rolling suitcase with minimal clothes and enough room for books on the way back.
3. Comfortable shoes and clothes.
4. Business cards; I got mine from MOO, and I LOVE them.
5. Plan for tackling the autographing lines and BEA/BBC events.
6. Camera for those photo ops with other bloggers, authors, and more.
7. Water/Snacks/Gum or Mints to keep you refreshed.
8. Spending money for food, sight seeing, and nights out.
9. Tote bag to carry all those ARCs, Galleys, and books.
10. Notebook and pen/recorder to make sure you remember everything you want to blog about.
I hope this advice helps and that I will see all or most of you there! If anyone wants to meet up while in NYC, I'm all for it.
FTC Disclosure: I am not affiliated with MOO, but really recommend their business card services because my business cards came out AWESOME.