How to prepare for the ASHA Convention - and what to pack!

I don't know about you, but I'm eagerly anticipating the 2016 ASHA Convention this week!  The 2015 convention in Denver was my first, and while it was a hectic trip, it was a great time.  I want to share with you some of my best tips for surviving - and thriving - at the ASHA Convention!


My number 1 tip?  Wear comfortable shoes.  Seriously, you will be walking MILES between your hotel, sessions, exhibit hall, and restaurants.  I literally walked a hole in my tennis shoes last year in Denver!  Make sure to have a back up pair, just in case.

As far as clothing, for the average convention attendee, business casual is fine.  Dressy jeans or nice pants and a top are perfectly appropriate.  If you plan on interviewing or are presenting, definitely dress up, but otherwise, whatever you are comfortable in and would normally wear to work is perfectly appropriate.

I would definitely recommend a light jacket or sweater, because many of the rooms can be quite chilly.


I like to browse the Program Planner (sent to many attendees via mail in advance) to look at each time slot I have available and what topics I am interested in.  I usually have 2-3 that sound appealing to me based on my current caseload, and I will highlight those.  I also look for some of my favorite speakers in the field.  I try to narrow it down from there, keeping in mind that some popular sessions might fill up and I'll need a second choice option.


Be aware that you likely will not have reliable wi-fi service during the sessions.  I like to download session handouts in the morning to my iPad, using the Notability app.  I also carry an old fashioned notebook in my tote bag, as well as a water bottle and snacks.

In most sessions, the chairs will be close together, and there won't be much room for a laptop.  If you prefer to take notes electronically, I would suggest an iPad and keyboard instead.


Make sure to allow for plenty of time at the Exhibit Hall!  In fact, I usually like to stop in for a bit each day, because it's just so huge and overwhelming.  Make sure to stop by the SLP Blogger Booth #514, where you can find me and 13 of my blogging buddies!  Here is when you can see me:


Don't forget to pack a portable battery charger!  You will run through your phone battery very quickly.

Make sure you have some snacks in your bag.  Lines for nearby restaurants can get VERY long, and you may end up having to choose between getting a lunch or missing the first part of a session you may be really interested in.

Also, if you're like me and completely directionally challenged, download the Citymapper app.  They have a version for Philadelphia that seems very helpful, as well as several other major cities.


There was a coat/bag check last year in Denver, which was handy, but they only took cash.  Make sure to have enough on hand if you plan on using the service!

Be friendly!  There are many SLPs you will see at ASHA that are by themselves or may not know anyone in line or at your session.  Take advantage of this to make new connections and friends!

Tell me, is there anything I forgot to include?


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