Efficient Traveling in 2018: Sanity-Saving Tips for Event Planners

January 30, 2018

Rich Vallaster

Rich Vallaster serves as the Director of Professional services at a2z Inc., where he mentors and coaches a diverse team of talented professionals, as well as actively manages strategic accounts and ensures client success. Rich has worked on both sides of the “booth,” from co-founding an annual conference and trade show to speaking and exhibiting at over a dozen shows a year.

Having just reviewed my numerous hotel and airline accounts, I was reminded of how much I traveled in 2017. Most of my trips were visiting and training clients, helping conduct booth sales or attending industry shows.

Event professionals spend a great deal of time on the road to prepare for and attend their events. Over the years, I have developed a few ways to cope with life on the road. Hope these tips help you in 2018 and beyond!

Staying Organized

Along with all the various travel partner apps (airline, rail, hotel, etc.), the TripIt app is great for keeping all travel confirmations, restaurant reservations and flight schedules in one place. DropBox is another tool to keep documents, presentations and other important files easily available from any device or web browser.

Duplicate Digital Accessories

Keeping an extra set of charging cords/plugs, laptop power, earphones, batteries and other items permanently packed in your travel bag is necessary to never be without power, or the need to purchase them at marked-up rates at hotels, airports or convenience stores. The same applies to keeping a dedicated toiletry bag to never be without the essentials. If possible, keep both items in a bag that is not checked so they cannot get lost in transit.

Invest in the Best

From your carry-on bag to roller boards, investing in a set of quality luggage will provide years of good use. Paying premium prices upfront will probably end up saving you in resources and time in the long run with useful features that make packing and lugging heavier bags easier.

Eat Right

Unfortunately, traveling frequently disrupts daily routines and sleep patterns. Staying hydrated is critical. I try to pack high protein snacks and energy bars should I need a quick boost or a meal replacement if necessary. It saves time and money from purchasing these or worst yet, candy bars from the minibar.


Most hotels have a gym and ever more hotel chains are providing their guests with workout gear. Even if you skip the gym and just take a walk to explore the city you are in, getting some exercise will keep your body and mind in a better place.

Talk to Experts

Let’s face it, flight crews spend their daily lives in different cities attempting to maintain a healthy regimen. If I am in an unfamiliar airport or heading to an unfamiliar city, I always ask the crew for recommendations. Not only will it pass the time in flight but they are also often pleased to share their knowledge.

TSA PreCheck

Eighty-five dollars will cover you for five years of shorter lines and less hassle (such as keeping your shoes on, no x-rays and laptop in your bag and shoes on) when arriving at the airport with TSA Pre. For $15 more, you can get a Global Entry that will save even more time if you travel internationally. Clear has started to gain traction at certain airports and can shortcut even the small TSA Pre lines.

Live and Learn a Little

Often the inside of a convention center could be anywhere in the country or the world, for that matter. If possible, take a few hours to learn and explore at least one historical site, museum, park or take in a concert. These few moments away from the convention will not only provide a much-needed break, it will allow you to guide others on your team or your attendees of things to do while in the city.

Gifting and Travel with Children

It is easy, especially if you have children, to want to get them a gift from every city. After visiting over 40 states in my travel career, I had to give that up early on. Instead, we look at a map to discuss the city and state I am traveling to in advance, and for my young daughter, I travel with a memento (one of her teddy bears) and take photos of it wherever I go since she can’t travel with me. I of course, do bring back a few food favorites from certain cities such as Garrett Popcorn when I travel to Chicago.


Add new comment

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Enter the characters shown in the image.

Partner Voices

As event professionals and destinations adjust, adapt and evolve in these uncharted waters, it is imperative that substantial resources be put in place for all of the people responsible for planning and executing trade shows, expositions and conventions. An example is Mohegan Sun, which built an industry-leading, COVID-19 Resource Center with a combination of pictures from recently held successful events (the property reopened on May 1, 2020) along with several widely available and informative documents, such as an evolving operational framework: