RWA National Travel Tips

Traveling to RWA National in DC? If you are a newbie, or if you just haven’t traveled recently, here are a few last minute reminders to help ease your journey.Flying

Are you flying in? Many of you reading this are savvy travelers but, for those who haven’t flown for a while…

  1. Suitcases – Weight limit is 50 pounds for checked bags.   When I flew to Atlanta in 2006, I brought my 26-inch suitcase.  The weight was ok flying there, barely, but was over by about 25 pounds on my return trip.  I managed to squeeze some of those overweight free books into my tote.   Some I just gave to the guy at the counter for his girlfriend.   I’ve now switched to traveling with a 21-inch suitcase.  Weigh it at home before you leave.   Mine, even when packed full, rarely exceeds 35 pounds.
  2. Extra fee – Whether overweight or not, airlines now charge extra for a checked bag – $15 or $25 on most airlines.  That’s a one-way charge.
  3. Carry-ons – You are only allowed 2 carry-ons, one personal (a purse or computer) and another small bag.  Downsize to a smaller purse, then pack it inside your tote-bag for added flexibility.
  4. Wear slip-on shoes.  You will have to remove them at security so they can be scanned.  Shoes with ties or buckles hold up the lines.
  5. Filled water bottles are not permitted through security.  Empty ones generally are.  For the frugal-minded, bring an empty bottle in your tote.  Once you are beyond security, you can fill it at a water fountain, or you can buy bottled water at a kiosk.   Water bought near the gates is allowed on-board.
  6. Keep your photo ID and Boarding Pass handy until you are through security.  After that, you will only need your Boarding Pass to get onto the plane.
  7. For added tips, read the TSA Guidelines for How to Get Through the Security Line Faster (click).

Or are you driving?

  1. Click this link for the current Washington DC gas prices.
  2. A reminder that parking at the Marriott is an extra $32 (or so) a day.

A few other reminders:

  1. Wear comfortable shoes for the conference and sight-seeing.  Not the time to break in a new pair.
  2. Washington DC summers are sweltering but bring a sweater or wrap for the air-conditioned workshop rooms.  A pashmina is light-weight, packable, and easy to carry in your conference tote.
  3. Don’t forget your business cards. Make them or have them made.  Keep them simple, elegant, professional.
  4. There’s a CVS Pharmacy within walking distance of the Marriott.
  5. Visit RWA National website Conference FAQ’s for added info.

→ Please share your travel tips for RWA National.  Hope to see you there!

9 thoughts on “RWA National Travel Tips

  1. 1. Walk to build up your leg muscles before going. If you do the tourist things, you will end up walking for miles. If you want to see the sites, you will need to be able to walk.
    2. If you leave the hotel, go in groups. The Park Service Rangers and police are around, but for safety go in groups.
    3. Write your name, email, phone number on a piece of paper and take a picture of it on your camera and your phone camera. If it is lost, they can contact you to return it.
    4. If riding the Metro and are on the escalators – remember to stand on the right and walk on the left.
    5. There are pickpockets riding the Metro. Close your purse. If it won’t close, either get a larger purse or leave some stuff locked in a suitcase in your hotel.
    6. Wear a hat while out in the sun. It is HOT and HUMID.

    I lived in D.C. for five years. PRACTICE WALKING BEFORE YOU GO or you won’t enjoy your visit.

  2. If you plan to bring a laptop you will need to take it out and have it scanned separately when you go through security. Place it in a tub at the xray machine on top of your computer bag or protective sleeve then put your other belongings in a separate tub. I always send my computer through first so I have more time to put it back in the bag.

    About your computer. Think about whether you are comfortable leaving your laptop in your room when you’re not there. I carry a cable lock to chain my laptop to furniture. Don’t make it easy for someone to rip you off.

    Of course you will need to put all liquid products in a quart sized ziploc bag. This includes things like hand lotion and maybe lip balm that you normally keep in your purse, so be prepared. Look at what is in your purse before you leave home so you don’t get surprised at the gate. I always carry a couple of extra ziplocs with me in case of emergency.

    Leave the pointy things at home or put them in your checked bags. If you have nail clippers make sure they don’t have the little file attached. No scissors either. TSA’s guidelines on what to carry in the blog entry above will give you the specifics. When in doubt put it in your checked bag.

    If you decide to bring full sized cosmetics or shampoo etc. place them in a gallon or two gallon ziplock bag in your checked baggage. One time I had a shampoo bottle leak all over the inside of my bag. Once was all it took.

    If you’re flying on a regional jet or prop plane for a portion of your flight remember that the overhead storage for those planes are smaller than the larger jets and if your carryon is large you may have to check it at the gate to get it on the plane. Normally when they do this the bag can be picked up just outside the door of the plane on the tarmac or in the jetway.

  3. Linda, thanks for the tips on walking, and ways to keep safe. Living in a small town makes me forget simple things, like about the importance of guarding my purse.

    Edie, I’m sorry you’re not coming. I look forward to seeing you at next year’s WisRWA, and maybe in Nashville??

    Gretchen, great ideas! Your comment on traveling with computers reminded me that internet is NOT free at the Marriott. The fee is an added $12.95 per day. I confirmed with the hotel that there is NO free internet anywhere in the hotel. Last year at the San Francisco Marriott internet was free in the lounges but that doesn’t apply in DC.

    Thank you all.

  4. If Marriott is not providing free internet, there should be plenty of places that do – I think Barnes & Noble and Starbucks have free internet. What about some of the other places around the hotel? I’m not familiar with that part of town.

  5. Great tips! At conference don’t forget to allow yourself down time. Also, I saw someone post elsewhere a suggestion that you take flat rate priority mail boxes from the post office to mail home those books you get. The boxes come flat so they would fit inside a large suitcase and you get get the postage ahead of time.

    Wish I was going.

  6. Staples will box and send stuff home for you also – either FedEx or UPS, don’t remember which. My sister uses them all the time when she travels. She will even send home her dirty laundry along with everything she bought while she was out of town. One time she even sent her large suitcase so she didn’t have any luggage on the trip home.

    Or, you can pack a smaller suitcase in a larger one and have the large one to pack new stuff in. Although with the airlines charging so much for luggage that may not be worth it.

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