In the Drupal world it seems there is always another convention, camp or summit right around the corner that you are either attending, sponsoring or even hosting. Here are five tips when planning to attend a conference or convention. 1. Time Management Time is one of the most crucial factors when planning for anything, especially an event. When working with a team of technical guys I have found they are not always on the time sensitive band wagon. Somehow we always seem to make it there with our things barely avoiding rush charges and spiked fees. I would not suggest this, unless you like your Tums and restless nights! Plan ahead. There is nothing wrong with planning month's ahead of time and having it all done early. This leaves room to organize better, prepare yourself and allow time for last minute needs to be met. Your stomach, financial manager and co-workers will thank you later! 2. Budget Speaking of financial managers, one way to keep them and your bank account happy is to budget. Before you begin planning anything, sit down and set a budget. List every single little thing you can think of that might come up along with the guarantees. As you go along change the numbers from estimates to solid numbers and update everyone along the way. It is a lot easier to say your about to reach your max, or are those shirts really worth it when we are already spending this much, then to come back after and be appalled at the total. 3. Set Deadlines and STICK TO THEM. This could play into time management but more than that it is organization. Print out a blank calendar of all the months leading up to your event and set deadlines. If your bag inserts need to be in by March 2, make sure they are into the company the week before. Set a deadline for booking flights, hotels and other arrangements. Set deadlines for every step of the way so you can gauge where you are at and readjust as needed without a panic attack- nobody likes breathing out of a paper bag! 4. Delegate Hmmm... Personally, I hate this word. I have however learned that not only is it helpful but it is necessary. Delegate tasks to who on the team will best be able to complete them, then follow up. Have patience through this and learn where you can lean back and where you need to stay on top of more. Not only does this bring the team together and give everyone some stake and responsibility in it but it allows the main organizer to do just that, organize and manage the project from the outside to make sure all is where it needs to be. That is not to say to abandon ship and leave it to beaver but get help where help is needed or can be given- it will be worth it in the end! 5. Laugh Things are bound to go wrong. T-shirts may be the wrong colors, your flyers may be cut sideways or your employee may come down with the flu. Either way crying and freaking out will get you nowhere. You can either laugh at just the joy of life and how it always throws those curve balls at you or you can cry and get crabby and make everyone around you miserable. At the end of the day you are still going to have to problem solve and come up with a solution, I would rather not be covered in mascara from tears with a headache when doing so. Nothing is perfect, allow for human error!