RootsTech 2016 will be my sixth RootsTech Conference as a blogger. Of course there have been a huge number of changes over the years. This will be my second year's conference while living in Utah and my wife and I have been talking about the logistics of attending the conference for sometime now. We live some distance from Salt Lake City and depending on traffic and/or the weather it can take more than two hours to make the trip. If we drive, rather than take the train, we also have to consider parking. Either way, we end up walking a lot. The FrontRunner train is a viable alternative during the week, but the schedule on Saturday from Provo would get us there too late for the Opening Keynote. So we needed to take that into consideration.
We have been having a series of storms this past week or so and the storms seem to be continuing into the immediate future. If it snows during the Conference, then the traffic becomes a huge factor in commuting. We will likely stay with family in Salt Lake for the duration of the Conference to avoid the trip. It is really nice to have that option.
The Conference is held in the Salt Palace in downtown Salt Lake City and blocks in Salt Lake are about 6 to a mile. The Salt Palace is about two blocks long from north to south. So in course of walking to the Salt Palace and then walking around inside, you can put on many miles. I will have a pedometer app on my iPhone this year and so I will report the number of miles I walk every day just for interest sake.
Food is not an issue at RootsTech. The Salt Palace is located right across the street from the huge City Creek Center with over 30 restaurants within a block or two. But if the attendance last year is any indication, especially on Saturday, the Conference will be very crowded. If you want to attend a particular class, I suggest that you arrive as early as possible. I hear a lot of comments about classes being full to overflowing. The Conference has a lot of activities each day that compete with classes. I usually try to go to a few classes but for the last few years, I have seldom made more than one or two. I look at RootsTech more as an opportunity to keep in touch with other bloggers and genealogists, developers and vendors.
If you aren't a regular conference attendee, I suggest you seriously consider your footwear. I have purchased different shoes at least twice in anticipation of all the walking at RootsTech. I would further suggest discarding fashion for comfort. Wear comfortable shoes and clothes. Of course, if you are employed or have to do anything formal like present, you need to dress appropriately. It is often very cold in Salt Lake and the temperatures could be in lower teens. (well below 0 degrees Centigrade) Coats are an issue. You will need warm clothes but then you need to take into account that you will have to carry everything around with you each day. We purchased very warm parkas that fold up into a compact package that makes it possible to reduce the volume of the coats considerably. I also carry a large backpack for my computer and to store any papers or other items from the Conference.
Those of us writing during the conference have to consider the needs of our electronic devices. Trying to use WiFi at the Conference has always turned out to be a challenge. As an Ambassador, the Media Hub has connections for computers. If you are using an iPad or whatever rather than a traditional laptop, you have to consider bringing a way to charge your device and connect to the Internet. If you stay in a nearby hotel, you may have WiFi during the time you are in your room, but I have had spotty service in the past in some venues.
Most importantly, take time to rest, eat and drink enough water. It is easy to get dehydrated. There is a lot to see in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah including the Family History Library. But remember that the entire first floor of the Library is under construction. I am not sure how far along the construction will be by Conference time, but the library is usually congested during the Conference.
Be sure and say hello if you see me. The thing about conferences that I enjoy the most is talking to people and catching up with my friends from around the world. Don't worry if I look busy. I am always busy. The Media Hub is in the middle of the Exhibit Floor and since I write a lot during the Conference, I am frequently parked there typing away. Say hello anyway.