Prepping for Alt: Tips + Advice for First Timers

For my last Alt Summit Prep post I wanted to just make a list of my tips for first-timers. If you only read one of my Alt posts, make it this one.

Prep + Packing

  • If you never get a chance to wear your most colorful outfits at home, Alt Summit is the place to pull them out. Fashion runs from cutoff shorts and a t-shirt to long kaftans and sun hats. There’s no right or wrong way to dress – just be yourself, and be comfortable!
  • Pack everything in checked luggage and make sure you have room to spare. Normally I am a carry-on person, but you’re likely going to return home with more than you arrived with, so any extra space will be beneficial.
  • Bring along a duffle bag that’s easy to stuff into your checked bag. This way if you’re short on space when you’re heading home, you can toss all of your dirty laundry in the duffle and use your sturdy luggage to transport things like shoes, toiletries, and Alt swag.
  • More Alt Summit packing tips can be found here.

Attending Alt Summit

  • Bring along a backpack or tote bag that’s large enough for a notebook, pen, water bottle, camera, light jacket, and anything else you might need for the day. Depending on where you’re sleeping, you may not have a chance to return to your room all day and bouncing back and forth is pretty time consuming.
  • Exchange cards/contact information with anyone you meet. Once you get home and take the time to go through all of the cards you’ve received, you never know which random “Hi, here’s my card!” could turn into a collaboration or friendship down the line.
  • Take notes! The entire week is going to be chockablock full of information overload, so write it all down.
  • Relax, relax, relax. Don’t try to overdo it! Easier said than done, but I promise you’ll feel more fulfilled at the end of the week if you pick a focus or and choose classes/workshops/demos that relate. Allow yourself downtime instead of cramming in additional classes that don’t fit your goals for the year. There’s always next year!
  • Write down bits of information about people you meet. If you had a particularly compelling conversation with someone, or had a chat with a person who might be a great fit to collaborate with your brand, jot it down in your notebook. You might think it’ll be easy enough to remember, but you’re likely to forget after a full week of meeting people.
  • Give yourself plenty of time to shuttle from one hotel to the next. Hopefully this year the kinks will have been worked out, but last year the shuttle route could take 45 minutes depending on where you were coming from and going to. There’s also one fewer hotel this year, which should cut that time down.

  • Talk to people! We’re all there to connect, so don’t be afraid to go up to someone and start a conversation. I’ve got more tips for connecting (especially for fellow introverts!) on this post.
  • Don’t take it personally if someone you approach doesn’t seem to be taking the bait. Know that it’s an overwhelming week for most, and sometimes people will use any chance they can to just be silent and try to decompress. Read social cues – if someone is wearing headphones and writing in their notebook at an otherwise empty table, take a seat but don’t interrupt them unless they actively look up and want to engage. It might look like they aren’t doing anything, but for introverts those little silent moments are crucial. We welcome the company, but not always the socializing.
  • Shoot your shot. You’re going to meet a lot of people at Alt Summit, and chances are that some of them will be ideal potential clients or collaborators. So shoot your shot!
  • Get out and explore the area. Palm Springs is such a cool city – the Mid-Century architecture is fab – and the surrounding desert is unlike anything we have back on the east coast. Take a long lunch in town, or hit up the vintage shops for a one of a kind souvenir!

What I’m doing differently this time around

  • Packing some colorful dresses, but also bringing along comfortable shorts and tops. Sometimes I just want to be comfy, so cutoffs, a tank top, and Birkenstocks are making it into my bag this year. Every day doesn’t have to be a fashion show, and if I want to have my photo taken, I can always change!
  • Stopping at the grocery store in Palm Springs to pick up a few room snacks and protein bars. I can’t eat wheat, so sometimes my options for breakfast and snacks are limited.
  • Taking fewer classes and scheduling in more downtime. I can’t possibly do it all, so I’ve got to make cuts. I’ve gone back through my schedule a few times and removed things that don’t align with my goals for this year. Sure, learning about making a podcast would be cool, but maybe that’s something I can save for a future Alt Summit down the line if actually starting a podcast is a real goal of mine. I’d be better served napping by the pool for an hour to recharge for the rest of the day.

  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. The California sun is strong, the Alt Summit days are long, and it’s easy to forget to hydrate. Pack a water bottle and make sure you constantly fill it up through the day.
  • Photographing more people. I want to carry my film camera around and take more portraits of people just for fun.
  • Hanging with my friends when I can, but also focusing on my priorities first. I’ll be attending Alt with a few friends this year and while it’ll be fun to see if we have overlap in our planned schedules, we’ve agreed that it’s best to split and focus on our own goals for the day. This way, one person doesn’t have to feel rushed if they get into a conversation with someone they just met while their friend is hanging out waiting for them, etc. We’ll keep in contact via text and connect when we can!

Keep reading more about Alt Summit:

  1. Alt Summit 2019: Post-Alt Wrap-Up + Blog Series
  2. Alt Summit 2019: The Hotels 
  3. Prepping for Alt: What to Wear + Packing Tips
  4. Prepping for Alt: FAQ 
  5. Prepping for Alt: Overall Tips + Advice for First Timers (this post)

Looking for a photo session at Alt Summit 2020? Click here!

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