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Book Party in NYC

By now, I’m sure you’ve seen the Book Expo America and Book Blogger Convention 2010 tour posts to drum up excitement and provide practical advice to attendees.  Today, I’m going on the assumption that you ARE going to BEA and BBC because it is the biggest BOOK PARTY in NYC (May 25-28).

1.  First order of business is RESERVE your hotel room NOW through BEA’s discount program.  These rooms will go fast.

Once you reserve your room, you can look for roommates to share the cost with.  If you haven’t met any other bloggers, don’t worry, we don’t bite (much) and would love to share a room with you.

If you prefer, there is a hostel in New York City, check out The Zen Leaf’s pros and cons post.

2.  Second, pick a mode of transportation to NYC.  Depending on how close you are and how much you dislike airport security, you may want to consider Amtrak because the costs are lower, the security is smoother, and the trip allows you to read a book.  If you have AAA, you can get a discount on travel and BEA indicates Amtrak will give you as a BEA participant a 10 percent discount on the lowest fares.

Traveling from D.C. to NYC last year by train was smooth, and the train drops you in Penn Station, which is right near the NYC subway, making it convenient for getting to your hotel destination.

3.  Third, if you plan to arrive earlier than the beginning of the conference, plan out what sights you want to see.  Whether it is the Statue of Liberty or Strawberry Fields, having a plan makes it easier.  But in addition to sights, make sure you check out the areas where you plan to visit to see what restaurants are available.  I always make a plan of places I want to eat, especially near famous landmarks and museums.  Makes it easier to grab some good grub, in budget, when you find that you are ravenous!

BEA does offer discounts on event tickets and monuments, and according to the Web site, there will be additional incentives for food places as well.

4.  Fourth, pack your bags!  Imagine a book connoisseur who also loves photography.  You can imagine what this individual (ahem, me!) would take with her on vacation.  I have a digital SLR Nikon, which I failed to take last year, but you can bet that won’t be happening again this year.  This will require not only charged batteries and a charger, but also an additional long-range lens and cleaning paraphernalia.  Good thing I have a backpack case for all this stuff.  Will I bring it all?  Not sure, but I know I need a plan.

Traveling by train or plane will give you time to read, which means you will want to bring books.  BUT remember why you are going to BEA — networking and BOOKS!  I suggest you pick 2 likely candidates or 1 chunkster, but not more than that.  YOU won’t have time!  From the moment your feet hit the ground, you will be running and excited and overwhelmed.

I also tend to pack clothes that are versatile.  Clothes that present well, but are casual and comfortable.  Docker slacks, nice t-shirts, and a few blouses . . . and of course, as you’ve heard COMFORTABLE FOOTWEAR!  I have a foot problem, which means I only wear sneakers because dress shoes aggravate me.

5.  Fifth, While in the city, you want to make sure you have a transportation plan.  Do you want to pay hefty cab fares over the course of a week?  I know I don’t, and I didn’t.  Anna and I took the subway and the bus last year, which was made simple with the NYC MetroCard.

We bought day passes, since we only attended about 1.5 days of BEA last year, but this year, I’ll be picking up the $27 7-day Unlimited Ride MetroCard (click to see where you can buy these cards), which means all trips are covered for seven days and bus ride transfers are covered as well!  Great deal for sight seeing and for getting to and from the Javits.

There are shuttle bus routes at a variety of hotel spots throughout the area that take you to Javits as well.  I tend to prefer the freedom of the subway because I don’t have to worry to much about timetables.

Must-Have items on your trip to BEA and BBC:

1.  Book(s) to occupy travel time.
2.  Rolling suitcase with minimal clothes and enough room for books on the way back.
3.  Comfortable shoes and clothes.
4.  Business cards; I got mine from MOO, and I LOVE them.
5.  Plan for tackling the autographing lines and BEA/BBC events.
6.  Camera for those photo ops with other bloggers, authors, and more.
7.  Water/Snacks/Gum or Mints to keep you refreshed. 
8.  Spending money for food, sight seeing, and nights out.
9.  Tote bag to carry all those ARCs, Galleys, and books.
10.  Notebook and pen/recorder to make sure you remember everything you want to blog about.

I hope this advice helps and that I will see all or most of you there! If anyone wants to meet up while in NYC, I’m all for it.

FTC Disclosure:  I am not affiliated with MOO, but really recommend their business card services because my business cards came out AWESOME.

  • DelGal Reviews

    Thanks for the great tips for a newbie like me 🙂 I can't wait!

  • Meg

    Thanks for such a great and informative post! I doubt I'm going to make it to BEA this year, even though I want to so badly, but I'm going to bookmark this one just in case I can 🙂 My sis graduates from college the week before, and I'm pretty sure I'll be heading to Europe with my family right after that. But we shall see.

  • Shellie (Layers of Thought)

    Thanks Serena –
    I am dying to go. We are hoping that John can finagle a business trip at the same time.

  • Serena

    Book Club Girl: I look forward to seeing you again.

    Wendy: It will be great to see you in person. My husband may be coming as well. If you are doing some sight seeing earlier in the week, maybe we could meet up.

  • Wendy

    Great tips, Serena – thanks! My husband and I have already booked our hotel (a block from the Javits – yay!!!) and plane tickets…I was getting nervous about not getting a decently priced room and tickets!! Looking forward to meeting you there 🙂

  • Book Club Girl

    Great post – with very good advice!

  • Serena

    I'm not sure if you have to call Amtrak directly for the discount or what, but there is no direct link to Amtrak from BEA's Website.

  • Anna

    Great advice! I'm looking forward to going with you again this year!

    You'll have to give me more info about the BEA discounts for Amtrak. I had no idea!

    –Anna
    Diary of an Eccentric

  • Serena

    Stephanie: I think it will be great to see all of you again and meet some new bloggers as well. I had a great time last year. Everyone was lovely.

  • Stephanie

    Great list! Can't wait to see you again!

  • Serena

    Jeane: Some have said this is the last BEA, but I don't believe it.

    Jen: Thanks for stopping by to check them out.

  • Jen – devourer of books

    Great suggestions Serena, thanks!

  • Jeane

    It sounds so exciting. Maybe next year I can go too.

  • Serena

    Sandy: I'm glad that the post is helpful. I was wondering what there was left to say!

  • Sandy Nawrot

    Aren't you just the wealth of information! What a great post!

  • Serena

    Bermudaonion: Anna will be at BEA, but not BBC — she has a family wedding that weekend, so she's going to have to skip the blogger convention unfortunately.

  • bermudaonion

    Great post! The only time I read last year was on my trip up and back. Is Anna going this year?

  • Serena

    Booksnyc: I hope you enjoy the cards as much as I do. I love that you can use your own photos.

    Julie: I'm glad the advice helped. I'm a big believer in saving money and taking public transit.

  • Julie P.

    Great advice — can't wait!

  • Booksnyc

    Thanks for the info about MOO – I am heading over there now!

  • Serena

    Lenore: I'm glad that you found something in this list for you! It was tough after so many great posts.

  • Lenore

    I didn't realize BEA had discounts on NYC sights. Great tip!