Friday, February 21, 2020

Planning for RootsTech 2020

Can you believe that RootsTech 2020 - the TEN year anniversary celebration - is next week!? In 2019, I wrote a piece "How to Prepare and Pack for RootsTech." After reading over it myself, and The RootsTech 2020 Survivor Guide, here's what YOU need to know if you're going to RootsTech 2020! This will be an updated version of last year's post.

When I'm preparing for a trip - whether it's just to see family or it's a long distance trip - I always feel like I'm forgetting something. And you know what? I usually do forget something!

So to assist not only myself, but also to make sure that you get the most out of your RootsTech 2020 experience, I'm putting together this simple list for how you can plan for this year's conference.

How to prepare 

1. Study the schedule and decide which classes you'll attend

You can view the full event schedule here and the class schedule here. Make sure you read the class descriptions and learn about the instructors. Also, if you see a few classes that you've *GOT TO* attend, assume that others feel the same way. Those classes will likely fill up fast, so you should have a back up in case they're full when you arrive to class. Find another class that you'd also be interested in for those spots just in case. There's nothing worse than being turned away from a room and then not knowing where you're going next. Planning will take away this problem!

Also, check out our exciting list of keynote speakers! If you don't know who they are yet, a bit of research beforehand will help you appreciate the time you have with them next week.

2. Download the RootsTech app

Why should you use the RootsTech app? Because it'll make your experience so much easier. I used the app last year, and it helped me find classes, make my schedule, and even let me rate my instructors. You can learn more about the app and how you can download it to your device here.

3. Schedule time to visit the Family History Library

The conference is held just blocks away from the famous Family History Library - the world's largest family history library! This may be overwhelming, so make sure to check out their website to figure out what resources you want to prioritize on your visit. After the busy class schedule, you won't have a whole lot of time to be at the library unless you skip classes. So, decide what items at the library you'll access and then use your time at the library wisely.

Family History Library Hours during RootsTech 
Monday–Wednesday: 8:00 a.m.–11:00 p.m.
Thursday–Saturday: 8:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m.
Sunday: 1:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m.

What to pack 

1. The right clothes and shoes

Salt Lake City in February is a chilly place. Make sure you pack appropriate clothes for your trip. The good news is that snow isn't in the forecast this year. The first part of the week, the highs will be in the mid 40s and sunny, while later in the week will be in the mid 50s. Also, remember that your clothes represent you. Are you going to RootsTech for networking and furthering a genealogical career? Or, are you going simply to learn and make connections? The type of clothes you wear should reflect your purpose. In addition, you'll be doing a lot of walking at RootsTech. Make sure you have comfortable shoes that will allow for all those steps!

2. Laptop or notebook for notes

RootsTech is like going to college for a week. You'll be in class after class and there's no way you'll be able to absorb everything you are taught. So, it's best that you have a way to take good quality notes of your classes so that you can look back at it another time after the conference. I'd recommend bringing a laptop if you're a fast typer. This will allow you to take organized notes while your presenters are speaking. You may also want to bring a notebook if you're more of a doodler or note taker that way.

3. Backpack or shoulder bag

You're going to be walking a lot with your laptop and whatever else you're carrying. So, make sure you have a good backpack or bag to carry with you during the conference.

4. Money

When you go to the Expo Hall you are going to want to walk out of there with some goodies. Books, DNA test kits, cool family history stuff! That means you'll either need cash on hand or cash in the bank to make debit/credit card purchases from the many vendors available. Budget for this.

Expo Hall hours
Wednesday, February 26, 5:30 p.m.–8:00 p.m.
Thursday, February 27, 10:00 a.m.–7:00 p.m.
Friday, February 28, 10:00 a.m.–7:00 p.m.
Saturday, February 29, 9:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m.

5. Portable charger for mobile devices

Between using your mobile device for the RootsTech app, following new friends on Twitter or Facebook, checking e-mail, and regular use of your phone, you are going to want to make sure you can charge your mobile devices. You can bring your wall chargers with you, but you're going to have a hard time finding wall sockets when you need them. So, last year I purchased a portable charger to keep me charged up all week long. It was worth every penny! Two highly recommended portable chargers are the Anker PowerCore 13000 and the Anker PowerCore 20100. It's a wise investment for RootsTech.

While you're there

1. Health

Between flu season and the onslaught of the coronavirus, RootsTech came out with their Additional Health & Safety Guidelines for RootsTech SLC 2020. The main recommendation from RootsTech while you're there - and as health professionals would agree - is that you wash your hands or use hand sanitizer stations on entry and exit of all meetings and (of course) the bathrooms. This year, there will be hand sanitizer and masks available at all Info Desks and throughout the Salt Palace.

2. Explore

If you have time in Salt Lake City, make sure you explore! Here's a list of things you can do while you're in the beautiful Utahn city. I have Dole Whip on my "must do" list this year. Zeppe's Italian Ice in City Creek are offering 10% off to anyone who shows their RootsTech name badge!


RootsTech is a blast! But it's also a whirlwind of experiences, connections, and new discoveries. So make sure that you're prepared for this wonderful trip. I hope these suggestions prove helpful for you and that we can connect at RootsTech 2020! If you've been to RootsTech before, and you notice that I've left out a helpful suggestion for the conference, please make sure to leave a comment below.

RootsTech is THE place if like me you want to encounter your ancestors through family history and remember the past made present. I'll see y'all at RootsTech 2020!

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