RootsTech 2016 is over and while it is still fresh in my mind I thought I would do a guest blog for my hot wife whom you know as A Patient Genealogist. This was our first time attending the event and we had a great time, both at the conference and away from our kids. Thanks Mom & Dad!
So to begin let me go over the things I didn’t do, so don’t ask me for an opinion on them or expect a review later in this series.
- We didn’t attend any of the Innovator Summit stuff. From what I read it was more for developers and entrepreneurs and I really don’t fit that bill.
- We didn’t go to any of the keynote speakers. We figured that most of them would be recorded and we could listen to them at another time. Instead, we spent mornings at the Family History Library or I found an empty room in the Salt Palace to practice my presentation.
- We didn’t go to any of the evening entertainment. In past years, a sketch comedy troupe, Studio C, had performed and we were hoping they would be back. So what did we do instead?Well, one night my wife socialized with RootsTech attendees in our hotel (following the pre-conference networking advice) and I went shopping for snacks. Another night was my in-room practice session and then we had a lovely dinner date at the Cheesecake Factory at the City Creek Center. (Have to take advantage of ‘free’ date nights when you can!) On the last night we went to the Family History Library and then to the MyHeritage After Party. (More on that later)
- I spent minimal amount of time on the Expo floor. Devon could better tell you her thoughts. The few walkthroughs I did, there was nothing monumental to me that jumped out. But, I am not an expo floor type of person (unless it is a gun show, then I can spend hours looking at stuff and talking with people about it).
- We also didn’t stay for Saturday. Our kids were staying with my parents and we had some other obligations so Friday was our last day. There were a couple of classes that I would have perhaps enjoyed on Saturday, but nothing that I was dying to attend. So no Family Discovery Day or the mob of 20,000+ for us.
So knowing all of that, let me get on to the good stuff.
The Journey to SLC
It had been 8 years since the last time I had been in Salt Lake City. We flew on Delta from Dallas. I used to fly several times a year for work, but with my current position, I haven’t had to travel much. One thing that I didn’t figure out until the end of the flight was that Delta’s entertainment system was all through wifi. That’s pretty slick, and probably works well for the short 2 to 4 hour flights, but for longer flights each seat better have a charger where I can plug my phone in to watch movies for the journey.
Another side note is I wish the airlines would figure out that they are using the least efficient way possible to board. Our boarding pass said Group 2, which might sound like we were one of the first groups to board. Except Group 2 is the last to board. You have all of your Star, Gold, Special Elite, President’s Premier, and what not before the numbered groups. Then everyone is climbing over or getting up and blocking the aisle as everyone finds their seat. Board from the window to the aisle and from the back of the plane to the front. This isn’t theory, several studies have been done which confirm that this method would cut the boarding time in half.
One last thing on travel. If they aren’t going to enforce the size limits on carry-ons, don’t bother having the size limits. The carry on sizing restrictions have not materially changed since at least I was a kid. If your bag is too big, check it (and pay the fee). Airlines should charge double if you get to the gate and your bag doesn’t meet the size limits.
We opted to stay at the Comfort Inn in Downtown. With all fees it was less than $90 a night and provided breakfast each morning, appetizers and drinks on Wednesday and Thursday evening, and a free shuttle servicing the airport. The ride from the airport was with some other RootsTechers and my wife talked up my class (she is a great cheerleader). At least one of our fellow travelers came to the class, so success for Devon Noel.
The room was fine, no problems with the wifi. A Fridge and microwave were available. The location was only a block away from the Trax station which offered free transportation in downtown. Since we were only a few blocks from the Salt Palace and City Creek Center we sometimes walked the distance and other times rode the Trax.
As mentioned earlier, on the first night of Roots Tech, Devon socialized with other RootsTech guests staying at the Comfort In.. We had enjoyed some of the complimentary appetizers, and then I went out to get some snacks and lunch for the next day at a nearby grocery store. In the meantime, Devon struck up a conversation with two women and by the time I got back, she had a small crowd assembled. (In case you didn’t know, Devon is the outgoing one, I am the quiet one). I sat and joined the discussion and of course, Devon talked up my class again. She started to use words like “epic” to describe it so she really set the bar high for me to jump over.
Having lived in Iowa for several years, the dry air coupled with 15-30 degree temperatures did not feel very cold. Nor was there any wind. It did snow a little bit on Thursday, but not enough that you noticed a difference at the end of the day. We didn’t have hats or gloves, and it didn’t bother us. If we were in Texas or Iowa with similar conditions, we would have bought hats and gloves. In short, the weather was really nice considering we were in a definite winter location.
Andy’s post is rather long, so I decided to break it up. Stay tuned to the parts of RootsTech that probably matter more than travel accommodations.
I really thought these insights from my hubby were great for anyone planning to attend Roots Tech 2017.
- Don’t feel obligated to attend a streamed class or keynote when you can go to the Family History Library.
- Check out your flight amenities so you don’t miss out (we almost skipped out on the free movies).
- If you can handle the walk, save some cash and stay at a hotel a little further away from the sponsoring hotels.
- Visit with RootsTech folks in cars, the hotel, or anywhere. We love family history, so speak up. You’ll be glad you did.