Travel tips from a CPAC sophomore

Several life-issue bills I’ve been following are coming up for votes in Concord this week. Bit of a pressure cooker up there, in fact. I’m finding brief diversion in planning for my trip to Washington, D.C. for CPAC in a couple of weeks.

This will be my second CPAC. It’s political-blogger heaven, and I’m looking forward to it. If you’re planning to go for the first time, learn a few things from my limited experience.

1. Wear comfortable shoes. Last year, there were three tiers of programs going on at the same time, over three levels of the convention center. I felt sorry for the twenty-somethings in their pointy-toed high-heeled shoes. Granted, they looked smashing – a description with which I’ve never been burdened.

2. Do NOT count on the convention center’s Wi-Fi connection. That goes double if you’re blogging or otherwise reporting from the venue. The Tea Party Patriots plunked down a huge chunk of change to pay for Wi-Fi for everyone at CPAC 2013, which was a generous & thoughtful thing to do. It didn’t help me, because the convention center’s bandwidth was hopelessly overwhelmed by the thousands of people trying to use it. (Yes, thousands.) I’m packing mifi this year.

3. If you plan to meet up with someone at CPAC, be sure you have the person’s cell phone number. You’ll need it to text your cancelation message when you realize there’s too much going on.

4. Download the conference schedule before you get there, then realize you can’t possibly see and hear everyone on the list. Don’t spend all your time trying to hear the top-billed speakers. (Try to catch some of them, though. I must admit Rand Paul was fantastic last year, fresh off his filibuster.) Especially where the life issues are concerned, the interesting speakers and conversations will be in the side rooms.

5. Everything will cost more than you expect. Think Disney with fewer tropical-print shirts. Pounce on free lunch if you find it – Rick Santorum’s group hosted one last year. The conversation at the table was a bonus: I found myself seated with college students from four states, happy to take questions from me.

So I’ll be off to the big city in a couple of weeks, taking my Granite State show on the road, in search (as always) of political lifeforms of the prolife persuasion. Stay tuned.

Author: Ellen Kolb

New Hampshire-based writer, pro-life activist, hiker.