Hello there bloggies! Welcome to Trainee Tuesday! And Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

A major component of any trainee’s tenure is the opportunity to travel to conferences and/or to visit collaborators across the country and world. The first time you travel for and with your lab can be stressful and a lot to handle. Here are some quick tips for our travelling trainees:

If you are presenting a poster at a conference, consider printing your poster at the conference (many larger conferences offer this) or printing a fabric poster. Carrying a huge poster tube is a huge pain in the butt. Some airlines won’t let you carry them onto the plane. If you’re lucky enough to bring it on the plane, finding a place to stuff the poster tube is next to impossible. Plus, just physically carrying these tubes is awkward and ridiculous. Save yourself the trouble!

Never ever buy your own coffee or tea at conferences. 99% of the time there are free coffee and tea stations. There is no need to stop by the Starbucks in or near the convention center and spend $5 a pop on coffee.

Take a minute to get familiar with your department’s and lab’s policies on reimbursements. Some places use a per diem policy, others want you to submit receipts for everything. No matter what, make sure to get separate checks from your friends/colleagues and get any alcohol on a different bill. It’s always better to spend a little time beforehand learning these rules, instead of getting stuck with a big credit card bill later.

While for most of the trip you will be eating and drinking on a budget, try to get one good meal (preferably dinner) from your PI. To be honest, any decent PI should already be offering to take you and the lab out for a nice meal.

I saved the most important tip for last. No matter how big the conference or important the collaborator take some time for yourself and explore whatever city/town, state, or country you’ve traveled too. There are only so many opportunities in life and as a trainee that you get to travel (especially with your very low pay as a trainee). Take the time to take advantage of them. Sometimes the best network connections aren’t made in the conference hall but while experiencing life.

Those are some of my tips for the traveling trainee. What conference or travel tips do you all follow while traveling? Comment below or on twitter @DrFsThoughts.

See you all!

-Dr. F