How to a Be a Great Conference Roommate

August 2, 2012

It is 3 am right now, and I will be on my way to the airport in the next 3 hours. I still have to pack and make sure that I’m not forgetting anything for Blogher12.

I am going with a friend, but we will be sharing the room with 2 other people to keep the overall costs down and stay in budget , and have more shopping money. I have shared rooms with strangers before, and will be doing so at FINCON as well, so I thought I would jot down some of my roommate tips.

How to Be a Great Conference Roommate

1. Get the money talk out of the way first thing. My roommate made sure to check and see if we can all pay separately at the checkout desk. If that is not possible, have a cheque ready to pay for the room so the one booking the room doesn’t feel uncomfortable asking for money at the end of the weekend..

2. Communicate your plans.  Not everyone will be around at the same time, but knowing that your roommate has an early flight prepares you from being shocked when you hear noises at 5 am. Trust me on this. There is nothing worse than being woken up when you rolled in at 4 am.

How to be good conference roommate

3. Bring extra hair accessories and an extra necklace or two. The odds are pretty high that someone (probably me) is going to forget a crucial item. I always forget bobby pins, mostly because I have high hopes for what I’ll do to my hair and subsequently opt to sleep instead. I am bringing extra tops that will fit different sizes just in case any of my roommates need it. If you have it on hand and are willing to lend it out, I guarantee you’ll have a friend for life, trust me.

4. Be nice.  Not everyone is used to being around 4000 confident women, so when your roommates ask your opinion, be honest. You’d want that favor returned.

5. Don’t be a bathroom jerk.  If you’re sharing the room with 3 other people, keep everyone else in mind when you decide to wake up at 5 am, or decide that your need to take a 45 minute showet to unwind. Having a quick discussion with your roommates about everyone’s schedules makes life a lot easier in the mornings.

6. Make other friends besides your roommates.  There are a lot of people visiting conferences and chances are that you will make connections with some pretty cool people, but not if you don’t take the time to talk to other people.

7. Stay in touch after the conference. I’ve met, and made friends with some fantastic people over the last few years, and have done our very best to keep in touch. I even had one offer me her place when if I’m ever in Austin. My point is, this will be an adventure, and take some time to remember the people who went along the journey with you.

Have you shared a room with people you didn’t know? What are your tips for being a conference roommate?

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  • American Debt Project August 2, 2012 at 6:52 am

    Sweet!! Have fun at Blogher…that’s definitely one I may consider in the future. And I promise not to take hour-long baths at 3 am during FINCON 🙂

    • Marissa August 6, 2012 at 6:52 pm

      Blogher is in Chicago next year. We should plan a pf crew to take over some stuff.

  • Lance@MoneyLife&More August 2, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    I think some of these don’t apply as much to guys but ill keep the gender neutral ones in mind if I get to make it to fin con 13!

    • Marissa August 6, 2012 at 6:53 pm

      Are you still on the fence? Really?

  • Rianka @ Golden Financial Nuggets August 2, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    These are great tips especially number 7. I’ve met great professional friends at conferences.

    Have a great time! 🙂

    • Marissa August 6, 2012 at 6:53 pm

      Me too. Its all about networking for me.

  • Modest Money August 2, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    Having a roommate or two for a conference does sound like a great way to save money and connect with people further. You’re so right that you still have to make the effort to connect with other people too. It might get tempting to want to spend most of your time with your roommates. Doing so would miss out on so many other opportunities.

    • Marissa August 6, 2012 at 6:54 pm

      I made the mistake of doing that the first day, but soon found that most people are just as eager to meet others.

  • Jordann @ My Alternate Life August 2, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    I’ve only ever been to conferences for work which means I usually know the people I’m staying with, but these tips work well in those situations too, and I wish more people would follow them!

    • Marissa August 6, 2012 at 6:56 pm

      I lucked out with my roommates this year.

  • Newlyweds on a Budget August 2, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    I think the first tip is the most important! It’s always so uncomfortable when you’re the one who paid and then people just “forget.” I’ve been stiffed many a time and it sucks.

    • Marissa August 6, 2012 at 6:57 pm

      We all left our cc at the front desk when we checked in. It solved everything.

  • Kathleen @ Frugal Portland August 2, 2012 at 7:17 pm

    being around 4000 confident? what do you mean? have fun at the conference!

    • Marissa August 6, 2012 at 6:55 pm

      Haha, confident women. These women were intense.

  • Andy Hough August 2, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    Those are some good tips. They also remind me why I like to have my own room.

    • Marissa August 6, 2012 at 6:59 pm

      Hhaha! Are you coming to Fincon?

  • Jefferson August 2, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    The conferences that I have been to have been paid through work, which means that I do get my own room.
    But even then, I did travel with a group of folks.

    #6 is essential, as you need to get some time away from each other as well.. Even the best of friends need some time apart over the course of a week, so that they don’t drive each other crazy.

    • Marissa August 6, 2012 at 6:58 pm

      I took a nap just to be able to take a break. My roommates all went to different sessions so we all learned different things and shared them with each other.

  • femmefrugality August 6, 2012 at 12:07 am

    Never had a conference roomie, but these seem like great tips. Especially getting to know people outside of the hotel room. Learning is an obvious reason for going, but building connections is right up there.

    • Marissa August 6, 2012 at 2:57 pm

      We had a blast in NYC, and met some really cool people. Definitely worth it, and not to mention, we saved money, too.

  • My Money Design August 6, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    I have fortunately never had to share a room with anyone. I’ve always booked separate hotel rooms for all trips. But if I ever did, I would follow these tips. I think just talking about things and not being a hog in the room is the key to surviving the experience.

    • Marissa August 6, 2012 at 6:58 pm


  • Carolyn West August 7, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    Please tell me I didn’t take too long in the bathroom? Also, add one more tip… make sure your roommates don’t snore!

    • Marissa August 8, 2012 at 3:31 am

      Hahahahaha. Earplugs are a must next time!

  • Amy August 10, 2012 at 11:12 am

    Why would people share a room at a work conference?! You’re adults – that’s really unprofessional and just a bit wrong!

    If my company wanted to send me away for business, and expected me to share a room, I’d refuse to go. Or get my own room and charge it back to them.

    It’s simply not acceptable to expect adult professionals to share rooms.

    • Marissa August 10, 2012 at 6:27 pm

      This wasn’t a work conference. My company normally covers the fees for that. This is a “I want to go to” conference. And people share rooms so they can save money.