Do you ever take your significant other to conference events? Does it vary, depending on whether you're a speaker or just an attendee? How does that usually work out? Do they accompany you to talks and sit around bored, or are they also tech-minded and actually pay attention? Do they explore the surroundings and tourist attractions while you're at the conference, and then join up for social events later? Or do you skip social events in their favor and go exploring together once the official parts of a conference are over? Please do tell, I'm genuinely interested in how you make it work, if at all.
Having been at a fair number of conferences as both speaker and attendee, I've witnessed all combinations. Personally, due to having a fairly demanding dog, it was always easier to leave her at home with my girlfriend, who has a fairly demanding job herself and very little access to vacation time. And this has always been kind of a given for us, it was hard to plan out something that would take us both (or all three) there and still keep everyone entertained. Not many conferences really paid much attention to this aspect anyway - their focus is, after all, getting the speakers there and making sure the technical and networking side is up to par. Until this year.
Please correct me if I'm getting this wrong, but in what I think is a first, the always amazing annual Web Summer Camp (previously PHPSummerCamp) has organized a Companion Program which focuses exclusively on giving your partners a good time while you're grabbing business cards, learning new stuff, and awkwardly cavorting on stage! Here's what they say:
This is what we had in mind: while you're at the workshops improving your knowledge (go grab your ticket!), your companion can take a week off, explore the surroundings on captivating tours, or simply relax on the beach or by the hotel pool. And you still get to spend the rest of the time together enjoying our extracurricular activities and the beautiful town of Rovinj. It’s all an integral part of our learn & fun experience.
Having been to Rovinj many times now, I still can't get enough of exploring it and enjoying everything it has to offer, and I delight in the idea of being able to bring my little family there, especially considering they'd have their fun organized for them. Join us there? Let's make it the biggest event yet!
So, do you take companions to conferences with you? Why / why not? How do you sync up the vacation time, pet care, and other obligations? Are there other conferences worth pointing out due to a good companion outreach? Let's discuss!