Do you take your significant other to tech conferences?

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. :slight_smile:

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!


Because of my job, I haven’t had much opportunity to travel for conferences. That’s probably changing with the new one.

It’d be hard for us because we have three kids, but we do have family that we could arrange sitting with, albeit a 3 hour drive from us. Taking three children 1–8yo on a trip seems impractical for the spouse left alone with them all day :laughing:.

That said I figure if there was an opportunity like that one, she’d love to go. She’s not tech oriented and would have no interest in events I attended, although she probably would if I ever spoke at one. We’ve managed to keep our conjoined family pet free so far, and probably will for a few years, so that’s a non issue for us anymore / yet :smiley:


It would be amazing if you can bring your significant other to a conference with you, while she can spend time exploring the place and when your conference is done you have the night time together having lovely dinner, this is better than being left at home… Although for some it may not be good specially if they have small kids that need much attention, but theres always a way to enjoy your time together :slight_smile:

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Aw, so cute. :slight_smile: (Sorry, great post, but I’m distracted now. :stuck_out_tongue: )


Well @swader It’s a good thought.
I mean, I’d accompany Amanda (That’s Bae) to any such conferences even if she’s just an attendee.

Since i’m a travel writer, I spend less time with her. If I could squeeze in any time, it is gold.

Nope. It would bore her to death, also, we have kids that either need to go to school or require mommy’s attention, so doing a lot of traveling is out of the question… let daddy do the work stuff and let mommy focus on the other important things.

I think the issue here is the misunderstanding of Work vs Vacation. Your SO thinks it’s a vacation and you are considering as semi-work/vacation. If she has little access to vacation time then you should take vacation as well since that’s a bit unfair. If she clearly understand that your intention is Conference first then vacation then it’s her responsibility to have a plan while you are gone to ‘work’. If she expect a full vacation plan then I wouldn’t take her.

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