10 Tips for Attending Tech Conferences Abroad: Insights from a KubeCon Regular

Steve Wade
3 min readMar 12, 2024

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As someone who has attended nearly every KubeCon since its inception in Europe and North America, I’ve amassed a treasure trove of insights and tips on navigating these invaluable tech gatherings. With Rejekts and KubeCon Paris on the horizon, starting this Sunday. I thought it would be the perfect time to share my top 10 tips for making the most out of attending tech conferences abroad.

1. Do Your Homework

Before you set foot on the plane, research the conference agenda, speakers, and sessions. Identify the ones that align with your professional interests or personal growth objectives. This preparation will ensure you make the most of your time by attending sessions that will benefit you.

2. Network, Network, Network

Conferences are goldmines for networking. Don’t be shy; introduce yourself to fellow attendees, speakers, and exhibitors. Exchange business cards or LinkedIn profiles, and don’t forget to follow up post-conference. These connections can open doors to opportunities, collaborations, and friendships. I have made numerous friends from Kubecon and had the opportunity to call some colleagues.

3. Stay Flexible

While it’s great to have a plan, some of the best conference experiences come from spontaneous decisions. Be open to changing your schedule if you hear about an interesting last-minute session or meetup.

4. Embrace the Local Culture

Attending a conference abroad isn’t just about the event; it’s also an opportunity to experience a new culture. Take some time to explore the host city, try local foods, and immerse yourself in the local customs. This will enrich your trip far beyond the confines of the conference venue.

5. Look After Your Health

Conference days can be long and taxing. Make sure to stay hydrated, eat healthily, and get enough sleep. Packing snacks and a reusable water bottle can be a lifesaver during back-to-back sessions.

6. Leverage Social Media

Use social media to enhance your conference experience. Follow the official conference hashtag to keep up with announcements and session changes and to engage in conversations. It’s also a great way to connect with speakers and attendees.

7. Prepare for Language Barriers

If the conference is in a country where you don’t speak the local language, learning a few basic phrases can go a long way in navigating the city and interacting with locals. Technology can also come to your rescue; translation apps can be incredibly helpful.

8. Pack Smart

Remember to bring all the essentials: chargers, adapters, business cards, and comfortable shoes. Dressing in layers is also a good idea, as conference venues can vary in temperature.

9. Manage Your Budget

Travelling abroad for conferences can be expensive. Look for savings opportunities, such as sharing accommodation, taking advantage of conference food, or exploring public transport options.

10. Take Time to Reflect

After the conference, take some time to reflect on what you’ve learned and how you can apply it to your work. Organise your notes, review your collected business cards, and start actioning follow-ups.

Attending tech conferences abroad can be a fantastic way to gain new knowledge, meet like-minded professionals, and experience new cultures. Following these tips can help you make the most of your conference experience, starting with Rejekts and KubeCon Paris. Here’s to learning, networking, and exploring!

À bientôt in Paris! 🇫🇷🤝

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