Bring Your A-Game on the Road

One thing that comes with Fall – aside from pumpkin-spiced everything – is traveling to college fairs and attending conventions.  This can be a demanding environment for even the most skilled counselor: long hours on your feet, moving pubs around, and gauging a slew of interest levels, not to mention personalities, on the spot.

Here are some tips to help you take control of stressors that can have a crippling domino effect on you and your career while setting you up for success to shine with any prospect.

24 Hours Pre-Event

Human performance is affected by two dominant items in our control: hydration and sleep.


Did you know temperature control units dehydrate you?  Having the luxury of air conditioning or heating depletes our bodies of their resources just by being inside.  Now picture what you should prep your body for the next day. Bigger spaces such as convention centers or high schools blast cold or hot air to keep temperatures comfortable.  That means you need to think about what you put in your body the day before.

Get your hydration on by making a few changes the day before:

  • Cut back on the caffeine – a little goes a long way.  For every cup of coffee or caffeinated soda, you should drink two 8 oz cups of water.
  • Up your water intake by 50% –  Preferably you want to double your usual water intake the day before, but that can be challenging.  Upping your intake by a couple more bottles of water can really pay off and give you an energy boost the next day.


Sleep is a key indicator of how you will perform the next day, so make sure you get at least 7 hours of sleep.

Here are some tips to ensure a good night’s sleep:

  • No screen time at least 30 minutes before bedtime
  • Limit as much light as possible in your bedroom (either natural or artificial light from electronics)
  • Soften lighting during dinner time to signal your body to start winding down
  • Don’t look at your clock
  • Avoid napping throughout the day
  • Stop caffeine intake at 2pm to aid a good night’s sleep

During the Event

You’ve done your pre-event work by hydrating and resting; now it’s game time.

Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail

Mentally prepare a plan to continue to take care of your mind and body throughout the day:

  • Arrive at least 30 minutes prior to your event to give yourself plenty of time to set up and run through your key talking points.
  • Make sure you bring:
    • Healthy snacks
    • Two pairs of comfortable shoes (ladies avoid heels)
    • A bottle of water you can refill throughout the day
    • Cash in small bills for parking and food just in case
  • Plan at least two 10 minute breaks every 45-60 minutes during setup time.
    • Tip: review the event program or venue schedule – when are program times that will leave the vendor hall empty or when are students in class?
    • You’re going to be surrounded by stimuli that will drain your brain’s energy levels. It’s important to step away either to a restroom, out in the hall, or even better outside for a breather.

Remember those extra pair of shoes we recommended you bring? Switch out your shoes about halfway through the event to avoid foot and leg pain. Make sure you’re working in some easy stretches such as rolling your ankles, neck, and wrists when the vendor space clears out. Encouraging blood flow throughout your body is key to helping you think on your toes… literally.

Don’t forget to eat and hydrate. Sometimes it can be difficult to get a proper meal, but you can set a goal for yourself to eat a snack every hour or two if that’s the case, as well as how many bottles of water you’re going to drink. This goal is especially important to set and stick to if you have a multi-day event.

Good luck out there road warriors!

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