After you've gone to 2 or 3 RSNA meetings, you pick up a few tips on getting around and surviving the 4-6 days you're there. So I thought I'd write about some of the things I've learned about RSNA survival.
- Wear Comfortable shoes
- Comfortable shoes are a must at RSNA. Your feet will be your primary mode of transportation, so forget fashion and forget looking good, unless you happen to enjoy having sore feet. At RSNA, you will do a lot of walking. You can easily cover a good 3-4 miles in a day just walking around McCormick Place, especially if you're wandering through the two technical exhibit halls. If you're not walking, you're standing and either talking to someone or studying something.
- Pace yourself
- There's a lot to see at RSNA, and if you try to do it all at once, you'll end up burning out and exhausted.
- Go early, leave late
- Most people try to arrive at McCormick around 8ish. The Technical exhibits open at 10. If you didn't get breakfast before McCormick, there's a McDonald's that offers pretty quick service, but lines quickly stretch outside the door after 7:30. The computer terminals also start getting crowded around 7:30-8. I like to arrive around 7, grab some breakfast at McD's maybe (about the only time I'll ever eat at McD's), check my mail (plenty of open terminals, so theren's no need to be rushed) and spend an hour or so studying some of the posters.
The Technical exhibits close at 5 PM, and that's about when the exodus from McCormick begins. That's also when the lines for the busses are the longest. You can easily spend 30-45 minutes standing in line just waiting for the bus. Instead of waiting in line, just head back to the poster exhibits and study a few more posters. Earn another hour of CE credits and then by the time you head back to the busses, the lines are gone and you'll be on the bus about the same time as you would have been if you waited.
- Plenty of things to see and do, not only at RSNA, but in Chicago.
- Dress Accordingly
- Everyone seems to wear dark or black suits/clothes, especially the people working the technical exhibits. So, if you want to be inconspicuous and blend in, wear dark clothes. If you want to be distinctive, stand out and make it easy for others to find you, wear something colourful.
- Leave your coat behind
- You're walking around all day, and the last thing you want to do is be lugging around a heavy jacket all day. Yes, it's November, and Chicago is cold in November. But about the only time you're outside are the 5 seconds it takes to walk between your hotel lobby and the bus, and between the bus and McCormick Center. So, unless you have a nasty smoking habit (they make you go outside to smoke), the coat can be dispensed with. But if you insist on wearing one, there are coat checks where you can leave it. Then your only problem is remembering which coat check you left your coat at.
- Leave your bag behind
- Same advice goes for your bag/briefcase. All it will do is leave you with a sore and tired shoulder. If you happen to collect things through the day, there big roomy plastic bags available. Just grab one of those to hold your stuff in for the day.