Surviving Tucson Series #2: Six things you need to do before the Tucson bead show

Tucson (like end of the world predictions) only comes once a year.  Every year my neighbor complains about only getting two weeks of vacation, yet every year she and her husband come back disappointed at what they were able to do in those two weeks.  The problem in the equation?  Planning.  They go to cool places (Scotland, the Grand Canyon, etc), but they do everything last minute and they don’t really know what else is out there.  One glitch after the next eats up precious time that should have been spent sightseeing until there’s nothing left of their vacation.

Know before you go.  You have been warned.

Photo Courtesy of ChaoDoze

Get ready for a long, strange trip!

My number one thing to do before heading off to Tucson?

Make a plan:  Tucson is 19 days long, but my vacation is much shorter.  Maximize your time by creating a plan.  Everyone loves a pleasant surprise, but be prepared – know which vendors you want to see and which shows you want to attend in advance.  Know which seminars are taking place and get signed up early!  Don’t miss out because you were uninformed.  Check out these resources to learn about the vendors and classes at Tucson 2014:

  • Tucson Show Guide: Shows can open between 7:30 am and 10:00 am, not all shows are open for the whole 19 day period, know before you go which show you plan to hit and make sure it is open. Also has shuttle schedules and other great info.
  • XpoPress: Look at shows by location on their interactive map, by date or alphabetically
  • Tucson Bead Show: A comprehensive list of workshops and registration details. A must read.

Five more things I always do before I leave for Tucson.

  • Flights: If possible, fly into Tucson airport (TUS).  Alternatively, you can fly into Phoenix (PHX) and rent a car – the drive is approximately 1 hour 45 minutes.
  • Hotels: Book early.  Late to the party?  No room at the Holiday Inn?  Try Airbnb, my brother rented a room in Paris for Christmas and New Year’s Eve ten days in advance and got a place for $100/night.  It’s a great alternative. Make sure to rent from someone who already has positive reviews.
  • Food: Scope out restaurants before you go.  You will be tired and grumpy, nobody wants to have the “where do you want to eat?” discussion when they’re hangry.  (And always have a back-up plan.) My fav restaurant in Tucson is the Old Pueblo Grille.  Try the Hatch Green Chile Mac and Cheese.
  • Make a list of must-haves before you go, and be prepared to find lots of stuff that isn’t on that list. But it will help keep you focused in the sea of beads.
  • Plan on how you are getting your beads back home. If you are flying remember there are weight limits on your luggage. You might want to consider shipping you beads home.

You only get so many days of vacation a year – make the most of it.

If you could only do one thing to prepare for Tucson – what would it be?

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