By Claire

I have never been to a large international conference, and I have chosen AGU to be my first. AGU (American Geophysical Union) holds a conference in San Francisco each year (known as the Fall Meeting), which attracts more than 24,000 scientists from around the world.

Now, I have to admit that I’m having some difficulties comprehending that many people in one place. It’s basically like having a full Manuka Oval (or an average crowd at an SCG match) worth of scientists, scurrying around to get to lectures. So far, the conferences I have been to were quite small – only 400 people or so, so I’m looking forward to the sheer size of this conference.

I was advised this morning that in order to secure a reasonably priced room for the week-long event, I needed to book now. Usually, I’m more of a last minute type of person. I wasn’t really planning on thinking about accommodation until a few months before hand, but at the advice of my advisor, I started looking this morning.

I’m soooooo glad I did!

We want science!
We want science!

While I was looking around for somewhere to stay, I was being bombarded by notifications from the website, telling me each time another room was booked. I think around 15 rooms where taken just while I was still trying to get my head around where the conference was being held and where I needed to try to stay. The hotels that weren’t already sold out were labelled with a countdown, informing me how few rooms were left. 4 rooms left! 3 rooms left! Quick! Book now to secure your room!!

I’m glad to say that I am now booked in to a hotel just a short walk from the conference centre, for only $100 per night! (If I were a rich person, I may have considered staying at some of the $1000 per night hotels in the area! What do you even get for $1000 a night anyway?!)

I am also in the process of getting together my abstract, ready for submission by next Tuesday.

Now that I have accommodation booked, and I’m starting to get excited about AGU, I want to hear your AGU stories. What are your tips for surviving AGU? Do you have any places you’d recommend people visit while in San Francisco? Are you heading along as well? Let us know in the comments below!