Packing List for FLOAT Balloon Convention 2020

Picture of Joette Giardina

Joette Giardina

Mentor. Motivator. Speaker.

Packing List for FLOAT Balloon Convention 2020!


FLOAT 2020 is right around the corner!

I believe firmly in the quote – if you are not growing, you’re dying.   That is one of the reasons that I have been attending balloon industry and business training since I started in the balloon industry full time in 2003.  We are so blessed to be a part of an industry where people are giving, positive, and energetic to be around.  Going to a convention with over 500 balloon professionals is an uplifting experience.

FLOAT is my favorite balloon convention! (You may be thinking but Joette, don’t you put on a convention that should be your favorite?)  I produce a Business Building Workshop limited to 96 attendees in Orlando every year in November. It is NOT a convention, although some refer to it as one.   I have the utmost respect for the convention that Steve and his amazing team put on as it has 5 times the amount of people that I host in Orlando and is a different learning opportunity from what I host.

I met the founding producer of FLOAT, Steven Jones, at a large group build he hosted prior to creating FLOAT called Balloon Town in Ohio. The experience was full of learning new things and meeting wonderful people whose work I had seen online on Balloonhq (the place we used to go for online connections before Facebook was created…YES to those of you who are much younger than I…there was a time Facebook did not exist!)   I can’t wait to spend a week with my FLOAT family many of which are some of my best friends and support system, and met at FLOAT or other conventions.

I missed the first FLOAT in 2008 due to a schedule conflict, but have been to every FLOAT since! From participant to competitor to instructor, and 2020 will be my fourth year as a sponsor for FLOAT! Come by the booth in the vendor showcase, on Monday and Tuesday from 11:30 am to 6 pm. I’d love to meet you in person and give you a small gift if you tell me you read this blog! KEY Times to be in the Vendor Showcase are during the Raffle Drawings at 12:15 and 5:15 pm on Monday and Tuesday!

A couple of the things that I enjoy about FLOAT are:

  • The variety of balloon manufacturers and vendors all under one roof! That is real life; using products and balloons from multiple places.
  • Spending time with balloon professionals around the world to see the similarities and differences in business around the world.
  • Great content for social media. Take a lot of photos and share that you are at an international event learning from the top instructors in the industry!
  • Many people do not realize our industry is an industry, so when I share that I’m taking courses from companies around the world it shows that I take my business seriously.
  • Building a network with other balloon professionals that I can reach out to when feeling frustrated, burnt out or needing help. FLOAT feels like a Family Reunion!
  • Get a boost of energy to keep growing my business and increase my motivation.
  • Increasing my knowledge. No mater if the class I attend is an instructor that I have heard before or even a subject I teach on, I always walk away with a golden nugget of information, it might be something I learned in the past but have not put into play in my business yet to a brand new idea that makes me more efficient or more profitable.
  • We forget 90% of what we learn, especially if we don’t put it to use.  Many times attending a class on a topic we know about we hear something we had learned before but have not taken action on. This triggers us to take action and try something new to become more efficient or offer a new service to our customers to increase our profits.

CLICK HERE to view the Class Descriptions and see the schedule for FLOAT to plan the classes you want to attend

Packing and Prep List for FLOAT

  • Positive mental attitude
  • Smile and a good handshake
  • Check what the size and weight requirements are for suitcases from your airline
  • Put suit cases out a week in advance and start packing early so you are not totally rushed at the end.  (I started my packing 3 weeks in advance)
  • Hotel and air reservation typed into calendar (AND printed out if needed)
  • Click this link for PDF Schedule, It is a nice graph for each day Sat -Wednesday. SAVE each day of the calendar onto your phone photos so you can easily access the schedule on your phone while you are at FLOAT!
  • Delete photos from phone and tablet, camera or purchase additional memory cards to have room for over 1,000 photos!
  • Pack a lot of business cards! You are meeting hundreds of new people it’s great to share your business cards to network after event. Seriously over 500 people will be there – bring lots of cards!
  • Portfolio or marketing materials that you may share during conversation to get ideas from others on improvements you can make.
  • Bring a special baggie or container (pencil pouch from the dollar store) or ladies even a cosmetic bag to put all the business cards in of the people you meet.
  • Pack your POWER CORD for all electronics (WBC 2012 Jani Blocker was nice enough to buy me a universal power cord when I left my laptop cord at home – not cheap!)
  • Tip from Steve pack in your carry-on a 3 outlet adapter to plug in your phone charger now you can share with 2 other people around you if there is only one plug and it’s being used you can still access power!
  • Pack an extension cord with multiple plugs! They come in handy in your hotel room since we all have so many electronics! Make sure it is 3 prong, 3 plug end or power strip
  • If you have one or more back up power pack or battery for your phone – bring all you have as you spend full days away from a power plug!
  • Hand held luggage scale you can purchase at Walmart or online, helps from extra fees at check in at your flight.
  • Chap Stick (The air is dry in St.Louis in the hotel -heater will be on due to cold outside)
  • Hand lotion
  • Jacket or sweater
  • If you plan to go site seeing or to grocery store or out to meals a winter coat, gloves, hat etc.  It’s going to be COLD.
  • Logo clothing to show off your brand
  • Balloon Coach Shirt from previous events to do a Balloon coach Group Photo on Monday at Noon in the Balloon Coach Booth of the Vendor Fair.
  • Backpack or day bag to keep your notebook, notes etc. in from class to class, your Balloon Coach Bag from Retreat 2019 has a zipper and place for a water bottle perfect to carry to classes!  (bring your luggage tag from Retreat so you know it’s your bag!)
  • ORANGE clothes or accessories for Sunday night Kick off party! You will see some fun and wild orange costumes, wigs, boas to simple orange t-shirt. Trust me you want to wear something orange to this fun kick off event to show your FLOAT spirit!   If you are a Balloon Boss Mastermind Member, or Alumni From Retreat and would like an Orange shirt for opening night email by Sunday January 12th with your shirt size to have A BalloonCoach Orange T-shirt for Sunday.  Not a member YET you can join Balloon Boss Mastermind NOW to have ongoing support and access to over $3,000 of online training at your finger tips – and get the bonus Orange Balloon Coach – #BalloonBoss t-shirt delivered to you at FLOAT!
  • Clothing for the Wednesday night Designer Awards Gala, theme “Bon Voyage – think cruise -saying good-bye to St. Louis” dress to impress!
  • Ladies will be in fancy pant suits to elegant gowns.
  • Gentleman will be wearing suits and some even a tux…so dress your best.  This is FLOAT stage 2019 when Betallic presented me with the Inspire Award.
  • At least 1 Pair of scissors in your checked luggage for jams and hands on classes.
  • Hand pump for jams and hands on class. You don’t have to have this but it comes in handy from time to time.
  • Vitamins or Emergen-C! Typically you get lack of sleep and you are hanging out with 500 people so keeping healthy is key!
  • Small bottle of hand sanitizer
  • Notebook, it’s nice to have extra pad of paper for notes
  • Pens – easy to lose a pen or run out of ink
  • Highlighter if you like to highlight notes during class
  • Gum/Mints
  • Travel cup, water bottle or money to buy one to have beverages in class and in your room
  • Travel Kleenex
  • Nail clippers and file, with all the balloon work you are bound to break a nail!
  • Static spray (heat will be on in hotel)
  • Swimsuit there is an indoor pool and hot tub at the host hotel.
  • FILES for the weeks events. If you are running crews while you are away and plan to be in touch with your crew. Email the information to yourself if you wish to review.
  • $$$$ You will want to have some cash and credit cards ready for meals and purchasing items from vendors on Monday and Tuesday , stop by and see me at the booth!
  • IF at all possible, plan for a full 8 hours of sleep night before your flight. Once you get to FLOAT it is easy to lose track of time and be up in the lobby talking to a new friend til all hours of the night and morning!
  • Favorite granola bars, nuts, dried fruit etc. as many times you don’t take time to eat because you are visiting with people, good to keep your energy level up.
  • If you have a BalloonCoach T-shirt, Bag or Button from Past event please bring with you. Wear your BalloonCoach T-shirt on Monday! Thank you!
  • Not a Balloon Coach Member yet?  When you sign up for Balloon Boss Mastermind (discount at FLOAT) or  Balloon Boss Pro Summit 2020 (Orlando November) you can select a Balloon Coach item as your bonus gift in addition to saving money!


TIPS While at Convention


Make friends with someone who has a car or split taxi or Uber cost and run to a store to grab snacks and food for your room to reduce food cost. The host hotel has a small fridge in each room

Volunteer to work on the hands on builds, teacher prep, or competition teams to learn new techniques and make new friends. NO EXPERIENCE needed to help with group builds -just find out where they are going on at and jump in and help!

Be proud to say “Hey, I helped make that and I know with confidence I can recreate it for my client”

When meeting new people that you do not want to forget take a photo of them with their name tag up by their face. This way when you return home and your memory is mush from meeting hundreds of new people, you will easily be able to reference back to who is who!

2014-03-28 21.13.42

2014-03-28 21.13.47


Brenda Eng and Pearlyn Tam from Singapore

After meeting at WBC they then came back to the USA for FLOAT 2014, and then WBC 2016, I enjoy spending time with people from around the world that share my passion for the Balloon Industry! Lots of fun memories are about to be created!






Tips to  Selecting the classes that will give you the Most Return on your Investment

I love to pick the majority of my classes in a fashion that will lead me to more INCOME and Growth. so that I can make the most from my investment when I return home.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • What part of your business do you want to expand?
  • Who are your Target Clients, which classes focus on items for that market.
  • What area of your business do you currently struggle in and need help with that will lead you to making more income.
  • Then I pick one or two classes just for fun to be inspired.
  • Who are the instructors you are inspired by their designs or by their Business Model? Example Johnathon Shelly Gerber runs his business with a team of employees at a building he leases. Melissa Rhea Vinson runs her business home based with a work studio on her property. BOTH are great designers and create beautiful balloons. But one may inspire you a bit more than the other as they have the type of business model you wish to have. Some want to always be home based…others prefer to expand outside of their home (neither is right or wrong) That is the cool thing about our industry there are so many options and only YOU determine which route is best for you.
  • This year I’m looking forward to learning from some new instructors I have never met before. And to be honest some of them I know little about. I will be reading more on their Bios and checking out their websites and social media feed this week to help me make my final decisions of which classes to attend.
  • Before you get to FLOAT review instructors Bios – check out their website or Social media see which ones inspire you the most or have a business model you would like to have.
  • When you arrive at  FLOAT look over the Book of Notes you purchased. I get the Color Notes as it’s most helpful for me when I need to go back and look things up — I have all my past convention books in my office to refer back to as needed. IF YOU did not order a book in advance I encourage you to order one as you register to be printed for you and even if you get it later in the week its a very valuable tool as you get the notes from all the General Classes.
  • TIP one of the cool things with FLOAT during GENERAL Classes is you are allowed to leave a class and go to another one during the same time frame. Just be respectful to the instructor and delegates and leave the room quietly and enter the other class quietly.   Each General Class is Offered twice, typically back to back.

Eat meals with different people. It’s great to see old friends, but make some new ones too!  You can order takeout and have a group picnic up in your room to not have to go out in the cold!

The front desk of the hotel can give you a list of places that deliver to the hotel.

IF you are not an outgoing person,and have a hard time meeting new people, relax and say hello! Send me a PM on Facebook Joette Meyers Giardina and I’ll be glad to introduce you to people!  Let’s get a selfie together!  I stay so busy at most conventions I sometimes forget to take photos – would love to have a photo with you in my Booth on Monday or Tuesday – or in the hall if we miss each other during the vendor fair.

Networking is one of the main reasons I attend conventions. YES I want to learn from the classes. But the friendships I have made over the years from conventions have been my support system to grow my company and lead to many wonderful travels.   My room-mate and best friend Blenda Berrier and I met thanks to FLOAT.   *** Remember, lots of business cards!***

Show your support for the event you are attending.

  • Post on Social media you are attending the event (let your customers know you are continuing your education)
  • Post on your Business Page and your personal bag that you are traveling to St. Louis and then post from the event.   I cannot count how many people have stopped me at networking events at home to say WOW I never realized the Balloon Industry was a thing and your photos from your trip were Amazing!
  • Put out a Press Release before you go to the event – or after to get the most PR potential from the event for FREE marketing!
  • Purchase items from the sponsors at the vendor showcase, No, you can’t purchase everything. But realize the reason people are selling items is to help make back the money they invested in the event. I do my best to support distributors that attend conventions and that provide education for the industry (something to think of next time you go to look for who to buy your balloons from).
  • At the Balloon Coach Booth you can register for Balloon Boss Pro Summit Orlando 2020, Balloon Boss Mastermind and talk about other One to One and small group training available in Florida.
  • Post thank you messages, and send a note of thanks to the company or people who organize the event you attend.
  • Give your honest feedback on what you liked and what can be improved in the future
  • Putting on a convention is a huge undertaking. Take time to thank the producers, staff, instructors and sponsors.
  • As you post photos in the future of jobs you land, or increased income from classes you take give a shout out to the teachers and event you learned from


I look forward to spending time with you in 2020 at FLOAT!


Your Partner in Success,






Joette Giardina, CBA

Mentor. Motivator. Speaker.

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