Bring the Kids?

Ok, so your spouse and kids talked you into bringing them. Worse things have happened; they needn't cramp your style. Here are some things to do with them that you all might enjoy. Or that they'll enjoy while you're having your kind of fun.

Guest Badges

Guests of attendees can obtain special badges at registration. These are necessary to prevent ejection from the hospitality suite and other social events. Remember, the MTT bouncers are tough hombres; just ask anyone who has tried to enter the hospitality suite in recent years.

As of 2011, there is a (not insignificant) charge for guest badges. This has been implemented to offset the costs of the hospitality suite. 

The Hospitality Suite

The hospitality suite is one of the best-kept secrets of the MTT Symposium. It is usually located in the headquarters hotel, but not well publicized. If you scour the back pages of the program or ask members of the other attendees' families, you will eventually find it. Searching out the location of the hospitality suite is one of the Great Sports of the MTT Symposium. 

    The suite is well hidden for a reason: it is for guests of attendees, not the attendees themselves. Each committee makes a concerted attempt to prevent the suite from being overrun by people who don't belong there, sometimes in a bluntly inhospitable manner.

    The suite is a great place for guests to kick back and relax a little. There is food, information about local attractions and guest-program tours, and companionship. Depending on the enthusiasm of the organizer, there may also be a gift, toys for the kids, and sometimes a computer for email. 

The Guest Program

One of the best things to do with your family is to ship 'em off on a tour. Every year, a number of tours are organized by the steering committee. The tours are not cheap, but they may include bus transportation, a nice lunch, admission fees to museums or whatever is visited, and similar sightseeing expenses. Also, remember that they are often subsidized.

    In contrast to the hospitality suite, the tours are open to attendees as well as their guests. If they have the cash, that is. 

Local Tourism

The MTT Symposium is almost always held in a place where there is a lot to do. If you can't find something fascinating to do in Boston, Seattle, Los Angeles, or Philadelphia, you really do need help! (On the other hand, if you can't make your own entertainment in Phoenix or Fort Worth, you're simply normal.)

The Future of the Hospitality Suite

The $65 charge for a Guest Badge in 2011 and 2012 reduced the use of the hospitality suite significantly, as did its poor location. It's likely that it's on a downward spiral that it will be difficult to recover from. Enjoy the suite while it lasts; I'd give it five years, tops.