Things to Know Before You Go

At this year’s Best Friends National Conference in Los Angeles, there may not be a red carpet or a swarm of paparazzi, but if you’re attending — you’re a star. Why? Because once you’re here, you’re going to get all the tools you need to help save the lives of even more homeless pets!

You probably already have a list of sessions you want to attend, but are you still wondering what to wear or what time to check in? Find out below what you should know before coming to the conference.

Get discounted parking

Driving to the conference? You can get discounted parking! Both discounted self-pay and valet parking are available, but only with a validation ticket. You’ll need to have separate validation tickets for each day you park. Be sure to get your tickets early because they’re limited and will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis at the registration table. For more information, visit our parking page.

Dress for comfort

Conference attire is casual. We recommend comfortable shoes because the hotel is pretty large and the sessions are on different floors. Also, since the meeting rooms are often cool in the mornings and warmer later in the day, we suggest bringing a sweater or light jacket with you. And please note that the Yaps and Apps social will be held outdoors; since the summer months are warm in L.A., you may want to dress in something cool.

Check in early

If you can, take advantage of early check-in. The registration desk will be open Wednesday evening, July 18, between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. Early sign-in means more time for networking with fellow conference goers and swapping favorite cat memes.

Download the conference app

We’re becoming even more green! This year, there won’t be a paper program, so you’ll want to download the conference app. The app will give you access to the schedule, session descriptions and a map of the venue, and will also let you connect with other attendees. It’ll be like you’re at the conference before you even get to the conference.

Keep an eye out for an email about the app, which we’ll send out soon. We’ll have a table at the conference where you can get help if you have any trouble with the app or any questions about it. Prefer paper? No problem. You can print a copy of the schedule.

Wi-Fi at the hotel

The hotel offers guests free Wi-Fi in their rooms and in the hotel lobby, but you won’t have access to Wi-Fi in the conference area. But don’t worry: Most of the conference app features work offline.

Sign up for “Ask an Expert”

This year, you can sign up for a one-on-one consultation with one of the conference’s expert speakers, select sponsors or a Best Friends staff member. Once you arrive at the conference, you’ll be able to sign up for a consultation at a dedicated table near the main conference registration area. Consultations will take place in the Save Them All Networking Hub. Be sure to sign up early because there’s a limited number of spots.

De-stress with meditation sessions

Saving lives isn’t easy work. Join us every day at 1 p.m. to relax and unwind at meditation sessions hosted by Best Friends co-founder Cyrus Mejia.

Wear your name badge and ribbons

Your name badge is your ticket to all things awesome at the conference, along with your networking ribbons, so make sure to pick those up, too. Please be sure your badge and any ribbons are visible at all times, since you will need them for entry into all meals, sessions and events. It also makes it easier for fellow attendees to walk up to you and say, “Hey, I’m from Cincinnati, too.”

Look for orange

Best Friends conference volunteers are the cat’s pajamas. Seriously, you won’t find a more friendly, helpful group of folks. And they’re really easy to spot: Look for the bright orange T-shirts. Ask them a question, get directions to an activity or session room, or just show them a cute photo of your pet on your phone (they love that!).

Be social with #BFNC18

Don’t forget to use #BFNC18 when posting session takeaways, favorite moments and photos on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Lifesaving tips from the experts and dog puns are equally encouraged.

Join the fun

When you’re not in sessions, there’s so much to do at the conference! You can join us at the member appreciation party, kick back at the Bow Wow Film Festival, enjoy interesting conversation and delicious appetizers at Yaps and Apps, and more. For a full list, check out our activities page.

Save LA's Kittens

LA Animal Services and various NKLA Coalition Partners are looking for help, and you can be part of the lifesaving solution! We will be hosting a kitten transfer event on Sunday, July 22, 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. at the Westin. You can leave LA with tons of new knowledge … and kittens! Please fill out this form to express interest.

Find what you’re looking for

Whether it’s an answer to a question or an item that you lost, you’ll be able to find it at the registration desk. Someone will always be at the desk to answer your questions, and you can find the lost-and-found bin there, too.

Just say no to bootleg session recordings

Please feel free to use your smartphone to make the most of your conference experience, such as using the conference app and posting on social media. But we kindly ask that you respect your fellow attendees and our speakers and refrain from audio-recording, video-recording or live-streaming the sessions. Audio recordings of most of the sessions will be available for purchase at the Professional Programs table, located on the lobby level. You can choose which sessions you’d like to purchase by filling out the order form, which will be in your conference bag.

Leave the fur balls at home

Don’t get us wrong: Obviously, we love animals and would love nothing more than to meet yours. But conference days are very long and full of lots of strangers, loud noises and environments that are potentially stressful for pets. For that reason, we ask that you leave your four-legged friends at home.

Get a discount at Disneyland

Conference attendees can get discounted Disneyland tickets! Your discounted tickets will be good July 15–26, which means you can have a blast with Mickey Mouse and his pals before or after the conference. Get the details.