So you are taking your spouse to Cisco Live 2011? Here are a few quick tips specific to Cisco Live 2011 but can be adjusted for most any conference:
1) Set exceptions of the time you two will spend together
Most likely your company is paying for you to go to this conference to learn something, not for your two to go on vacation. There is a lot going on at this conference to fill your time so if she is expecting to meet you for lunch or other times during the day don’t count on it. For starters your day is going to start earlier then hers. Most likely she is not going to get up to have breakfast with you before the 8am classes. For lunch you get that included with your conference pass, she does not. You could go meet her but most the restaurants are 5-10 minute walk each way from the conference and you only have so much time for lunch. And then you are double paying for lunch. For evenings there a couple of official events to fill your time, a CCIE party (if you are an IE/DE) and the Customer Appreciation Event. If you buy a social events pass she can go to these, if not that leaves just two nights free for you to hang out together and part of those nights will be filled with at the World of Solutions. Plus this conference is a great time to network with peers so that sucks up even more potential time the two of you can spend together. Just make sure she knows this going in, will make for a better week for both of you.
2) Stay at Mandalay Bay
They have a very nice pool that she can hang out at all day. This is what my wife did last year and enjoyed it a lot. It also is within walking distance of the conference so you two are close together if needed. If you stay at MGM forget ever seeing each other until night time. The extra cost of Mandalay Bay is worth it for these reasons.
3) See if any of your peers are taking their spouse
For some other events spousetivities.com has done some great work for the spouses and you might be able to coordinate something similar. A group could go see Hoover Dam or something that takes more time then you will have.
4) Buy a social events pass, maybe
I say maybe because it is $300 which seems pricey for what it is. It allows the two of you to attend World of Solutions, Customer Appreciation Event and the IE party together. My wife’s idea of fun is not going to hang out at the World of Solutions and she was not interested in seeing Smashmouth last year. Plus all I did at the CAE was hang out with other twitter users, again not fun for her. So this one is a maybe but will allow you to attend Networkers events with your spouse.
Also, I kept saying “wife” and “she” as this applied to me, if you are going and taking your husband just do a find and replace :)