I’m off to the Problogger conference on the Gold Coast tomorrow morning, and despite my best intentions, have left packing to the very last minute (as usual). I’ve been to a fair few conferences now and am slowly getting the hang of this whole organisation and packing thing.
My very first conference resulted in sore feet (why did I wear heels to a conference?!), a dead phone (didn’t even think to bring my charger) and complete burnout by the end as I thought I had to go to EVERYTHING and meet EVERYONE.
So, learn from my mistakes and pack properly!
An outfit for each day
It’s much easier to get ready for the day when you have already organised your outfit details down to the last detail. It’s natural to have butterflies each morning at a conference – you’re in an unfamiliar environment, meeting new people, learning new things and basically being overwhelmed and excited the whole time!
Keep true to your style, but also remember to be comfortable. I generally try and stick to clothing that isn’t too tight in the waistband, flat shoes and I always bring a cardigan. You can never guess conference room temperatures.
Your laptop or iPad AND a notebook
Call me old fashioned, but even if I bring my laptop or iPad up with me, I will always carry a notebook around too. Whether it be for jotting down a quick note from someone, sketching an idea or even just a place to doodle, a notebook is mandatory. And while we’re on that subject, bring at least 3 pens. I swear you will always lose or break at least one.
Your business cards, and something to carry them in
This is a conference after all, so you gotta network, baby! At my first conference I just shoved a handful of my cards in my wallet which made it a tricky and laborious process to extract (especially if I had a drink in my hand!) I now bring a dedicated small flap wallet that fit my cards perfectly, or I have a separate pocket in my handbag if it’s an evening event. And when you get a business card back, put it in your carrier so you don’t come home with a hundred squashed cards floating around your handbag!
A camera, preferably with wifi capabilities
I no longer lug my big DSLR camera with me to conferences, not only is it bulky, it’s not really necessary for the types of photos I take. I now bring along my compact Olympus OM-D E-M10 which not only fits easily into my handbag, but takes great photos AND connects to wifi. Why the wifi need? It means I can take gorgeous photos on my camera, instantly transfer them to my iPhone and upload to Instagram. Genius!
Bring some home comforts
I travel a lot, and the best way to not feel homesick is to bring some home comforts. Mine are peppermint tea and my vitamins. I know it probably sounds petty and even a little silly, but no matter where I am in the world, if I can take my vitamins in the morning and have a cup of tea before bed, then everything is going to be ok.
Triple check you have packed all your cables. Each morning make sure you charge your phone, laptop/iPad and camera. If you have a spare battery, bring it, and if not, pack your charger cables with you. I am constantly surprised how much battery power I drain everyday I am at a conference. But there is constantly things to tweet, notes to write down, photos to Instagram and more!
Create a “master pack list”
I’ve always been a keen traveller, so years ago I created a Master Pack List in Google docs and reference it every time I go away. From everything from a toothbrush, face wash and a hairbrush to my passport (if travelling internationally), computer cables and socks. Not everything is always relevant to the trip I am taking, but it always helps to ensure I at least pack the basics!
And the most important thing… have fun
I’ve noticed a lot of nerves on the Problogger Facebook group lately, and I agree, conferences can be overwhelming. Don’t form any concrete expectations, just try and meet new people, learn as much as you can and enjoy yourself! As an introvert myself, I find the concept of spending 2+ days constantly “on” is physically and mentally draining. So don’t be afraid to lock yourself away for even 30 mins to get some “me” time.
I hope this has been of help, do you have any other conference packing tips to add?