Design, Lifestyle

What to pack for a conference

What to pack for a conference

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.

Charge everything

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?


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  • Reply Christine @ Adventure, Baby! August 12, 2015 at 6:31 pm

    Yay, this is so exciting (and also nerve wracking). Hope to see you there!

    • Reply Swah August 17, 2015 at 9:42 am

      I loved spending time with you, what a great weekend :)

  • Reply Jenni from Styling Curvy August 12, 2015 at 6:45 pm

    Great tips, I’ve just finished packing and have had to ditch some things (like my laptop) due to weight limits. I’m coming for ten days so a little more to take. All cables are in, extra pens packed and looking forward to PB

    • Reply Swah August 17, 2015 at 9:41 am

      I hope you enjoyed the conference as much as I did Jenni! And good idea to ditch the laptop, I lugged mine up with me but only used it for like 20 mins! Ugh

  • Reply Jerry August 12, 2015 at 7:14 pm

    Great post – I’m looking forward to meeting new people at my first ProBlogger Event tomorrow :-) I agree wholeheartedly with bringing traditional pens and notebook – it’s actually a great way to capture ideas during presentations, and doesn’t lock you into trying to capture every word. Many thanks for this post :-)

    • Reply Swah August 17, 2015 at 9:41 am

      You are very welcome Jerry! I hope you had a great time :)

  • Reply Phoebe August 12, 2015 at 9:29 pm

    Oh yes, I need to chuck my portable charger in! Perfect reminder! Hope to meet you on Friday :)

    • Reply Swah August 17, 2015 at 9:40 am

      Glad to have helped! And disappointed we didn’t get to properly meet :(

  • Reply Gourmet Getaways August 13, 2015 at 6:53 pm

    Now, that’s the list of an ever-ready, excited and committed blogger :). Have fun, Swah! Bring back the fun!

    Julie & Alesah
    Gourmet Getaways xx

    • Reply Swah August 17, 2015 at 9:40 am

      Lovely to meet you at the conference Julie, I hope the list helped a bit!

  • Reply Nicole - Champagne and Chipd August 16, 2015 at 9:39 pm

    trusf me to find this AFTER the conference. I will definitely plan my outfits next time to avoid my awkward shoe/outfit combos (kinda my style anyway though). And the master pack list is genius!!

    • Reply Swah August 17, 2015 at 9:39 am

      Haha well at least you can use these tips next time! And the master pack list has saved my butt so many times. I love it :)

  • Reply THE HUNGRY MUM August 18, 2015 at 12:37 pm

    a great list! I did Problogger last year and loved it, am trying Eat Drink Blog this year and will be referring to your list before I start packing. Def agree with the cardi – I never leave home without a cardigan :)

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