When I looked at the calendar this morning, I couldn’t believe that a month from now I will be flying out to San Diego for the BlogHer conference. BlogHer11 will be my second BlogHer. After taking New York by storm, or at least surviving, I feel much more prepared for this year. So along with help from Twitter friends here are my top ten tips for BlogHer packing. I will be adding a new top ten list every Sunday until BlogHer!
Top Ten BlogHer Packing Tips
1. Plan for swag: There’s a lot of swag at BlogHer and trust me, you will come home with way more than you thought. I personally like to tuck an extra soft sided suitcase into the front pocket of my carry on so I can check my swag. Target carries a line of expandable bags that fold up into a pouch and retail for about $15. Just remember to strategically pack the heavier items in your carry on so you’re under the 50lb limit. If you would rather ship, consider bringing pre-printed labels with you to save time and money. Then you can used the shipping station supplies and just drop your boxes off at the hotel mail room. And don’t get caught up in the swag mania. Think about what you will really use and drop everything else off at the swag exchange.
2. Pack Comfortable Shoes: Trust me: you will walk constantly. I think I did a mile or two just in the expo hall. Add in the parties and the fact that the conference is next to instead of in the hotel and it’s a guarantee that you will be exerting yourself much more than normal. You’re probably already planning comfortable shoes for the day but consider packing some flats for night as well. Dancing in flip flops is a lot more fun! And if you get new shoes be sure to break them in before going to the conference.
3. Be strategic about technology: Bring a oulet strip for your room (I like this Belkin Mini Surge Protector Dual USB Charger for in room use) and I bring a second small one for the sessions. Consider what you will really use: if you’re not on the photography track, do you really need the fancy camera or even a camera at all? Especially if you have a smart phone with camera/video capabilities. If you don’t plan to blog and can take notes with pen and paper, leave the laptop at home. But if you need that laptop and want to be online consistently, consider getting a portable hotspot since the wifi at the hotel and convention center will probably be overloaded.
4. Use Hangers!: You probably have one roommate, you may even have three. That’s a lot of clothes than need to be hung up. Consider hanging your clothes up before you leave and just packing them on the hanger. If you plan to wear different accessories every day, attach a ziplock bag with them to the hanger.
5. Simplify Your Skincare Routine: Currently I use three products at night and four in the morning. But to BlogHer I plan to only bring three things: makeup wipes, night cream, and moisturizer with sunscreen. Believe me you’ll be too tired for all those extra steps when you get back to your room at one am and the extra bottles just take up valuable bathroom counter space.
6. Bring a Separate Makeup Bag: Even if you only room with one person, the bathroom gets crowded. Keep your makeup and hair stuff in a separate bag so you can use the mirror in the room while your roommate is showering. Same goes for your hair stuff. And if you have the room, consider bringing a hair dryer.
7. Consider a Capsule Wardrobe: You may have picked up from the above tips that space is at a premium. Keep your room neat and leave more space for swag in your suitcase by bringing a capsule wardrobe. What is a capsule wardrobe? It’s pieces that mix and match and do double duty. You don’t need a separate outfit for every party. Instead consider elevating jeans with a sparkly shirt or adding jewelry and a cute shrug to your daytime dress. For five days I will probably bring: two dresses, one pair of jeans, a blazer, one pair of slacks, and four t-shirts. And only 3-4 pairs of shoes.
8. Pack pajamas and extra underwear: I usually sleep naked but my conference bed mate Claire prefers that I wear pajamas. Many people advise cute ones in case of pictures but I won’t room with anyone who would post a bad pic of me, so I just throw in lounge pants and a tee. Why extra underwear? Because if you can catch a shower before the parties it feels better to put on new underpants.
9. Medicine: In addition to your prescriptions, bring your favorite aspirin equivalent, cold/flu daytime and nighttime medicine, immodium, tums/pepto, and anything other “just in case” medicine you might think you will need. And take the aspiring quivalent every night, it helps with the soreness and drinking.
10. Snacks: I way over packed on snacks last year but I still think it’s helpful to have a variety of snacks: protein or cereal bars for missed meals, nuts for protein to keep you going, and a sweet or salty snack or two for late nights or hangovers.
So those are my top ten packing tips! Something to add or a question to ask? Please leave a comment. And check back on Tuesday when I will post a picture guide to organized packing along with my “carry on” only credo. What other BlogHer prep top ten lists would you like to see.