Blogging conferences are some of the most fun you can have in a couple of short days. But man those days are packed. So you need to be prepared! After over twenty blog conferences, I consider myself a packing pro. This list will help you tackle your fears and prepare you to wow the crowds, hit the ground running, or at least keep you from dissolving into tears as you pack.
1. Be Comfortable: When planning what to wear, think about what you feel most comfortable in and then pack that. No, I am not advising you to pack the sweats and tee you wear around the house. But when picking out what to wear maybe you pack an elevated version. During the day a nice pair of jeans and a fancy tshirt with a nice blazer or sweater work just as well as slacks and a blouse. And shop your closet! The impulse is to run out and buy new clothes, but remember all those clothes you never get a chance to wear? Now’s the time to pull out shirts that are too nice for finger painting and those cool heels and favorite dress moldering in the back of your closet. We all have those items we bought just because, give them a chance to shine.
2. On that note, Wear Comfortable Shoes: Just yesterday, I was lusting over some killer flower print stilettos at Marshall’s. They were only $17 and I knew they would look kick ass with about every night time outfit I was planning. But I didn’t get them. Why? Because I knew they would be killing my feet within thirty minutes of wearing them. It bears repeating again and again: your feet are going to hurt from all the walking and dancing. Tom’s, Easy Spirit, and Keen all get high marks for being comfortable but also looking good. And 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. Pack Transition Clothing: My friend Claire of Fashion Friday fame advises packing outfits that can transition from day to night with a change of shoes and accessories. One of the most versatile items, in my opinion, is a nice pair of jeans. They work well for day with a blazer or sweater, add heels and flashy accessories for the parties. To keep those transition items fresh hang them in your bathroom during a shower and pack some shout wipes. I am also a huge fan of Downy Wrinkle release. And hanger tip: 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.
4. Be Strategic With Tech: Bring a outlet strip for your room (I like this Belkin Mini Surge Protector Dual USB Charger for in room use) and a second small one for the sessions. Those outlets go quick and you will quickly become besties with everyone you share your power strip with! Also 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.
5. Simplify Your Skincare Routine: Currently I use three products at night and four in the morning. But to conferences I 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. And 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.
6. Pack pajamas and extra underwear: I usually sleep naked but my conference bed mate Claire prefers that I wear pajamas. Pack an extra cute pair and you can wear it the many room get togethers! Why extra underwear? Because if you can catch a shower before the parties it feels better to put on new underpants.
7. Pack a Mini Medicine Cabinet: 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 aspirin equivalent every night, it helps with the soreness and drinking. I also make sure to bring something for my feet and muscles. Topricin is my go to soother. It is a lifesaver after all that walking, dancing, and carrying of bags!
8. Think Portable: You will be on the go all day so pack a few items that will keep you looking and feeling good. I also carry a tiny emergency bag with lipstick, oil blotting sheets, pain medication, Emergen-C, pepto, breath mints, and a tiny tube of mascara. And a power stick or back up battery for your phone is a must! As is something to carry the business cards your plan to hand out and all the business cards you will receive. I also like to pack a coverup. The conference rooms get chilly! A lightweight black cardigan or a jean jacket works well with my day and night outfits.
9. Plan for Extras: You will be treated to some nice items from sponsors and who can resist the Handmade Market at Blissdom and TypeA? Bring a small extra bag with you so you can tote those items home!
10. Be Confident: The biggest piece of advice I can give is be comfortable with who you are. There will be some amazingly dressed people there and there will be some women who wear shorts and tees. Know where you fall on the spectrum and be satisfied with that. Don’t change who you are because you think have to to fit in.