MY PACKING LIST FOR SOFABCON 2013
These items will likely be in my bag/carried with me to sessions:
Fold up flats (there tends to be a LOT of walking and standing around at conferences – your feet will get sore and tired)
Phone (camera if you’re not using the one on your phone)- phone charger
Laptop or tablet AND/OR Notepad/book and pen (colored pens – I like to color code things for easier reference later one) – charger for laptop or tablet
Gum, mints (you’ll be meeting lots of new people – make a good first impression!)
Business cards (and perhaps media cards)
Sharpies – great for making notes on the business cards you receive
Highlighters – more color coding!
Lip balm – conference rooms are often overheated or over air-conditioned and your lips may get dry…or is it just me because I talk too much?
Cardigan (again, rooms can be chilly!)
Power strip – too many people trying to plug too many gadgets into too few plugs….you’d be amazed at how many friends you can make by being the blogger with the power strip who shares!
A water bottle –at previous conferences, I found there wasn’t always an ample supply of water on hand. I have a great water bottle that folds completely flat and has a carabiner clip on it so I can attach it to my bag if desired. I usually carry a granola bar or some other small snack with me in case I need it (I’m the mother of a hypoglycemic daughter – carrying a snack is just part of the drill!)
Other items I’ll be packing:
Clothing – duh! Of course I’m taking clothing in general but I also like to go through the schedule for a conference that I’m attending and make note of any events/programs that I will need special clothing for. In this case, I need something a little fancier to wear to the cocktail party at Crystal Bridges, something suitable for the 80s themed bowling party (NOTE to self: don’t forget your crazy socks for the contest!), something that represents me and my brand well at the Social Immersion Brand Emphasis Day. If you’re going on the fun run (that’s an oxymoron to me!), you’ll need running clothes and shoes too! I want to be sure I have comfy clothing packed for the 1000 mile drive to and from the conference and I don’t want to forget some decent pajamas since I’ll be having a roommate at this conference (plus you just never know when some party crashers are going to show up on your hotel room doorstep!). Weather in Arkansas at this time of year can be unpredictable. As of this writing, Bentonville is sunny and 72 degrees F but from having lived in the area, I know that it can get a bit cooler (especially at night), and a LOT hotter, and there can be quite a bit of rain. I’m planning to dress in clothing that can be layered as needed and I’m packing my bathing suit for the hotel pool/whirlpool/sauna.
Our hotel room has a microwave, fridge, and coffeemaker. Since I’m driving anyway, I’ll pack a few items such as yogurts, granola bars, juice, some cheese, crackers, and fruit, and maybe a small container of cereal. I know from previous conference experience that I didn’t always make it to all of the meals (especially breakfast) and it’s great to have a few things on hand.
Umbrella – again, there’s that unpredictable Arkansas weather
Receipt folder – keeping track of my expenses for income tax!
Business card folder – for keeping those organized as well
A folder with the conference schedule in it, my ticket, any travel tickets and documents I might have, a printout of local attractions I might be interested in checking out, and any other important papers
A gift for my roomie!
Some little trinkets from my hometown to share with people I meet! – I’m not talking spending a ton of money here. I purchased some Canada souvenirs at the dollar store….just a little something to give to my new friends.
A SMILE – I have seen people get stressed, REALLY stressed at conferences. I tend to be pretty upbeat most of the time anyway but I try to remind myself to keep smiling, find the fun in the moment, and to be approachable.