When you are traveling across country for a conference (like I am for I Heart My Biz in Anaheim, CA, June 3-5) and are a bit of a planner (like I am… ok, I’m more than a bit of a planner), you start making lists of what you need to pack.
(By the way, if you want to get a taste of what we’ll be doing at I Heart My Biz, join event creator Nancy Marmolejo and me for an exclusive free call on May 12.)
So here’s my list of all the things I think are essential to bring or nice to have to have on hand.
Clothes (duh). I do go into a bit of detail of what to wear at conferences in another post, but I also suggest packing one more top than the number of days you are staying.
Why? Because of good ol’ Murphy’s Law. That perfect biz casual outfit gets spilled on. Or you smudge your make-up. Or you took a nap and wrinkled it. If you have a spare, you won’t have to look embarrassed when the third person comes up to you and says you’ve got something on your blouse.
And do I have to remind you to pack some extra undies? Remember what mom said about having clean ones… Seriously, though, with air delays being more of the norm, you may want an extra or two, just in case.
Prescriptions and other toiletries (in that nifty travel-compliant size). I just stocked up on those mini sizes of deodorant, contact lens cleaner, hair spray, and even travel size make up brushes. Sure, I could wait and see what the hotel in Anaheim is going to provide me, but frankly, we’re in tourist central (aka Disneyland) so I would rather bring what I need than pay an exorbitant price for something I can’t bring back on a plane.
Make-up. I noticed I’ve already mentioned make-up twice in this post. And even though it’s not essential for everyone, it is for me. I really don’t pack that much. I actually love using those complete make-up kits you can get from Sephora, it’s compact and cool.
Glasses. Although I wear contacts, I need my glasses too. And I won’t forget my sunglasses either. (Hey, I’m going to Southern Cali baby!)
Business cards. Another no brainer, but I’ve forgotten them before… and regretted it. I use 48-Hour Print for most of my printing needs. They are fast and the service is GREAT!
Energy bars. Although Nancy Marmolejo is big on making sure we have enough food at the event (she’s springing for breakfast and snacks), having a few of these bars on hand can really make a difference. I always bring Zone bars on the plane with me because inevitably, I get the munchies when the flight attendant isn’t serving snacks!
iPhone. I make sure it has all my important contacts in my favorites area including my husband, Amy (my admin director), the airline I am using, the hotel, the company where I booked my travel AND the numbers of my pals I am meeting at the event.
It’s also my mp3 player (so pack the earbuds), my camera, voice recorder, quick note taker, and a quick way to check email and surf the net.
Of course, if you have a cell phone, that works too for some of the basics.
Cell phone charger. When a piece of gear is as essential as that, the charger is actually more important than the piece of gear!
Print outs of etickets, and other essential travel items. Personally, I keep a lot of that stuff stored on my iPhone, I still have to print my boarding pass (although many airlines are testing the use of iPhones for passes). I store all my papers (boarding passes, hotel confirmations, shuttle details) in a very pretty folder that stands out so I can see it easily in my bag.
The Nice to Haves… But Not Essential
An extra pair of shoes. For me this is really on the essentials list (I love shoes!) but for most it’s not that important. So why do I include it at all. Traveling is torture on your feet and keeping your feet in the same shoes may only make it worse. Switch ’em up to make your feet happy!
Laptop. I love my netbook. And now that there’s wifi on the plane, I can get some work done. Plus, if anything comes up news-wise for my clients or me, I’ll know about it and am able to strike while the iron is hot. Plus, it’s great taking notes on when at a conference.
Which leads me to a companion piece:
Extension cord. Funny thing about room set ups is that the seating is never near a convenient electrical outlet. That’s why an extension cord, preferably with a power surge protector, is needed.
Notebook and pens. If you don’t want to lug a laptop, you still may want to take notes. So bring a notebook and a few pens. (I bring these anyway, just in case.)
Water bottle. You never know when you’ll need a drink of water when there is none available. Now I do not advocate going out and buying bottled water every time you need to quench your thirst. I love my Bobble filtered bottle. I can fill it up anywhere and it provides me clean, chem-free water. And it’s good for the environment.
Video Camera and/or camera. Want to get video testimonials? Show others you rubbed elbows with some really cool folks including Michele PW, Sandy Martini and Natasha Allrich, who will all be the featured presenters at the I Heart My Biz event (I’m a presenter too, BTW) ? If you don’t have an iPhone that can snap photos and do video, you may want to include these in your bag. I’ve seen some folks actually create products around video interviews. Pretty cool stuff!
Now since I have a booth at this event, I’m packing some extra stuff to help me promote my business. I’ll share more about this (and some of the cool things I am bringing) in another post.