Its the Saturday before BlogHer and because I like to get ready early, I’m packing now so I can leave room for the usual last minute chaos that busy Moms face when they travel for work. When it comes to packing tips for social media conferences, I’ve found they are a smidge different than packing for vacation. BlogHer 2012 will be a 5 day trip for me so I’ll use our GO MOM! DIY Planner packing list to take care of my travel basics and then add in some industry musts. Because I was a Girl Scout, I’m all about asking for great tips so I went to some of the smartest women I know in social media to see what they can’t live without. Before we even get started, it all begins with Starbucks. It speaks for itself and fortunately in New York, you can find one on every corner. Moving on, here’s a top 10 list to help you pack like a social media conference pro:
1. Chargers: Not only a wall charger but a wireless one as well so you can re-charge on the go. If compatible with your device, Melanie Nelson suggests a Mophie Battery Case for her IPhone because it also includes and extra battery case. Just one option among many, there is no reason NOT to have your phone charged at anytime..
2. Extra Batteries: Pack extra batteries for every device that you carry. Worth every penny, when you don’t have time to recharge but need your video camera or camera to keep going, a back up battery saves the day.
3. WiFI: Take a conference full of social media professionals, add in limited WiFi, and what do you get? Cranky women who can’t connect. Outsmart the Chaos bring your own MiFI or provider based WiFI enabling you to get online anytime and the big bonus is you’ll have a table full of new friends anytime you set it down
4. Comfortable Shoes: It seems obvious but especially at BlogHer which will be hosted in New York City, the temptation to wear amazing shoes to make the outfit makes even the most practical women lose all common sense. Kelly Whalen can’t live without Flip Flops and Emily Vanek always has a pair of Dr. Scholls foldable flats ~ has to be one of the most clever foot rescue solutions ever!
5. Personal Comforts: News flash ~ for all my sparkly, truth be told I can get just as nervous as the next gal when it comes to big conference with my colleagues, partners, and peers. Without warning, I can find my tummy in knots from the excitement and anticipation. I was amazed to find how many of my smart friends feel the same and never leave home without something to help. Possible options include Tums, GasX, Immodium, and of course Motrin.
6. Tote Bag: I’m always caught between comfort, convenience, and fashion when it comes to what I carry at a conference for my bag. Lately its been a mix of a fun bag from Walmart that is all Disney for my laptop and files and a durable bag from BuildABear for my personal items and more that can both easily balance on my shoulders. Truth be told, I’d love to have a high fashion tote bag that would be great for media AND personal, making it the ultimate day to night combination. And then a different one for every day. Rumor has it Epiphanie is the cat’s meow and for something more industrial, check out Holly Aiken and her fabulous line of Stitch bags. I’d love to go almost hands free and go with a briefcase on wheels. EBags has a fantastic line of business cases for women and The McKlien totally has my eye:
7. Pen and Paper: You had to know a woman who sells a DIY Paper Planner would also suggest you go old school and carry the same. Melanie said it best when she pointed out that carrying using a pen and notebook helped her retain information better when she write things down. I totally agree and find I don’t do nearly as well when I take notes with my laptop first vs. type them up later. Paper is the ultimate back up to anything electronic so when it comes to your schedule, make sure to use our GO MOM! ORGANIZED CONFERENCE WORKSHEET , digitized to enable you to map things out now and have a hard copy on hand just in case your phone defies you. (use Adobe Reader to open, edit, save and print)
8. Focus: There is no denying it can be immensely challenging to stay on task and even more overwhelming to stay focused on your goals with so many different people surrounding you. Jenn Heathcoat brings her headphones to help tune out the crowd when its all too much. She is one of the most talented photographers I know and if you need a great headshot, you HAVE to find her during BlogHer 2012, a simple tweet to @JennHeathcoat and you’ll be blown away ~ I promise!
9. Business Cards: It won’t make a difference if people can’t find you. A great business card is king and while it might be creative more than anything it has to be effective. While you might not realize it, social media is a business and if you want to do business well, you need to have the basics nailed…like how to get in touch with you online, in person, and in the most professional way possible.
10. Great Hair: We all deserve a great hair day or two. I swear by Frizz-Ease hairspray to keep my hair, straight OR curly, in line and always have a travel size in my bag. Last year I had a terrible haircut just before BlogHer and had to completely re-do my look, going from curly to straight and its been a year in the making as I’ve been growing out the unwanted layers that trashed my curls. As fate would have it, Procter and Gamble hosted Sasha Breuer to highlight a brand new brush from Braun that I can’t live without for straight hair touch ups:
Finally, its all about friends. It goes without saying that great friends make the meeting. They give you support, unexpected laughter, and they have your back when it comes to making sure you never have spinach in your teeth or leave your room without zipping your pants. I love this picture of me and my friend Amy ~ it was the last night of Blogher 2011 and we were both happy and celebrating a wonderful week of hard work and fun.
Jendi Pagano brings business partner who just happens to be her husband. He’s the quiet side of the team and is always nearby , taking video or photos and helping her every step of the way. I bring my travel Bible and have key scripture in my notebook to keep me centered on what counts in my life big picture. It keeps it all in perspective and helps me take advantage of the opportunity to enjoy my friends, the city, and the potential that lies ahead. I hope these tips help you figure out what your social media conference must haves might be. I’ll be packing up today and would love to know…
What are your packing tips for social media conferences?
Thanks so much for stopping by and if you are going to BlogHer, I hope to see you there!