Over the past two decades, we’ve literally traveled around the world dozens of times working on events. During that time, we’ve learned what you need and, most importantly, what you don’t. One of the biggest mistakes you can do is pack too much! Never be afraid to leave things behind. As long as you have a passport and some money, everything else is gravy.
Having said that, there are some things your suitcase shouldn’t be without when going to a conference or event. Here are ours:
- A sweater or a pullover. It may sound strange, but even in the heat of a Las Vegas summer or the crushing humidity of a Singapore day, conference centers are always the same temperature: cold. Air-conditioning does its job very well, so going from the outside world into a conference center can mean a massive change in temperature. Packing something to cover up with is your ticket to staying comfortable.
- Comfortable footwear. Depending on the conference center, getting from one room to the other or from one meeting to another can be a 30-minute mission—all done on foot. Some of us have been known to walk more than 50 miles (80 kilometers) over the course of an event. So, make sure that you wear shoes that are up to the task. That is, shoes that are comfortable from start to finish. A conference is not a place to break in that new pair of shoes either. The blisters you get on day one will not help you on day two.
- Power. Make sure you have power packed for all of your devices. For your laptop, make sure you have your charger. For your phone or tablet, a good external battery will make life better—particularly during a long day in a conference. If you are going international, make sure you have adapters for your plugs. And, whether you are heading out of or into the U.S., make sure that the voltage matches. Most of the world uses 240V, but the U.S. uses 110V. If your charger has roaming voltage, then you are going to damage it if you insert it into a plug with the wrong voltage. That can be an expensive mistake. A device that can combine charging and plug conversion is a great way to solve the plug problem without needing multiple tools. (We are big fans of single solutions that can be used in multiple ways.)
- Space. When you pack, make sure you allow some space for the items you’ll bring home from the conference. Of course, you need room for the T-shirts and other bits of tchotchke you might grab. Also consider this: At a lot of conferences, there are bookstores onsite that will have technology books at a discounted price. Shipping those home because your luggage is full will likely wipe out any savings. Realistically look at your packing. Having a single solution that can be used multiple ways works here too. For example: Don’t pack outerwear that you’ll only use in a single special environment. Two jackets will just take up space in your suitcase. Instead, make sure that the pullover you have for the conference center would also do if you head out for a client dinner.
As a bonus, if you travel regularly, then invest in packing cubes—the little zip-up bags that help to compress and contain your clothing, cables, etc. into some order. You will thank us!
Learn on Demand Systems empowers organizations to accelerate technology learning through hands-on experience and skills validation.
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