1. Parenting

What to Take to a Blogging Conference

Essential Items to Pack Before You Hit the Road

By

A picture of women at a blogging conference

Heading to a blogging conference? Don't leave home without the right essentials.

Photo © hyku / Flickr
Heading to a blogging conference? Pack with confidence. Take these essentials so you don't arrive with that "I can't believe I forgot that!" feeling.

The Right Clothes

You don't have to pack a ball gown but do plan on taking one outfit that's more dressy than your favorite T-shirt and jeans. But don't feel like you won't fit in if you do take those T-shirts and jeans.

Comfort is key. Wear your favorite clothes and pack shoes you won't be complaining about after wearing them for several hours at at time. No one wants to come home from a blogging conference with blisters as souvenirs.

Still worried about your wardrobe? You'll be okay as long as you avoid the typical fashion disasters mom face.

Address Labels

It's hard to resist the great giveaways you'll find at blogging conferences. But blogging conferences seem to be over quicker than you can blink so you don't want to be standing there filling out your address most of the time when you could've been learning, networking and enjoying yourself.

Save yourself valuable time and writer's cramp when you take address labels with you. Grab the giveaway card, slap your address label on it and move to the next table.

Business Cards

Remember when you were a kid at camp and you asked all of your new friends to write down their addresses so you could write them? You'll be meeting at least 50 new bloggers at your conference. More than likely, though, you'll be coming into contact with hundreds of bloggers.

You're there to network, which will help you build a loyal following and grow traffic to your blog. Plus, you'll be meeting a great group of people you'll quickly call friends.

Get business cards or make your own that have your name, your blog's name and your blog URL printed on them at the very least.

Want to give people every opportunity to get in touch with you? Set up a Google Voice number to keep your home or mobile number private and also add your Twitter and Facebook information to your business cards. Not only is this great for networking with your fellow bloggers, it's also great to have business cards to hand out to the PR people who will be crawling these conferences looking for bloggers to connect with for future public relations opportunities.

Business Card Holder

You'll be taking home more business cards than you came with and you don't want to lose a single one. Get a business card booklet that allows you to quickly slide each business card into its own clear vinyl pouch.

You won't have to shuffle through a stack of business cards to find the one you're looking for anymore. And there's a geek in all of us who likes to see our little collection of business cards all at once in a book.

Calendar/Scheduler

You'll be attending multiple conference sessions and meeting up with new friends. Take a calendar or download the best calendar apps to schedule out your time at the conference.

Be flexible, though. Plan downtime and make exceptions to your schedule if something comes up that you would rather do, such as meeting with a PR person or going out to eat with other bloggers.

Cash

Even if you plan on taking your ATM card, it's still a good idea to carry some cash. You'll need money for tipping drivers, getting a soda and grabbing a quick snack in between sessions.

Plan on bringing at least $50 in cash. Bring more if you won't be carrying your ATM card or credit card with you.

Computer

Whether you bring a laptop or a tablet, a computer is essential for any blogging conference. It will be easier to blog, take notes at your meetings and tweet your sessions. Being able to drop a short email to some of your favorite bloggers while you're on the plane ride home to tell them how nice it was to meet them is also a plus.

But if you don't have a laptop or tablet, don't worry. You'll still be able to enjoy the conference without these gadgets. Just put a positive spin on it: your head won't be buried in technology when you could've been enjoying the conference.

Camera

Even if you have to borrow your mom's old Polaroid, don't leave for your conference without a camera. It's very easy to get so involved, even overwhelmed, by everything that's going on around you when you walk into your first conference. But you'll disappointed if you don't stop and take the time to snap a few shots while you're there.

Grab a point and shoot or use the camera in your mobile phone if it takes high-quality pictures. Not only will you want the shots for yourself, they also make for great visuals to go on your blog.

Mobile Phone

Speaking of your mobile phone, it's another must-have for your packing list. You'll be texting, talking and tweeting, of course. You'll also be using your phone to keep track of your schedule, set alarms so you're not late and show off your favorite apps.

Essential Cords

It never fails. You're so proud of yourself for remembering to pack your laptop, mobile phone and hotspot and then you get to your hotel to realize you've left all of the cords to charge them back at home. Make one area of your suitcase exclusively for cords.

If you have a small bag you can put all of them into, you'll be able to find the power cord you need much quicker. That's super-handy when you're in a session and your laptop battery starts to fail.

Extra Bag

One word: swag. You'll be getting so much swag that the suitcase you already have stuffed to the point of bursting at the seams still won't be big enough.

Bring an extra bag for your loot. A small duffel bag you can cram into your luggage on the way to the blogging conference will be perfect.

If you're flying to the conference, make sure your duffel bag can be carried onto the plane and don't go over the airline's baggage limits. Otherwise, you'll pay a hefty fee to get your bag of treasures back home.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.