I love speaking with first time conference go-ers and answering their questions on how to prepare! I’ve gotten a few questions lately about my packing list, footwear, and what you need to keep with you for a full day!
The days at the SHRM Annual Conference and Exposition (at least for me) are long. Usually 7 AM to 9 PM. After sessions conclude around 5, I attend a meet-up or dinner each evening to continue the networking. I usually do not go back to my hotel due to lack of time, so I pack my backpack for a full day.
What I keep in my backpack for a full day:
- Battery pack with multiple USB ports
- 2 iPhone cords (1 for iPad and 1 for iPhone, or one to share!)
- iPad and charged keyboard (keyboard charger is a separate cord of course)
- Wall plug with 2 USB ports
- Light button down sweater (conference rooms may be cold!)
- Small wallet with essentials (not my usual wallet I use at home that is HUGE and carries all the gift cards, coupons, etc)
- Travel size perfume spray
- Hand sanitizer
- Small notebook and pen
- Business cards
- Refillable water bottle (that fits in the side pocket of my backpack for easy carrying)
- Clif bar (I carry 1 a day in case I miss breakfast or need a snack)
- Travel sized pack of baby wipes (can be used for a variety of things and I’m always glad I have them)
- Vera Bradley Medium Cosmetic bag
Inside the Vera Bradley Medium Cosmetic bag:
- Oil absorbing sheets (after a long day my face gets really greasy)
- Tums, gas relief tablets, Pepto Bismol tablets, Imodium tablets
- Travel size deodorant
- Band-aids (even in your most comfortable shoes, you may still get a blister!)
- Tide to go pen
- Dayquil tablets
- Small hand lotion
- Hair ties and bobby pins
- GUM soft picks (the little teeth cleaning things, kind of like tooth picks)
- Actual gum or mints
In my suitcase:
- 2 pairs of pants – comfy chinos and jeans
- 1 pair leggings (for flight home usually, but you never know if you’ll need them sooner)
- 4 tops, 1 for each day. Business casual/shirts I would wear to work. Usually short-sleeved or thicker strapped tank tops
- 4 tank tops as back up in case I have to change each day for whatever reason
- A heap of undergarments and socks
- 2 cotton sundresses (I like to be extra prepared. In case I do change before an evening event or need to get out of my pants!)
- Casual t shirt and shorts for sleeping
- Casual sweatshirt (for sleeping or travel)
- Light button down sweater (the one that stays in my backpack each day!)
- Applewatch charger
- Toiletries – shampoo, tooth brush, etc
- I’m not forgetting sunblock for this trip!
- Headphones (I use them on the plane but that’s about it)
- 2 pairs of shoes
- Consider packing workout clothes, a bathing suit etc if you will need them based on your plans!
More on footwear:
- Last year at #SHRM18, I averaged 20k steps a day. My usual day consists of 3-5k steps. Due to this, even wearing my most comfortable shoes, my legs and feet hurt at the end of each day! Keep this in mind. This is not the time to try out those new cute shoes. Be comfortable. My favorite shoes that I’ll be sporting again this year are my TOMS Jutti Flats and my TOMS Canvas Classics.
Don’t forget your Fitbit or other step tracker and charger if you are participating in the step challenge! Go team Los’ Super Duper Step Squad!
I’ll be sporting my black and white Vera Bradley back-pack again this year so it’ll be easy to find me! I hope this was helpful and let me know if you have any questions!