My hands hovered over the keys in trepidation while the countdown on the screen ticked by. And then I did it. I clicked submit and my order was placed. I had tickets to a blogging conference – a big one, with close to 800 women (and some men too) in the blogging world, with so many inspirational people that have accomplished so much.
And then the question came – the big, important question. What am I going to wear?!
Purchasing a ticket to a networking and blogging conference already comes with so many reservations and so many questions… Will it be worth the money? What will it mean for me and is it the right fit? Do the sessions work with my brand and what I need to learn? What do I pack, wear or take with me?!
But when you find the right fit, the right conference (in my case this year it was the 10 year anniversary celebration of Mom 2.0, and my first time in attendance!), you take that leap and purchase the ticket. Then, my friends, it’s time to get ready.
That’s why today I’m sharing the Ultimate Conference Checklist to help you prepare.
I’m all about travel, but specifically today, I’m spilling the goods after learning so much from my first Boss Babe Blogging conference, aka, Mom 2.0.
The Ultimate Conference Checklist
How to Pack, What to Wear & How to Prepare
1. Be YOU.
Yes, a conference is time to take it up a notch, add in a little extra flair or fancy (if that’s your thing,) but you’ll also be going nonstop and on your feet SO much, that you need to be comfortable as well!
Here is where packing can be different (although similar) for every conference and it’s important to look at the schedule ahead of time to see what kind of events will be taking place! Will there be a party or two? Do you need a dressy outfit? A red carpet look? Knowing what is on the schedule is imperative for planning a wardrobe and packing!
For Mom 2.0, there were three days of meetings and networking, a celebratory “birthday” party for the conference, a red carpet night and I was also invited to a brand sponsored dinner. For me, this meant plenty of looks, a couple of party outfits, and a need to mix and match to make the most of it.
Also? Don’t be afraid to stand out! If you want to sparkle, then you should pack that piece that brings the fierce boss babe in you out… and I’m not a fashion blogger, I’m a mom of four that is interested in comfortable fashion. I will say though, I was asked a few times if I was a fashion blogger – and frankly, I’ll take that as a compliment!A HUGE thanks to Lafayette 148 for sending a few pieces to work into my own wardrobe! We created great looks for traveling to a conference and they are now a few favorite items in my closet…
For my looks above a romper was a great base that worked with a denim jacket and some fun, funky flats or the most cozy cotton and silk sweater from Lafayette and boots for a casual, yet pulled-together look! I was able to mix and match and wear this look a lot.
I also LOVE this Lafayette striped cardigan sweater with a simple black tee and their Milano leggings (SOOO comfortable, similar style here). I wore this outfit while traveling, and it was also a great look for daytime networking as it was stylish, especially with some popping accessories, and also incredibly comfortable.
This white Noelle Catalina Stretch Jacket is probably one of my favorite items in my closet right now and can be worn in so many ways! I loved it with a floral blouse (or dressed down with a super soft plain tee), and faux leather leggings. These Nu Buck Covell City Sandals also go with so many of these outfits.
For the party looks, this Demetria Poplin Dress made such a great statement with a couple of bright accessories and Solla Sandals and my red carpet look was again, SO comfortable, while show-stopping. I went for the bling with gold sequin pants and paired it with the Percy Silk Double Georgette Blouse and black heels!
2. Make room.
This one falls into the “how to pack” category. For this tip, it’s all about knowing what kind of conference you’re attending, but I’m willing to bet that most conferences you’ll end up with some swag to tote home. If this is the case, pack light, but carry a larger suitcase!
There were so many people trying to tote around extra bags through the airport, or having to give away or leave behind some products and swag that they wished they could take home. So unless you’re driving and have a car where you can toss all the goodies into the truck, travel TO a conference with plenty of extra space in your luggage.
For me, this meant actually checking a bag that was only half full on the way there, instead of packing light in a small carry-on… and I’m SO glad I did!
3. Think about comfort.
This tip is all about the shoes! I’m a shoe girl, and I tend to think that most women have a love for shoes somewhere in them… or they just haven’t found the right shoe yet. Here’s the thing, you’ll be walking and standing a LOT. While I love a good heal, this just doesn’t make sense for the majority of the time at the conference.
I packed FIVE pairs of shoes to really change up the look of my outfits as well as to have a good “back-up” or system in place to mix it up if one started feeling uncomfortable. And the flats? They had the most use out of all of them, but I’m so glad I had all of those different styles with me as they truly made each outfit!
4. Stay cool while you stay warm.
No matter the place you’re traveling to or the weather forecast, always pack a sweater, cardigan, denim jacket or something to keep you warm (that you feel totally confident in!) because most often the rooms tend to stay on the cooler side to keep people awake and alert.
5. Don’t wait. Gather your essentials.
You’re headed to a conference to grow, learn and NETWORK, so bring your networking essentials! Don’t forget your business cards, and in my case, I had to order new ones before I went – and I wasn’t the only one.
I met someone at the conference who had paid a TON to get her cards printed in one day because she had waited and then realized at the last minute that she didn’t have enough cards to get her through.
Don’t put it off until the last minute. Once your ticket is booked, start early in preparing your essentials with my Conference checklist and make sure you have what you need on hand:
- Business cards
- Portable charger for your phone (yes, you will use a LOT of battery)
- Easy to carry backpack or tote bag
- Notebook to keep all of your notes together and in one place, so you can reference back to it later
- Media Kit (an updated digital version)
- Gum or mints
- Lipstick that makes you feel great! (you know, that go-to that always garners compliments)
There are also quite a few things that aren’t needed. For example, while it’s important to have a media kit ready to go (and in a digital format that is easily accessible), you don’t really need to print it. If you want to, go right ahead… But typically when connecting with brands, a business card will suffice and you will follow up with an email where you can attach your digital media kit. No brands will ask for a printed copy, and there is usually too much going on for you to hand them a full sheet of paper.
For a tote bag, you will usually get some kind of bag or tote from most conferences. If you’re okay with carrying that around and want to use it, do it! I’m so comfortable using my backpack for hands-free carrying, that I brought it with me to use instead.
While a pen and notebook is imperative, you can usually get these from the hotel or conference as well. I however loved having my own, branded notebook and I know it’s a place for me to keep all of my brand thoughts and ideas to reference later on… but again, that is based on your preference.
Snacks are another thing that conferences will typically offer, but if you have specific dietary needs, or know you can’t focus if you’re the slightest bit hungry, then bring a little something you can nosh on. Otherwise, leave your refrigerator at home. 😉