I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Friday, September 2, 2011

What to Pack for the ACFW Conference

Decisions, decisions!

I have nineteen days to figure out what I'm packing for the ACFW conference in St. Louis.

 I've already answered the "Will it all fit in a carry on bag?" question. (Are you kidding me? I plan on wearing shoes, people!)

My goal this year: No last minute mad dash to the local mall to update my wardrobe. I've attended enough conferences in the last decade that I should be able to mix and match outfits that don't have my friends commenting, "Oh, I loved that outfit the first time you wore it. And the second time."

Now to the specifics of what you need to pack for the conference. Let me address the men first. I've lived with my husband long enough to know how y'all travel:

  1. Two shirts. 
  2. One pair of pants. 
  3. A suit jacket to toss over your shirt and pants for the banquet Saturday night. Unless you're Jim Rubart, who wore a tux last year. Or Chip MacGregor who rocked a kilt. 
  4. Several pairs of underwear--but only because your wife insists.( If you're single: Please. Buy a four-pack of Haynes and toss it in your suitcase.) OK. Moving on. 
  5. One pair of shoes.
  6.  A toothbrush and a razor.

Done--and it all fits in a carry on bag.

So, ladies, what are your must-pack items?

  1. At least three professional "I'm pitching you a bestseller" outfits. Requirements: You look good and you're comfortable. You want to be thinking about your plot, not whether your slip is showing. (Does anyone wear a slip anymore?)  
  2. One emergency backup outfit. Somehow I always manage to spill salad dressing on myself at lunch right before my 15 minute appointment with an editor.
  3. Comfortable shoes--possibly one pair per outfit. If you're comfortable in 4-inch heels, go for it.
  4. Something fun for the awards banquet Sunday night. Do dressy. Or do floor length.Or do sequins. Or do basic black and throw on some funky jewelry. Maybe this is when I'll see my friend Melissa's orange almost-a-mini skirt.
  5. Toiletries. Here's your trivia for the day: The word toiletries comes from the French word "toilette" which refers to body care and hygiene. I always bring an extra toothbrush for someone who forgets theirs. Friends don't let friends go to bed without brushing their teeth.
  6. Workout clothes. If you really think that's going to happen.
  7. Munchies. Enough to share because, yes, I will be stopping by your room.And you're invited to visit me and practice your pitch. Or just chat.

Thanks to this blog post and the "I need a photo" moment, I have a suitcase upstairs in my bedroom. Now all I have to do is pack it.

All the Ponderers' loved Edie Melson's jewelry last year!

So, what are your must-pack items for ACFW? We'll be talking ACFW all month-long on the Ponderers' blog. Each post, we'll be adding another item to our packing list. Let us know if we forget something.


  1. What a fun post, Beth.

    I've attended two RWA conferences and last year's ACFW conference and only took one carry on. I'm petite and I'm not big into shoes, so that worked for me. Until this year.

    My seamstress just finished my Victorian gown, and I take delivery this weekend. I've dreamed of wearing the stunning creation to the Awards Banquet all year long--ever since I saw Rosslyn Elliott in hers last year. So, I'm gonna pull out my hubby's old hardshell Samsonsite and cart that baby all the way from California to Missouri. I'll be able to pack my dress, all the shoes I want, and snacks up the wazoo. Look out, St. Louis, here I come!

  2. This is so fun, Beth, and at least you've got the suitcase in your room. I have some things laid out across guestroom bed, but family coming tomorrow, so better start filling the case. Thanks, as always, for such fun & constructive tips.

  3. Last night I chatted with Reba via IM and mentioned I started pulling things out for ACFW. Her response was, "Already?"

    I made a clothing packing list and a business packing list--computer, phone, camera, business cards, etc.

    But then I make a spiritual packing list--teachable spirit, humble heart, blessed attitude and a bucket of grace. I need to pack my mouth widener too because every year, I end up storing my feet in my mouth at some part during the conference--hopefully others packed their buckets of grace and can forgive me. :)

    I'm so excited to see my friends, agent and editor!

  4. Packing? I have 20 days until I leave, ergo no suitcase out yet. lol Love your spiritual packing list, Lisa...that I can start packing.

    Thanks, Beth for a great checklist for when I do get the old suitcase out.

  5. Really, I try to pack sensibly. But typing, "Pack sensibly" would make for a ve-ery short blog post.
    And those shoes I'm holding in the photo?
    A $5 find in Target!

  6. Beth! I needed this fun post today. Don't know why, but today I woke all grumble-y and battling impatience with the writing thing. No, I'm not fishing for encouragement. Honestly, I just need more than five hours of sleep in order to think right thoughts early in the morning...and that hasn't been the case for a few nights running!

    So, I've been slogging through readjusting my mentality this morning...and then I read your post...and got a perk-me-up even better than the hazelnut coffee I'm slurping at the moment.

    I remember drooling over Edie's jewelry last year! Ooh, and tonight I'm picking up the boots that go with the orange almost-mini skirt! :)

    Can't wait for ACFW, can't wait to see you and other friends and friends-to-be. And...I'm so happy I'm driving, because my packing capacity is unlimited. :)

  7. I think I'm liking the guy list better. I just hate thinking "what will I wear" or "gee will anyone on the face of the planet not like this?"
    So don't be expecting any fancy, frilly outfits on me. I also won't be seen in an orange almost-mini skirt- unless you kill me first.

  8. Oh, and four pair of shoes? Really? Seriously? Hmm, I wear my running shoes and I'll bring and extra pair to actually run in. Easy as can be. :-)

  9. Melissa--Throw some extra toothbrushes in your roomy car, will ya? And maybe some extra munchies too! Boots and an almost mini skirt? Girlfriend, I'm charging up my camera for some paparazzi shots!

  10. OK, packing makes some people cranky. You still have to do it, Reba. And,yes, some people do exercise. It's actually not optional for me if I want my back to make it through the conference, so one of my pairs of shoes will be my workout shoes. I'll be hitting the treadmill--walking, not running--but I will be there.
    And, Reebs, I know you can rock curls. I have proof.

  11. Reebs...in boots and an almost mini...bright Orange.....yep I don't think it will happen in this lifetime.

    I haven't started packing but have been mentally going through my closet. I hate having to check bags...but we will see. I'm def. going to pack the work out clothes.
    Beth, I will meet you at the treadmill.

    I will have a huge suitcase of grace and favor! Anyone want some? I'm sure God will let me share!


  12. Ok, Beth, you forgot to mention one major item: please pack me!!

  13. LOVE that list!! And please, please, please stop by my room! :D

  14. Ohhhh, I so wish I was going to see y'all! Maybe I'll pack a suitcase and live out of it at home for the weekend, just for the fun of it! I LOVE packing! I love maximizing the stuff in the smallest bag possible. It helps that I have the tiniest feet in the world. Size 4, or 5, since nobody sells 4 (or 5, for that matter).

    LJ, loved your idea about the spiritual packing list, that was awesome.

    I can't believe I will miss M-Tagg's nearly mini skirt. Pictures please...

    Love you guys! Happy traveling. Would anyone like to pack me in their suitcase?

  15. Any Ponderer who shows up at the last minute--you can sleep on my floor. Now I have to tell Roxanne and Evangeline that I've given our floor away!

  16. My best friend is coming over Monday to dress me for the conference [hence my room cleaning - during which I found Jenny B Jones Save the Date - that was worth cleaning!!!] Am hoping to borrow a suitcase from my neighbor and if so most of those clothes will be packed once we decide on them.

    Also planning to bring lots of homemade cookies [though I've told so many people I'm bringing them that I'm wondering if a triple batch will be enough ;)] and other munchies.

    Will be printing out this list for Monday ;).

  17. Ooh, homemade cookies! Are they gluten-free, Carol? I can only hope!
    Having a friend over to coordinate outfits--now that's fun! I need to do that. Or else get my two oldest daughters over. They have fun helping me coordinate outfits too.

  18. Uh... not if they use regular flour, right Beth?

    Sorry :(.

    Never tried them gluten free... may have to ponder that...

  19. Another thing to add to the list: Aleve/tylenol/aspirin--whatever your headache-killer of choice. The conference is amazing, but intense, and it kills me to pay $3.50 or whatever for two pills in the hotel gift shop. :-)
    Beth, I'm ready to start packing...but I think I'll still do the shopping anyway. Just for fun. :-)

  20. Thanks for this helpful post, Beth! Just got the green light from my hubby that I can go so I'm scrambling at the last minute! Does anyone know of someone who wants a roomie? I don't snore... usually! :)

  21. I dont have my suit case out yet, but I do have all the outfits I plan to take (complete with necessary undergarments - aka spanks - acceseries, belts, scarves, jewelry etc.) hung together in the back of my closet!
    Beth, thanks for the tips! I'll have to stock up on munchies.
    I'm traveling alone so my husband thinks I should carry mase. I think carrying mase though and airport invites airport security to strip search me - no thank you!

  22. Carol:
    Pondering gluten-free cookies ... good one!
    Jenness: Good point about your pain killer of choice.
    A.K. I think there's an ACFW loop about roomies ... go to the conference link.
    And Andrea: Yeah, mace is a no-no as far as airport security is concerned. You'll be surprised at the other conferees you run into as you travel to St. Louis.

  23. Loved the list! Great to have a bulleted, 1-2-3 item check-list of what to bring along. Thanks oodles! Can't wait to experience my first ACFW Conf and meet some of these fantastic folks. Woot!

  24. /snicker/snort/spew/


    Did email a friend of mine who is a gf guru and she told me what I'd need. Found it at the store today - if it's really what I need then I'm going to try them but make no promises as to what they'll end up being like :/. I've got no clue how using something like GF Bisquick instead of flour affects things. So Seek* me out at the conference Beth ;). I just may have something for you :D.

    I do have my suitcase and even have a couple things in it. I also have all my clothes laid out/set aside [though not the underthings... may have to look at some spanx though dunno if it's in the budget]. I also bought shoes today. They have a /gasp/ HEEL! Dunno for sure if I'll end up wearing them or not but I HAVE them.

    I even tried on SANDALS. With an OPEN TOE.

    Just FYI... this may be a sign of the apocalypse...

    They didn't fit though.

    *oops - wrong blog ;).

  25. Thanks for the help! :) Hoping I can be one of those women who can whittle down my shoe choices to make all my stuff fit into one suitcase...