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

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Four Tips for Packing for a Writers Conference -- and a Whole Lot of Truth!

by Beth K. Vogt 

I love going to a writers conference.
Packing for one?
Not so much.
But through the years, I've learned a few packing tricks that ease my dread of making my wardrobe expectations match my luggage realities. So, for your reading pleasure -- and your traveling reality -- here are my Top 4 Packing Tips:

  1. CHOOSE - Check bags or carry on? This boils down to "pay the fee" or "don't pay the fee."In the past, I've returned from a conference having saved money and  yet I've wrecked my back after lugging my suitcase all over multiple airports and tossing it up into the airplane's overhead compartment. Traveling for more than one or two nights? Check your bags. Who wants to visit the doctor when you get back from a conference?
  2. COORDINATE - What to wear, what to wear? First, decide if your base color will be brown or black. I used to mix and match, selecting all my favorite outfits. This meant I (over)packed all the coordinating shoes. And jewelry. Now I decide on basic outfits built on black pants and shoes or brown pants and shoes -- and coordinate from there. 
  3. MEDICATE -  Last year at ACFW, I managed to forget an  important prescription medication. I spent valuable time in a drugstore trying to get my medicine -- without coming to verbal blows with my insurance company. Now I pre-pack all my meds in small individual plastic containers purchased at REI. I then store them all in one Ziploc bag and carry them in my purse -- not my suitcase. 
  4. EXERCISE - If anything gets left behind when I go to a writers conference, it's my exercise routine. My excuse? My suitcase is filled to overflowing and there's no room for my workout clothes and tennis shoes. Here's my husband's brilliant idea: Wear your workout clothes on the plane. No -- not your ratty T-shirt and worn out sweat pants. Indulge in a new workout outfit and wear that while you're traveling. Now you have no excuse to avoid the exercise room!
Those are my tips -- and I promised you some truth too. It's the new e-book, The Truth About Conferences, written by best-selling authors Susan May Warren and Rachel Hauck, along with the My Book Therapy staff. Here are some of the topics covered in the book:

  • How to choose a conference
  • Budgeting for a conference
  • How to prepare professionally with business cards and pitch sheets
  • Choosing the right workshops
  • How to handle appointments
  • Organizing your time and information
  • Standing out in a positive way
  • Conference etiquette
  • How to pack for success
  • And even how to network to after the conference is over!

The Truth About Conferences is available as an e-book (mobi, epub, PDF) for $3.99. (Print version: $8.99)

Do you have any tips for packing for a writers conference?


  1. So I should look for you in the workout room? Hmmmm??????

    If so... there's a scene you may just love in Finding Mr Write...

    <3 you dear friend! Two weeks! And you're gettin' a big ol' hug!

  2. Two weeks! Ahh! I can't wait to meet you in person, Beth. :)

    Just tonight I Skyped with my sister in Aurora, CO and she helped me coordinate my outfits (she's an interior designer by profession, but a clothes expert by hobby!) We had a lot of fun - thank God for modern technology. :) I chose a black/white look and she told me to accessorize with lots of color.

    Looking forward to all the fun to come!

  3. I read a flight attendant's blog recently. She recommends rolling clothes instead of packing them flat because rolling takes up less space. She's able to pack for 10 days in her carry-on that way. I choose my outfits and pack them in gallon size Ziploc bags, then I roll them to press out the air. I'm able to pack much more that way. Plus my clothes are protected against accidental spills. Believe it or not, but I have very few wrinkles in my clothes when I unpack my outfits.

  4. Carol -- I am so, so ready for that hug!! And can I read that scene in Finding Mr. Write?
    Gabrielle -- Can't wait to see your outfits. I bet you will look gorgeous! (And your sister lives nearby. Come visit!)
    LJ -- I just may try the Roll/Ziploc method ... maybe. Or I may pay the $$$.

  5. Great ideas, keepers. I'll put some of those to use in 8 days and if I'm smart, should start packing today. Thanks.

  6. Great tips, Beth. Especially the one about the meds. I never thought to pack them in my purse. Duh. I love your other ideas too. I have a combo of brown and black in mind for ACFW. May have to rethink that. Looking forward to meeting and seeing people again!

  7. Last year was my first ACFW conference, and I didn't know to leave room for the TONS of books and materials I would bring back! I had to pray my suitcase seams didn't bust!

    Hate that I won't be there this year, but I'm looking forward to seeing all of you next year!

  8. Beth,
    Not surprising I love your hubby's idea about the work out clothes! Last year I bought a bunch of books and paid to have them shipped so I wouldn't have to try and "fit" them in my carry on! Saved my back for sure!

    See ya soon!!!!

  9. I'm bringing my workout clothes because I'm running a 5K the Saturday after I get home...so I can't forego five days of running (unfortunately!). Thankfully one of my roommates is a runner so I told her she has to drag me out of bed to go to the hotel gym. LOL.

    And I'll probably go cheap and carry on. I roll my stuff like Lisa suggested, and I'm going black based like you suggested. :)

    Two weeks!! Ah!!!

  10. Great tips, Beth! Now we just need to know how to shrink everything down to fit in our suitcases. Sigh, the biggest challenge.

  11. I say Amen! to all those ideas. I also choose my outfits carefully. I sometimes do over pack when I can't decide between one outfit or the other. I try not to make a habit of this.

    I also have worn my nice workout clothes on the plane as it gets cold on that thing. And I take a squishy king size pillow, (Yup, king) on as well for my back. It saves me so much pain and it wraps around my purse strap when I walk. Better than a sore back and not having the right pillow when I get to the other side.

    Hint: take an extra pillowcase so you can sleep with a clean on :)

    Great job, as always, Beth. Valuable info.

  12. I hate to be the odd ball, but that's nothing new. :-) I'm driving, which is good and bad. Good because I don't have to worry about paying extra and bad because I always over pack. But not this year. I'm going to take Beth's advice and go with one basic color in pants and skirts.
    Great post, Beth!

  13. I am an over-packer to the core, but I'm going to try my hardest to follow your tips, Beth, so I don't have to bring five suitcases. Hehehe...I'm used to driving to ACFW, so I usually have the luxury of packing as much as I want. Not so much this time. :)

  14. I appreciate the people who are driving to ACFW adding their insights to the blog post.
    Jennifer -- Sorry you won't be there this year, but you've got a fun blog bash planned during the conference time!
    Dee -- I've already started setting aside my outfits.
    Jeanne -- You're a ACFW newbie -- can't wait to experience through your eyes!
    Alena -- Keep me accountable to work out, okay?
    Lindsay -- Ditto that!
    Michelle -- Making it all fit ... that's the challenge, for sure and certain!
    Ginger -- Like the pillow idea -- hate cold airplanes.
    Pat -- Do you have any tips for drivers?
    Melissa -- 5 suitcases? 5? For your cute boots and skirts, I bet!

  15. Hehehe...the five suitcase thing might've been a slight exaggeration. Hehehe... :) But 2-3 is not beyond the realm of possibility if I count my big suitcase, a garment bag and a carry on. :) Yeah, the airlines make good money off me. :)

  16. I'm driving. But I have 5 car mates. So we do have to be a bit careful.

    I'm wearing my brown shoes and bringing 2 pairs of black ones [flats/wedges] and maybe a grey pair of flats [they're those ballet slippery type things from WM and take very little room]. Everything will likely be either black or gray base with bright tanks w/ black/gray over shirt or bright tops but very mix and match bottoms.

    Here's hoping there's room for all of us to bring books back too ;).

    [Actually, I have a very big back of the minivan and we've already discussed suitcase sizes and took a pic of it with my big ole suitcase, a regular suitcase and two decent size pilot cases in the back with TONS of room to spare...]

    And you really wanna see that section? Just for you darlin'! Email or text me if you really do :D.