Every September since The Ponderers began blogging together, I’ve had mixed feelings about the American Christian Fiction Writers annual conference. The last time I had the privilege of attending an ACFW conference was in Denver in 2009…before I met any of The Ponderers and before any of us were published. I say “mixed feelings” because while I was so excited for my friends who got to go—especially those whose conference experiences led them to agents and publication—but I can admit I was jealous. For the past three years, as many of my writing friends gathered in Indianapolis, St. Louis, and Dallas, I was stuck at home, writing blog posts on how to cope with being stuck at home while alternately crying, sulking, and baking.
This year I again have mixed feelings about the conference, but this time it’s because I get to join many of my Ponderers (most of whom I’ve not seen face-to-face since May of 2010!!) in Indianapolis, one week from today! I’m so incredibly excited, but I’m also a little anxious. Yesterday I took a break from working (on the novel I will be *gulp* pitching next week!) to shop for a couple new conference outfits. That got me thinking about packing. So, last night, I hit Pinterest to see how Pinners everywhere go about packing.
I decided to celebrate my first “I-get-to-go-to-the-conference!” blog post by sharing a few of the tips and ideas I found.
1.) There are no less than 30 printable packing lists on Pinterest! My favorite is this free printable list (broken down by daily outfits) but I also like the interactive, customizable list that allows you add and subtract items on the webpage before printing your list.
2.) Most packers subscribe to the “rolling” method (rolling each article of clothing or groups of like clothing into a burrito) although there is a faction who believes whole-heartedly in “sandwiching” clothing in flat, ziplocked packages.
3.) Many pinners agree you can save a lot of space if you choose one color scheme (e.g. black or brown) and then use accessories to add pops of color. Many claim that you can pack everything you need for a three-week trip in a single carry-on bag!! (For the record, I’m packing a suitcase and checking it. I do NOT want to fight for overhead bin space!!)
4.) When it comes to accessories, one pinner suggested using Press ‘n Seal to keep everything from becoming a jumbled mess. A few others demonstrated how to use drinking straws to protect delicate chain necklaces. All agreed that shoes should be bagged and placed along the sides of the bag with socks and undies stuffed inside.
5.) Most agreed that it is best to mix and layer pieces in thin, light fabrics to avoid packing an overweight suitcase, but also for comfort. And comfortable shoes are a must!
There were a lot of great ideas for packing your personal carry-on bag and getting through airport security as well.
1.) Tweezers and small scissors are allowed, but guns, knives, and hockey sticks (?!) are still a no-no.
2.) If you are checking the majority of your luggage, it’s wise to pack a toothbrush, some deodorant, and a change of clothes (as well as most of your undergarments) in your carry-on, just in case the airline loses your bags.
3.) Dress comfortably for the trip and layer to account for temperature variations within the airplane. Wear flip-flops or flats to save time in the “please-remove-your-shoes” portion of the security check.
4.) Bring an empty water bottle (and packets of Crystal Light or Koolaid if you like) to fill once you’ve passed through the security checkpoint to avoid paying $10 for water or soda.
5.) Most airlines offer hot water for tea on their flights, but generally only provide regular black tea. So pack a couple of your favorite tea bags in your carryon and enjoy.
6.) Don’t forget chargers for your phone and/or tablet!!
I know that not all of our readers are attending the ACFW Conference, but I think these are great packing tips no matter who you are or where you’re going. Over the past month, I’ve packed my family of four for three camps (family camp, high school camp, and kids’ camp) and a week-long family vacation; looking back, I’m wishing I’d consulted Pinterest on this matter back at the beginning of July!
~Heidi Larson Geis
Your turn: Do you prefer the “rolling” method or the “sandwich” method of packing? What is your “must-have” item in your carry-on bag? Do you have a no-fail tip for packing?