Bring it, Pack it

By Kelly Smith; Photo by Justin Hackworth for Alt Summit

During my first trip to Alt, I was so excited to pack a large bag and check it. Without my husband or kids, I was looking forward to being hands-free and only carried a few entertainment items with me for my carry-on. 

So, of course, my bag ended up in Arizona and I was without clothes or business cards for the first day and a half of Alt. Lesson learned, I guess. 

We have given you a packing list in the past, but the truth is that it all depends on your brand - what will make you comfortable enough to put your best foot forward? Here are my suggestions.

What to bring

Camera - This might be your phone, a DSLR, or a point-and-shoot. It all depends on how much you want to document and how you plan on using the photos you take. There will be professional photographers at the conference snapping tons of pictures that you are welcome to use after the event. (Photos from our past events are available on Flickr for you to use with crediting.) So, keep that in mind as you make your decision.

Computer - The same applies to your choice to bring a computer. I did not bring one last year and the world did not end. I used my smart phone to connect with social media, check my inbox for anything important, and did not worry about the rest. But this year I am planning on bringing it, so that I can upload photos at night and keep ahead of my blogging (I know this sounds a little crazy - we will see if it actually happens).

Business cards - Include something to carry them in during the day while you are handing them out (bag, purse, pouch), and if you are really organized include an extra bag for cards that you receive.

Notepad + Pen - If you are not taking notes on your computer, you should have a notebook and pen handy. For the last few conferences, Alt has included them in your welcome bag, but it cannot hurt to bring an extra. And a pen really is a must for writing down numbers, details about people you just met, and contact notes.

Extras - Having a few bandaids for shoes, mints for bad breath, Tylenol for headaches, and vitamins is smart. They will not take up much space in your bag, but will make a huge difference if your day suddenly turns a wrong corner.

Clothes - here is a link to the packing list (PDF) that Kelly of Design Crush made. It covers both day and night activities for the conference as well as traveling to and from Salt Lake City. Most people change between the day and evening events. But, please do not feel like you need to purchase a whole new wardrobe for this event. Even well known stylists who attend do not go all out and spent a ton of money. Learning and making connections at Alt is more important; style and fashion is just for fun. I was so nervous my first year and my best friend gave me the best advice. She said, "I think people are too concerned about what they are wearing to even notice what others are wearing." I have to think she was on to something. I can tell you what I wore that year, but not at all what my friends wore. Instead, I remember their laughter, their joy, and the way they made me feel like I belonged.

How to pack it all 

Being a lifelong Martha Stewart fan, I tend to follow her advice but whatever you do, however you pack make sure to have a few essentials in your carry on. I am talking about a pair of pajamas, clothes for the next day (or two), your business cards, and toiletries. It is just the smart thing to do.

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Eden Hensley

Marketing creative, community engagement specialist, technophile, photographer, food and wine enthusiast, and the founder and editor-in-chief of The Road to The Good Life, a lifestyle blog about appreciating and enhancing your life by being grateful for the "haves" instead of lingering on the "wants." There you will find personal stories about my life and family weaved in with real-life, achievable entertaining tips, recipes for hearty home cooked meals, and DIY projects for capturing and sharing memories. I believe the best place to swap stories is over a shared meal, preferably a Thai-meal served family style, and teach an online introduction class to Thai Flavors and host the Family Dinners at The Station supper club in San Francisco.