By guest contributor Erin Loechner.
When it comes to packing for conferences, I'm a firm believer that less is more. Stick with the bare essentials and little else. You get bonus points if you can fit everything into a carry-on. You don't want to deal with missing luggage should you be one of the unfortunate few, like myself, who nearly always end up with lost bags during a business trip! Still, there are a few essentials you simply can't leave at home for Alt. Get that suitcase ready!
1) Smart Phone
For Instagramming, Tweeting, Facebooking, and updating all of those other social media hot spots the cool kids are frequenting. Conferences are touch-and-go, so Internet access and a handy on-the-go tool for updates are a must.
Altitude Design Summit is filled to the brim with inspiration. Whether inspiration comes in the form of a beautifully-displayed dessert, or those gorgeous ballroom chandeliers, come ready to capture it all with a camera.
3) Laptop/iPad + Chargers
Hear something amazing in one of the sessions and want to post it ASAP? Run into an emergency crash and need to reboot your server? Keep a lightweight laptop/iPad with you for those just-in-case moments when a smart phone won't quite do the trick.
4) Business cards
You'll need a way for all of your amazing new friends to reach you, right? And get creative - Altitude Design Summit is sort of known for attracting the best biz cards in all of the land. Don't believe me? Check out some of last year's standout calling cards here, here and here (By the way, there's still time to design your own with these handy tips).
5) Notebook + Pen
Perfect for passing notes and scrawling dinner reservations, an old-fashioned notebook and pen are a must.
Since there is a lot of coffee/wine to be consumed at Altitude Design Summit, it's best to come prepared.
This is my favorite thing to pack, because (a) they take up virtually no space, and (b) every year I hand out a slew of them to the high-heeled gal with blisters. It's a great way to meet new friends, and you can rest assured you'll save someone's sanity for the day.
8) Emergen-C / Airborne
If you're like me, and often get the sniffles when traveling, Emergen-C or Airborne are great ways to beat a cold. I pack enough for my roomies each year, and we always have a morning cocktail of vitamin C to stave off any sickness that might be brewing. You're welcome!
Don't forget a copy of your itinerary in your bag. You might need a back-up printout of your flights/meetings/events. While you're at it, take a look at the Altitude Design Summit schedule and plan ahead as to which panels/classes you'd like to attend. This way, you can schedule in-between meetings with your favorite bloggers without skipping a beat.
Cash is handy for breaking bills, emergency coffee runs, or splitting the check at dinner. And if you're planning to hit the local thrift shops over the weekend, you'll definitely want to stock that wallet!
Anything I forgot? What are your conference go-to staples for packing? I'd love to hear!