5 Things Everyone Needs When Going to a Conference


I’m on the road for yet another conference, one where I’m very much looking forward to hearing the speakers, learning lots and spending time with a number of friends, old and new, who will be there. As I’ve become more of a regular attendee at these sorts of things, I’ve found that there are a few things that every person should really have on hand at a conference:

An eReader of some sort

This just makes the travel-time go so much more quickly. I bring my iPad pretty much everywhere with me and it’s so worth it, in part because it keeps my bags light (I like to have options when reading). Also, you’re probably going to be coming home with a whole whack of books (either from giveaways or purchases), so you’re going to need the room in your luggage. Which brings me to my next point…

Appropriate luggage

You’re almost certainly going to come home with more than you planned. Pack light and bring roomy luggage (this goes double for those flying).

A contact card (optional)

It’s a bit old-school, but a contact card (read: business card) is super helpful to have handy when you know you’re going to meet a bunch of people with whom you’ll want to keep in touch.

Comfortable shoes

Because you’re going to be on your feet a fair amount of the time, it’s wise to wear comfortable shoes. Even the best business casual slip-on gets unpleasant after a long day.

Oral B brush ups (and/or mints and gum)

Roaming around a conference for 10+ hours, drinking coffee… yeah. Take care to protect your breath.

Anything else you’d add to the list?

This post has been updated twice since it was first published in April, 2012.

photo credit: marfis75 via photopin cc

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  • http://twitter.com/WScottCochrane Scott Cochrane

    Practical and very useful post Aaron. I should include this in the registration material sent to participants of our Willow Creek Canada events!

  • http://writingandliving.net Staci Eastin

    Sweater or jacket. Convention centers tend to be either too hot or too cold. 

    • http://www.bloggingtheologically.com Aaron Armstrong

      Good point.

  • http://www.bloggingtheologically.com Aaron Armstrong

    And would you believe I forgot one of these 5 things at home this morning? True story (it was #3).