Friday, July 16, 2010

The Return of the Comprehensive, Must-Have, Magical, Mystical, Packing List

It's July again and RWA Nationals is right around the corner. Its time to start thinking about really important stuff like "What am I going to wear?" and "How many shoes can I cram into this bag without going over the weight limit?" In honor of this important event I'm bringing back the Comprehensive, Must-Have, Magical, Mystical, Packing List. Its a great place to start building your own list.

Mine is broken into sections, starting with what I'm wearing on the plane. These are usually items that are too bulky to pack and comfortable for travel. Jeans, a sweater and sneakers are must haves in my book and I've racked up my share of airline miles in them. Planes get cold and I've been so happy to have my sweater instead of wearing shorts and flip flops like all the other tourists. Plus, when they change your gate for the 10th time or your plane is late and you have 5 minutes to make your connection, sneakers are a godsend.

Wear on Plane :
  • Shirt
  • Jeans
  • Sweater
  • Sneakers
  • Socks
Then I have the list of what goes in my backpack. I like backpacks because my hands are free, but this could be your carry on, your toiletry bag...whatever. Just make sure these items are in a bag you physically have custody of at all times. Must have stuff. You don't want it to end up in New Jersey while you're waiting at the luggage carousel in DC.

Backpack :
  • Plane Itinerary / Ticket
  • Camera & Battery Charger
  • Cell Phone & Charger
  • 1 extra pair of panties & socks (just in case)
  • Book to read on the plane
  • ID and/or Passport (I keep this and some cash in an easily accessible pocket - one that zips for security - for the 20 times I have to get it out to travel. This is mainly because of the next item.)
  • Purse (I transition to a smaller purse and stuff it inside my backpack so I have less to carry. This makes it harder to get to, so I take a few essentials out for the day. Even though you won't need your keys, be sure to carry them with you as well so you have them when you get home.)
  • Snacks & An Empty Water Bottle (They don't feed you on planes anymore, so this is a MUST. Its also good to have once you get to Nationals so you have something to eat aside from the overpriced hotel food. As for the water bottle, you can refill it as you travel, but it must be empty to get through airport security.)
  • Prescription Medication (Never, ever check your pills with your luggage.)
  • Travel Alarm Clock (If you can't set your cell phone, and you can, I'm pretty sure)
  • Mini flashlight
  • Business Cards
  • Presentation Materials (I'm doing a workshop this year, so anything I need is staying on my person.)
Next is what goes in my toiletry bag. Mine is actually a small bag that fits inside my luggage, which is good considering all the charges for extra pieces these days. If you're carrying this on, remember all liquids, gels and aerosols must be smaller than 3 ounces and must all fit within a clear, one quart ziplock bag. You have to pull this out and run it through the security x-ray separately. If you do check the bag, I still recommend putting liquids inside a ziploc bag in case a bottle comes open and leaks all over your clothes.

Toiletry Bag :
  • Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Floss & Mouthwash
  • Deodorant
  • Hairbrush
  • Clips/Bands/Barettes
  • Shampoo & Conditioner (if you can use the hotel provided ones, ok, but my hair is too picky)
  • Lotion and Soap (I will use the hotel provided stuff, but if you can't, pack your own)
  • Hair Products - Gel, Hairspray, Mousse, Detangler
  • Hair Electronics - blow dryers, curling iron, flat iron, etc.
  • Makeup, brushes, cotton applicators, good mirror, tweezers
  • Moisturizer w/ SPF (you might also take outright sunblock if you'll be outside a lot)
  • Razor & Shaving gel
  • Feminine Hygiene (I always take an emergency stash just in case.)
  • OTC Meds - Pain Reliever, Antacids, Stomach Pills
  • Clear and colored nail polish & file for manicure fixes and hosiery runs
  • First Aid Kit & Extra bandaids (if you have to ask, you haven't read this blog for very long)
  • Mini Sewing Kit
  • Mini bottle of Downy Wrinkle Release Spray & Febreze (another must on the Playground!)
  • Bandaid Friction Block (a nifty new item I found out about from Lynn Raye Harris. You apply it to your feet to keep your shoes from rubbing blisters.)
Luggage :
  • Another copy of your flight itinerary in case your bag loses its ID tag
  • Panties x # of days, plus one
  • Sport or Trouser Socks x # of days needed
  • 1 pair pantyhose (I hate them, but its good to carry one pair JIC. I have a pair of shoes that just rubs something fierce without them, but are super comfortable otherwise)
  • Regular bras & dress bras (as needed for formals, etc)
  • Spanx (the ever-so important foundation garment) & slips as needed
  • Casual tops x # of siteseeing/travel days
  • 1 pair jeans (if you aren't doing a lot of tourist stuff, this might not be necessary, especially as I'm wearing a pair on the plane)
  • Seasonal Jacket, etc, as needed (depends on where you're going, as SFO was cold, Orlando is NOT)
  • Pajamas (I don't know how many times I stress over every outfit, then forget PJs)
  • Daytime Outfit Components (see breakdown below)
  • Party Outfits as needed for Ritas, etc.
  • Swimsuit, if you think you might manage to make it to the spa at some point
  • Badge Lanyard with conference and chapter pins (RWA did a nice one in Reno for their Anniversary that had a pocket and a pen holder that I like to bring and use instead of the normal ones they usually have.)
  • Shoes - At a minimum, 2 pairs of comfortable casual shoes or sandals, 1 or 2 dress pairs for formals, maybe some slippers or flip flops if you're inclined to swim or visit the spa. If you coordinate your outfit to a color scheme, you can cut down to less. I do not recommend wearing the same shoes every day, even if it matches. I find even the most comfortable pair will start to rub and make your feet sore if you wear them over and over. You will do a lot of walking.
  • Jewelry - Make sure you know what you're wearing with each piece and put them all together in a bag with tissue if you don't have a jewelry travel case.

Finally, to determine my outfits, I use a daily breakdown. I try to bring some neutral pieces like black capris or a skirt that I can use a couple times. Microfiber is awesome - it doesn't wrinkle and it takes up almost no space in your bag. I also advocate the inclusion of one extra outfit that lies somewhere between your workshop attire and your formal in case you get an impromptu invite to a dinner or a party someplace nice. Here's my breakdown based on my typical activities...

  • Wednesday - black microfiber skirt, pink top, black sandals, pink jewelry
  • Thursday - black capris, blue microfiber top, black sandals, blue jewelry
  • Thursday Night - eHQN PJ party attire, flip flops/slippers
  • Friday - black microfiber skirt, purple microfiber top, black sweater, black heels, purple jewelry
  • Friday Night - black sequined top, dress pants, sequined skull heels, black/pink jewelry
  • Saturday - black capris, pink satin top, pink heels, pink jewelry
  • Saturday Night - purple formal, purple dress heels, purple jewelry
  • Sunday - t-shirt, jeans, etc. for flight home (add days as needed if you're coming early or staying late to sitesee)
  • Pitch Outfit - if you are pitching, bring the outfit that makes you feel your best if its not already one of the ensembles you're wearing
  • Extra Outfit - a fabu just in case outfit that you can wear with the shoes and jewelry you're already planning to bring
Hope The Comprehensive, Must-Have, Magical, Mystical, Packing List helps make planning for the big trip a little easier for you. Have I missed anything? What's on your must pack list?



susanwilson44 said...

OMG! Are you taking a suitcase or a freighter? Think carefully - we assume we load our cases these days as all the cases have wheels. One of my wheels screeched across Glasgow central's platform as I ran for the train to london this year and I had to (shock, horror!) carry my case!!
Any my body wasn't designed for that!
Have a good time x

Smarty Pants said...

Actually, my bag is usually the lightest an almost never goes over 40 lbs or so. I carry lots of mini sized bottles, don't need a blow dryer, etc., so it works out. Half my bag is shoes.

Kathy said...

As always you provide a truly magical list, SP. Thanks! :)

Playground Monitor said...

I never take shaving gel; I use the hotel hair conditioner as shaving creme. Works like a charm.

A lot of my tops plus one dress is microfiber. I'm hoping my bag will only be 40 pounds this year. It's usually about 45. ~fingers crossed~

Great list, SP. Reminded me though, that I need a new backpack. Like you, I always fly with one and like it because it leaves your hands free to juggle the lunch you buy in the airport because airlines don't feed you anymore. And if you have a sudden gate change, it's easier to power walk to the new gate with a backpack. Mine will fit under the seat so there's no scrambling for overhead space. That's good too because I'm short and the overhead bins aren't.

Problem Child said...

My packing list is on my hard drive and I print one for each trip. Outfits are then plotted out on the back. I'm anal that way.


This year, I have to pack AC for camp at the same time, so we have multiple lists going at the moment...

catslady said...

The only thing I didn't see were glasses, extra glasses or contacts or both and sun glasses. Maybe you don't need them lol.

Liza said...

Great list and thanks for some tips for items I forgot. This is my first conference, so I'm taking all the tips I can find. Still need to get a new backpack. The one I've used in the past is a little big for under the seat.