My 5 Must Have Items to Pack for Conferences #SHRM18

If you’re heading to this year’s annual SHRM conference you’re probably packing or have just finished packing your bags.

Generally, when traveling, I try to travel light — and if I forget something, if I’m in the US, I can generally do without it or replace it easily. But I try not to have that attitude completely when going to a conference because there are several items I know I’m gonna want to have (and I generally leave them in my carry-on so that I have them with me whenever I travel).

1. A Sweater (or something for layers)

No matter what time of year the conference is, I almost always find that the event center is too cool for my taste — so I always try to dress in layers. My general go to is a denim shirt — it goes with EVERYTHING and I can dress it up or down (but let’s be serious, I work in tech and I’m ALL about comfort — so I’m dressing it down, but still look kinda put together).  I’ve also used a large scarf which I wear as a scarf or can use as a wrap (a trick I picked up from my 30 day wardrobe challenge days). Whether its a yoga hoodie or pull over, you’ll appreciate having the option to cover up if you want to. I have experimented with all types and prefer ones that I can throw over my shoulders, waist, or even into a bag -so light weight and easy to roll up .

2. A Water Bottle

Its easy to get dehydrated at conferences — so I always bring one with me. I can generally find water pretty easily — and this way I don’t have to worry about wasting a cup or recycling a bottle. I actually don’t use a water bottle anymore but opt for a cup with a lid so that I can use it for other beverages. Its easy to throw in my bag or backpack bottle hold. Most places are pretty good about providing filtered water. This is a habit that I got when I went back to work after my maternity leave and I was struggling to stay hydrated – I’m not sure why, but if I have my reusable cup or water bottle with me — I just take in more water. And trust me, you’re gonna want to stay hydrated while at the conference!
3. Portable Blender

Okay — I bet you’re giving me some serious side eye here — A portable blender — seriously?!?!? I find that I’m not always eating my best at conferences or events — so if I have my blender with me I can at least throw together a quick smoothie or protein drink. Most hotels have fruit to use, or I pack a protein or veggie powder — I try to get one in the AM and take one with me to go. I use my reusable insulated cup — or sometimes I have a blender bottle that I’ll use and put the protein powder in there to make during the day. The small blender is super small and I think it was like $15 at Target  — it packs easily and doesn’t take much to clean or just pack the blender bottle. Even though its small, if I’m challenged for space (or gasp, forget it — it is the one item that I take out to wash and use at my office) I’ll pick up some protein bars.  Its not hard to find food, but not always the healthiest so I try to plan ahead a bit. Plus conference days tend to be long – so good to have an option.
4. Power Bank

This goes without saying right? Most conferences are getting better with providing power stations for attendees — but why not plan ahead for it.  They are super small and way affordable now. I leave this in my travel bag and then charge it in the airport or at the hotel and its ready to go with you to the conference!
5. Clippie, headband, and/or hat

.. because who wants to mess with their hair? Not this girl — especially since I’ve started my natural hair journey and went back to curly hair! Uuugghhh — and dealing with all those bottles of products and styling tools. No thank you if I can get around it. Ironically these are the items I almost ALWAYS forget! I try to keep a couple clippies or headbands in my bag and its easy to throw a cap in there too . The expo hall could be a place to find a cap –but its a chance that I’d rather not take. I did get a tip from a fellow HR Blogger that she gets a blow out right before her conference and with care, she can make it last for 3 or 4 days — so I’m gonna give that a try this year!

So what’s in your bag or suitcase — what are your conference must have?

Making the HR Connection, yours,

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