Everyone has their own opinions about what to take when packing for a conference. Obviously a lot of the conferences are smaller than Ignite and that makes for a slightly different packing list.
Here are a few of the things on my checklist :
1. Two pairs of shoes. It seems silly, but I can vouch for the fact that swapping shoes every day makes a difference. I for one usually don’t walk 17,000 steps in a normal day. However, at Ignite, a 17k day is not unusual for me. Good, well broken in, comfortable shoes are invaluable.
2. Powerbanks. Those little USB power chargers will keep your phone juiced up all day. Power plugs can be scarce at times. Having a big battery to tide you over can be the difference between being able to tap out a quick note VS having to write it down in a pad.
3. A notebook. As much as you try, you may run out of juice and need to take notes the old fashioned way. I prefer the half size spirals. Usually there are some vendors in the Expo/Hub giving away branded notepads as well.
4. Light jacket/windbreaker. The temperature can swing wildly from hot outside and warm in the halls to chilly in the rooms for breakouts. I like to take a light warmup jacket that will fit easily in my pack.
5. USB multiport charger. I have a little USB charger with 5 ports that plugs into a regular wall plug. This is for your hotel room to charge all of your stuff at the same time. There are never enough plugs accessible in hotel rooms.
6. Hand sanitizer. You will be shaking hands a lot. Nuff said.
7. Business cards. If your company does not provide them, most Office Depots will make you a set of 50 or 100 inexpensively and ready in a couple of hours.
8. Extra space. You will be bringing back t-shirts and other swag. Even if you don’t want the stuff, it’s nice to bring it back to your team. Either only pack your suitcase 2/3 full or bring an empty gym bag in your main suitcase. It’s amazing how many t-shirts can be stuffed in a decent size gym bag!
Of course, some of these seem obvious, but I personally have forgotten at least a few of these things! Trust me, it’s much cheaper to bring these things than to buy at the airport or hotel.
Other than that, eat and drink responsibly, stay hydrated, and have fun. If you tend to be a little introverted, step out of your comfort zone and introduce yourself to at least one other attendee per day. Vendors do not count since they are working at meeting YOU!
That about sums it up for now. I’m going to try to post more during the week, time permitting.