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Monday, July 15, 2013

Road Trip: Packing for FGS 2013

Skyline of Ft. Wayne, Indiana

In a month I will leave for FGS in Ft. Wayne.  Yes, a miracle happened and I was able to pull off the trip registering on the last day for the early bird discount.  Even better, I am squeezing in a visit to my extended family before the conference.  Yay!  

Potential family finds and a genealogy conference, what more could I wish for.  Oh, and I am dragging my parents along for the ride.  Yep, mom and dad will be attending the conference as well.  This is going to get crazy!

Is a month out too soon to start thinking about packing?  I have attended a couple conferences on other topics, but, like I have said before, never a large genealogy conference.  There has to be something I just can’t live without right?  On the other hand large conferences are pretty much the same so I should be able to rely on past experiences. 

I have spent the last few hours trying to figure out how much I should stuff into my car.  Oh…did I mention I was driving from Virginia? Yeah, 14 hours-ish on the road, meeting mom and dad in Indiana for family visiting, and then off to Fort Wayne.  Wish me luck.  Or even better buy me a drink at the hotel when I get in.

­­­So…let’s dive into what I think I should bring.  I will rely on you all to tell me if I am being a little too ambitious.  Oh, and I will limit it to conference stuff only.  I won’t bore you with what I am packing in the truck for on the road entertainment.

See you in Fort Wayne!
General Needs:
Sturdy large bag: Bigger than a purse but smaller than a duffel bag is what I like to bring.  Something sturdy enough to put shopping in as well as carry everything I think I will need to have a happy conference.

Comfy shoes:  I am all for being stylish but now that I am mumble mumble years old I can appreciate comfortable footwear.  Some sort of loafer or sneakers will be in my bag for the trip.

Layers: Dressing in layers is always a must.  While it might be sweltering outside you can bet that there will be at least one room that is a freezer inside.  A light sweater or jacket will be with me.

Snacks: Having a few snacks on hand when you can’t get out for a real meal is a must have. Protein bar, some nuts, a piece of fruit, or anything that will give a boost of energy, but is small, is great to have.  I also tend to carry some hard candy or gum just in case I need it after lunch. 

Water:  While my morning coffee is important I have become addicted to carrying a water bottle with me.  Now that you can get bottles with built in filters I will have one of these in my bag as well.  I can have water with me at any time and no worries about where the recycling bin is.

Electronics: Cords, cables, iPod, head phones, and etc.  A techie girl has to have her toys in tow!

Conference Needs:
Schedule:  I have already highlighted and dog-eared the FGS conference schedule that I picked up from my local society meeting months ago.  However, my organization streak has not stopped there because now that I am actually going my spread sheets are out.  I will have as much of my time planed out and arranged as possible before I get there.

Business Cards:  A few months back I had a bunch of business cards made up with my contact information printed on them.  They have come in handy at meetings and presentations or when I meet someone else in the genealogy world and I want to keep in touch.  I hope that I can pass them out to new friends here too!

iPad: Do I need to say more?

Notebook/Binder:  Yes, sometimes an old fashioned paper and a notebook/binder is the answer.  I can keep my schedule (in plastic page protectors), important papers, contact numbers, itineraries, maps, and what not in one place. 

Writing tools: Stylus for the iPad, pens, pencils, highlighters, colored pencils, you name it I will have at least one of it on me for making the written word happen. 

Mailing labels:  I use filled out mailing labels to save my hands and time in filling out things at conferences.   They can be used to label your handouts, enter a contest, in a pinch as a business card, and many other things.  It would surprise you what you can use a mailing label for.  I put my full contact information on it as well as my social media contacts. 

Research Needs:
Laptop:  I can’t leave home without it.

Thumb drives: For those lucky times when you can copy files directly onto drives instead of having to cart loads of paper home.

Strategy: A prioritized list of what I want to look for.  I plan on visiting the Allen County Public Library (or sending my parents on an excursion) several times during our time in Fort Wayne.  This means I need to spend the next month looking through their online catalogue and creating a game plane to make the most of my time there.

Folders: For those papers that I pick up.  I can keep them separate by topic or family, whatever I need.

Cash: for the copy cards in case I really do need to make photocopies.

Camera: I never go anywhere, particularly a research opportunity, without my camera.  Included in my bag are the cords to transfer images, extra batteries, and camera lens cleaner.  


  1. You sound super-organized to me! Yes, I do indeed wish you luck. Fourteen hours is definitely a long trip, and I'm glad you have energy bars to keep you going. I'm hoping to be there too, and I'll try to recognize you by your picture. It looks like so much fun!

    1. Oh that is great! I will try to find you too!!

  2. It sounds like you have everything you need. I hope you have a great time.

  3. Thanks! Getting really excited for the event.

  4. Hmmm. You are coming from the state of my ancestors. Might have to buy you that drink when you get here.