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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Packing List: NGS 2014

In just over a month NGS will be held in Richmond, Virginia.  I just can’t express how excited I am to attend my second large conference and be able to come home at night to sleep in my own bed.  Ah, the luxury!

As the perpetual planner and itinerary maker a month is just about perfect to start my packing lists.  Yes, lists.  There are always more than one and sometimes I even have to organize those.  Does that make me overly efficient or slightly loony?  

The one main difference about this conference is that I won’t have to worry about competing for the copiers at the library.  I am there to enjoy the conference, and I can come back another time to do the research.  Lucky me huh?  However, I have a feeling that I will be still be found lurking around the library helping out of town/state friends.

Unfortunately I will be solo this time around.  Well, except for Saturday.  My kids will be attending the NGS Youth Camp on Saturday and are very excited about it.  Even more so when they learned that mom doesn’t have to stick around.  It’s like I have the plague or something.  I included a Saturday packing list for them too. 

I have spent the last few hours trying to figure out how much I should stuff into my bag.  Over packing, um excuse me, being prepared, is the key.  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 or to let me know if I forgot something.  Of course, you all could just see if I can pull this packing list off and then laugh at me when I look like a human pack mule.

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.  I also bring a smaller bag that it squishy and can be used as an extra bag in a pinch.

Comfy shoes:  I am all for being stylish but now that I have entered the world of foot problem sufferers I can appreciate comfortable footwear.  Some sort of comfy loafer or sneakers will be in my bag for the trip. 

Layers: Dressing in layers is always a must.  While the weather maybe confused outside (Richmond could be anywhere from 50-80 degrees in May) you can bet that there will be at least one room that is a freezer inside the conference.  A light sweater or jacket will be with me. Preferably one that can be tied around the waist or squished into a bag.

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 caffeine is critical I carry a water bottle with me everywhere.  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, chargers, and etc.  A techie girl has to have her gadgets in tow!

First-aid kit: Can you tell that I am a mom.  My mobile band-aid station goes with me everywhere.  Bandages, tums, pain killers, hand sanitizer, and a small sewing kit.  It’s just one of those things that is always in my purse.

Conference Needs:
Schedule:  I have already analyzed the conference schedule that I picked up from my local society meeting months ago.  However, my organization streak has not stopped there because now I am transferring all that information to the app.  The mobile conference app is awesome and I am loving it!  I will have as much of my time planed out and arranged as possible before I get there, even if there are several blocks where I have multiple classes scheduled. 

Business Cards:  Make your own or take advantage of the various cheap business card makers out there.  You can hand them out to new friends or old friends.  Put them in door prize drawing boxes.  Or anything else you can think of.  My favorite printer is but I hear Vista Print is good too.

iPad: Do I need to say more?

Notebook/Binder:  Yes, sometimes old fashioned paper and a notebook/binder is the answer.  I can keep important papers, contact numbers, itineraries, maps, and what not in one place. Plus, sometimes passing notes to friends is an actual thing.  Not everyone has text messaging believe it or not.

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 (I may give into the temptation):
Laptop:  I am trying to decide if I can do just the iPad or if I should bring my laptop too.  Something to think about…

Thumb drives: For those lucky times when you can copy files directly onto drives instead of having to cart loads of paper home.  Many of the research facilities around Richmond will let you copy directly to thumb drives.  The microfilm readers and copy machines at the Library of Virginia do this.

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

Cash: for the copy cards in case I really do need to make photocopies and I can’t use my thumb drive.

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.  

Kids Day Packing List:
Notebook and pen: No, they do not have tablets.  Bad mom I know, but paper and pen will be just fine.

If lost return tag: Yes, I label the inside their stuff when we go to large places.  My cell phone and email will taped, tacked, or tied to all their belongings. 

Water bottle: Hydration is important!

Small snack: An energy boost for them if they get cranky or need something before we can actually sit down for a meal. 

Notebook with printouts: The oldest will get to carry the notebook with the maps, itinerary, and how to find mom stuff.  The youngest is responsible for making sure the oldest doesn’t lose it.  Between the two we should be good to go.


  1. Thanks for the great tips this will be my first traveling conference so excited!

    1. That is very exciting! I know you will have a great time so make sure to leave time to digest everything you learn and take in all the extras too.

  2. Good tips! Here are two more things I take: Clipboard for taking notes (there are usually no tables at these conferences, so it's just you, a chair, and a piece of paper), and a luggage roller for my purchases & stuff.

    1. Those are great tips too! Thank you for sharing them.