How to Pack for a Conference 

There’s nothing worse than going to a conference

Me and My Old Boss Meeting Buzz at at a Marketing Conference

and feeling totally unprepared. If you’re anxious like me, then your anxiety levels are already at an all time high at conferences.

Having everything I need takes the edge off a bit. To help make your next conference easier, I’ve created a packing list.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Cardigan/Sweater/Jacket

    Conferences are always freezing cold. The last one I went to they were handing out branded snuggies – smart marketing idea.

  • Dressy Flats or Comfortable Heels

    You’ll do a lot of walking at a conference. Even walking to the bathroom can feel like a trek at the large event centers. Plus, dressy flats can instantly turn a pair of jeans into a professional look. Same goes for comfortable loafers. They can make khakis or jeans look instantly dressier.

  • Casual Attire

    Me at a Marketing Conference in Orlando

    If you’re not an exhibitor, then you’re probably okay to wear jeans or more casual clothing. My first conference I brought dressy business clothes like suits. Boy, was that a mistake! Ever since, I’ve donned some nicer jeans and a cute top to rock the conference. I suggest you do the same. Most conferences I go to, everyone is casual except for the people at booths.

    If you are working a booth, I suggest you dress to impress. This last conference I went to as an exhibitor, I wore cute dresses that stood out (not in a skanky kind of way) and got lots of compliments.

  • Dressy Business Wear

    Just in case people are dressier, I would bring some additional business professional outfits. Just so you will be prepared. You never know if you need to meet a client or potential prospect even if you’re an attendee and not an exhibitor.

  • Formal Wear

    No need to break out the ball gowns or tuxes, but for cocktail hour (which I’m sure they’ll have) you’ll want to wear something nice and professional. It can be a pant suit or beautiful cocktail dress – it’s whatever you’re comfortable in.

    Certain conferences may be dressier than others. It’s always safe to mix up the clothing if it’s your first time attending. Bring suits, business casual attire and jeans.

    TIP: Don’t wear anything that looks like you’re heading out to the club.

  • Backpack/Laptop Case with lots of paper, pens and laptop

    While you’ll probably be able to score lots of pens at a conference, you’ll still want to pack a backpack full of supplies. Plus, it’ll be helpful for carrying all of the swag you’ll be collecting from the booths.

    Some conferences will supply powerstrips and free WiFi. If they do, I’d definitely get that laptop out and start taking notes.

  • Cell Phone Gear

    While it’s probably frowned upon, I’m constantly checking my phone during a conference because they can become quite long and boring. Every conference, I bring my cell phone charger and portable charger.

  • Comfy Clothes for Arrival and Departure

    More than likely, you have to travel to the conference. Bring comfortable clothes! You may even be able to wear these on the last day of the conference. You’ll definitely want to get in them and stay in them by that point.

All in all, I think conferences are meant to be fun and full of learning. Enjoy your time there!

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