4 Tips for Packing for Your First Conference

Last week, I flew out to Vancouver, Canada for the Unbounce Call To Action conference and was there for four days! Because I just recently started working in marketing, I was so excited for the opportunity to go and learn alongside my coworkers about the industry (and I was extra excited about going to Canada for the first time!!!) Every time I travel, though, I tend to overpack. Bad. Since I was limited to only a carry on, this was even more overwhelming. I figured that this would be a good opportunity to share some of the tips that help me get organized and narrow down my traveling essentials. Here’s my 4 tips for packing for your first conference when you’re dealing with limited space.

Packing Tip #1: Make a list and lay everything out

Packing for Your First ConferenceI’m a visual person, so checking things off a list and being able to visualize everything on the floor helps me so much (and reduces my travel anxiety!). I start my lists by planning my outfits for each day (shirt, pants, underwear, bra, shoes). Next, I list the accessories I’ll need to bring (purses, jewelry, etc.). When I’m traveling with just a carry on, I use a tote bag so I can fit my work laptop, charger, notepad, headphones, etc. and will later use it has my bag for the conference. Then, I’ll list what needs to go inside of my tote bag. Finally, I list out what beauty products I’ll need to bring and make sure that I have the products in travel sizes.

Packing Tip #2: Try on your outfits (comfort is key!!!)

Checking the dress code for any conference is super important. Many conferences require business casual or business professional attire, but luckily, the conference I attended was more casual, so I had a bit more flexibility for comfort. When I’m putting together my outfits, though, I always ask myself things like: “Will I be able to sit in these pants all day comfortably?” “Can I walk or stand in these shoes for long periods of time?” “Will I be adjusting my bra straps all day with this top?” It can be so tempting to wear brand new flats or heels, or a top that looks super cute but requires you to adjust the straps all day, so keep in mind: if they’re going to be uncomfortable, don’t bring them.

Packing Tip #3: Limit yourself to only the essential beauty products

Packing makeup is always my weakness. Although I use the same products every. single. day., I still find myself wanting to pack every nude lipstick I own, five shades of foundation (just incase I tan sitting in the window seat ya know), and every eye shadow palette I’ve ever purchased at Ulta. So, I check myself. I’m not going to prom; I’m not going to dinners that require extra glam. My daily, “natural” makeup routine is all that I need. Pro tip: I try to limit myself to a small cosmetics bag. If it doesn’t all fit in there, I need to consolidate more.

Packing Tip #4: Do NOT get caught up in the “What if” scenarios

If you’re like me, you probably over analyze every travel scenario possible. What if there’s a storm? Should I pack an umbrella and a rain coat? What if I have a layover? Do I need to pack another outfit? What if we go to a nice dinner? I might hate what I packed…Should I bring five backup dresses just in case?

Stop. Don’t listen to these thoughts. If you’ve made a list of the absolute essentials for your trip, you’ll be fine. If you have a layover? You can re-wear an outfit or wash an outfit at a hotel. If there’s a storm, you can grab an umbrella there. Worried about hating what you packed? That’s why you try it on before you go.

Packing for any trip is stressful, but when it’s your first work conference, it can be that much more overwhelming. I hope that by following each packing tip you’ll be able to consolidate what you really need, feel confident in what you’ve packed, and have a successful trip! What’s your favorite packing tip?!

Here’s what I packed:

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7 Comments

  1. This is a great post. I go to conferences all the time. Now I have stylish flats for walking back and forth instead of the cute heels I used to wear. And I always carry a shawl because rooms are freezing!

  2. How exciting! I love packing and planning out outfits. I do tend to think about scenarios too, which makes it difficult to limit my things haha

  3. This is me! Totally an overpacker but I love options, so I try to pack items that can be layered.

    How was the Unbounce conference? I love Unbounce and would love to hear about it!

    xo, Leanna | ChangeWithUsBlog.com

    1. So happy you can relate!

      Unbounded was great! I learned SO much about marketing and left really inspired about ways I can help improve some of my company’s marketing strategies. 🙂

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