What to Bring to BlogHer
So, are you going to BlogHer? Unsure of what you’ll need to take?
Being prepared for the BlogHer conference will help minimize some of the other jitters that attending this massive conference brings!
This will be my third BlogHer conference. And while I am no means an expert, over the past 2 years I’ve developed a strategy on what to bring. In this post, I’ll address what to pack for your time during conference sessions, keynotes, parties and exploring the expo floor.
You don’t want to be loaded down with unnecessary items because you’ll want to have your hands-free to interact with new blogger friends and brand reps.
Here’s the breakdown
Look for a nice Cross-body handbag – I’ve found that this is the best bag to carry since there’s no chance of it slipping off your shoulder. (It’s the little things that annoy me!) And, carrying a cross-body handbag lessens the chance that you will set it down and walk off without it. (Trust me, it happens – with all the excitement, it’s easy to become distracted)
The bag should be lightweight with plenty of compartments. Oh, and it should be cute and large enough to carry all the items listed below.
The stories you have heard are true. The amount of swag you’ll receive is crazy. Thankfully, there will be many reusable tote bags given away to carry all that luscious swag. But, you’ll still need your hands-free to haul those goody bags back to your hotel room.
Tablet or smart phone – My first time at blogger in 2010, I brought my MacBook Pro to the very first session and learned my lesson. My laptop was back in my hotel room (locked in the hotel safe) before lunch. I recommend bringing a laptop if you intend to blog, but leave it in your hotel room during the conference. (Personally, I rarely post while attending BlogHer. But, I still bring my laptop as a security blanket.)
I’ve found that taking notes on my tablet with a Bluetooth keyboard is the best way to go and a lot less cumbersome than a full-size laptop.
(Don’t have a tablet? Walmart has the iPad mini on sale for $299!)
In a pinch, jotting notes using the notepad app on a smart phone and/or having a small paper notebook and pen do just fine. It also helps that BlogHer records the conference sessions and makes them available online after the conference is over.
External Battery Pack for your Smart phone and/or Tablet. - Last year at BlogHer in NYC, I would have been miserable without my external battery pack! I brought it “just in case” and ended up using it every single day of the conference. I was dismayed at how fast my iPhone and iPad battery would run low and how often I found myself outside the hotel (attending meetings and parties) without access to an outlet to recharge my devices.
For a blogger, there are few things worse then being stranded without a connection to the Internet and Social Media. Not to mention, losing access to the BlogHer Conference App and your carefully detailed schedule! And even more maddening when it’s because your tablet or smartphone battery died!
Trust me on this. Carry an external battery pack.
Zomm Wireless Mobile Device Leash – This is a new addition for 2013, but after an episode (or two) of leaving my precious iPhone on a counter or a table then walking away, it’s worth $40 to keep me from panicking in front of a large group of people. I can just imagine trying to find MY iPhone in it’s silver glitter case among the thousands of iPhones at BlogHer! And a blogger without a SmartPhone? Shudder the thought!
You may have seen the Zomm Wireless Leash on Shark Tank. It connects wirelessly to your mobile phone and lets you know when you are more than 30 ft away from your device. It also works as a speakerphone. I’m attaching it to my handbag with a keyring.
Small paper notebook and pen - in a pinch this is the quickest way to jot down information. Moleskine Volant notebooks are my favorite. They have good quality paper plus they’re cute and inexpensive.
Business Cards – Lots of them. It’s common blogger etiquette that when sitting in a session/lunch/party to introduce yourself to your table-mates and exchange business cards. You’ll also need business cards to exchange with brand reps, and sometimes to enter giveaways.
Business Cards can be simple or you may choose to create a more elaborate expression of your personal style or brand. Reload your business cards when you get to your room. Carry at least 30 at any time (more if you’ll be away from your hotel room for an extended period of time)
At InkGarden get 50 FREE Business Cards - just pay shipping of about $4.50. Use Code: 50FREE for one-sided and Code: 50FREE2 for two sided cards
Small and thin wallet – Leave your regular wallet at home. All you really need to carry is about $20-$40 in small bills (for tips, cab fare, and incidentals), a credit card/ debit card, Driver License/ID, hotel room key, and your business cards. I chose a travel wallet made of fabric that I picked up at World Market. It’s slim and colorful so that I can easily see it inside my bag).
But, I’m seriously tempted to get this Kate Spade small wallet this year!
Sunglasses – This year’s BlogHer Conference in Chicago will have us traveling from the Sheraton Chicago to the McCormick Center and back again. Not to mention the possibility of off-site parties. We’ll be outdoors more this year than at previous BlogHer conferences. Be sure to pack your favorite sunglasses.
Foldable Flats – You will be walking and standing a lot at BlogHer. By all means, wear your cute shoes but keep a pair of foldable flats in your bag. (When it comes time to change out of your cute shoes, put them in one of the numerous swag bags you’ll be carrying)
There’s a vast number of styles in a wide range of price points.
Lip balm, lipstick or gloss – conference rooms are notoriously air-conditioned. Keeping your lips hydrated will give you more confidence.
Individually wrapped moist wipes – Although most activities will be inside the hotel or expo hall, you’ll be running around party to party, session to session, and expo to hotel on the shuttle. Stopping by the restroom and freshening up with moist wipes is always a quick wayto make you feel better. (I don’t carry the whole box with me, just a few of the individually wrapped towelettes).
If you’re “of-a-certain-age”, the Poise Cooling Towelettes might be the way to go (Last year, Poise was handing them out on the Expo Floor!)
Magazine fragrance sample - Just tear out the actual sample part and toss it in your wallet.
Travel brush or comb with a small mirror (or better yet, if your smart phone has a front facing camera, take a quick and discreet selfie to check your appearance!)
Colgate Wisps- After a snack or lunch it’s always a good idea to keep your breath and smile the best that it can be. You don’t want to be seen with something in your teeth
One Sheet – This is a one page document that explains your blog in one page. Think of it as a paper elevator pitch takeaway. You’ll want to include your contact information, audience demographics, and website data. (I use Google Analytics, Alexa, and Stat Counter to collect my site’s stats)
I don’t hand this one-sheet out to everyone, I only offer my one sheet to Brand Reps when the conversation goes beyond basic discussions and I feel I have made a connection. I print it out on a nice, heavy glossy cardstock. (but that’s just me)
So what have I missed? Is there an essential item that’s needed at the BlogHer Conference? I love to hear suggestions!
See you in Chicago!