Oh yeah. Put on the music. Make a cocktail. It's countin' down to RWA Nationals time. I'm a little giddy about it and I think it's because the convention is going to be in San Diego, California this year, where there will be sun, sea and perfect SoCal weather. I've only been to San Diego once before, about 13 years ago and I loved it so much, I still ask my husband (on yucky North Texas days) if we could sell everything we own and go live in a cardboard box on Coronado.
After a totally brilliant planning lunch with my roomie, Alexandra Haughton
(who also has a great packing list here
), I thought I'd share some packing tips for first timers and repeaters alike.
Put Something On
Clothes. You need clothes. The slightly difficult thing about packing for RWA is that it's a business conference which could also require clothes for karaoke, for yoga, tea parties or for a late-night plotting in the bar session. The convention ends with a fancy awards party (so I've heard - this will be my first time to attend the RITA/ Golden Heart ceremony
) which requires at least a fancy set of shoes and Spanx and, in San Diego, one might want to be prepared for pool/ boat/ beach activities. This variety is a challenge for someone like me, who prefers to be a light packer.
So... good luck with that! The basics I won't leave behind?
My Pajama Philosophy - Many moons ago, I was watching the news and saw a hotel burning down. All the guests were standing in the parking lot and I remember thinking, "I never want to be that girl in the thong that the firemen have to wrap up in a blanket." Since then, I never sleep in a hotel in pajamas that can't be worn on a city street. Don't say, "wow, Linds, that's some overactive imagination you have" because guess what. Three years ago on a business trip the fire alarm went off at the hotel I was staying at. There I was, in the hotel parking lot (with my business colleagues, no less) feeling quite smug in a perfectly acceptable ensemble of yoga pants, tee shirt and hoodie. Be prepared for anything. Like the zombie apocalypse.
My Shoe Philosophy - I love cute shoes as much as y'all but this is not the place to try 'em out for the first time. Cute AND comfortable, broken in shoes are where its at.
My Cardigan Theory - Conventional wisdom says "always bring a cardigan" because hotels are often cold. This is one theory I rebel against. I always feel that if I dress appropriately for the climate, I will be fine. Also, I live in Texas and I've never met an air-conditioner I didn't like. BUT... since we'll be in San Diego where it might get a tad cooler in the evenings, I probably will bring a cardigan. But I won't like it.
Get in Mah Belly
After clothing, the next most important item is food. Yes, I've heard there is food in San Diego and much of it is available to purchase. Rest assured, I'm not carting Yeti coolers
of groceries to the Marriott Marquis. But I always bring along snacks when I travel for business, such as:
With just these snacks, I can put together a quick lunch between workshops, a mid-afternoon introvert snack break, or avoid airport food. I also share with new friends. Come find me if you're hungry.
Like I said, RWA Nationals is a business conference. So don't forget the following:
Ipad/ computer/ kindle
chargers/ cords (fitbit too! You will get your steps in!)
pens/ business cards
planner/ journal/ notebook
pins from previous conferences to adorn your badge
I Woke Up Like This
Everyone talks about the "Conference Crud" or has stories about that time someone got a mysterious illness at RT Convention which almost started the zombie apocalypse. In my day to day life, I try to stay healthy with a lot of water, supplements, a consistent skin care routine and sufficient sleep. Even though I know I won't get the latter in San Diego, I'll still be trying my hardest to stay healthy (and gorgeous) with the following:
mug or reusable water bottle
(although someone usually gives these out as swag if you want to gamble and collect one in the Goody Room)
flat iron & hairspray
cosmetics, small bottle of perfume, sunscreen
whatever hair care/ skin care I can't live without
Bag It Up
Usually conference goers receive a tote bag filled with swag. This year they're changing up the swag delivery protocol so who knows what will be given out. For form and function, I always prefer my own sturdy nylon tote, such as my favorite Longchamp with BOTH beer stains and coffee stains (that's how you know a writer owns it). My normal handbag is super cute and all, but in the conference I'll be loading up with free books, notepads, almonds and enough water to survive the zombie apocalypse so I usually carry only a tote until its time to go to dinner or a party and I can switch to a smaller clutch or cross-body (still make sure it's big enough for your business cards! You meet awesome people everywhere!)
I hope this helps you think of a few more essentials to pack. I'm sorry if you're' over the airline's weight limit. If you want to yell at me, follow me on Twitter at @lindsay_emory
. I'll be signing books at the literacy signing
and I'll be tweeting with the hashtag #RWA16 and #whatareyoudrinking. I'd love to meet you and hang out!