May 15, 2015

BEA Prepared Part 4: What to Pack (and What NOT to Pack)

So, you’ve got your hands on a ticket to BEA/BookCon. You have made transportation arrangements and know where you’re staying once you get to the Big Apple. NOW WHAT?

This is my third year attending BEA, and will likely be my last. So, through a series of blog posts, I hope to impart upon you, my little grasshoppers, some insight I’ve gained over the past two years as you continue to make your plans. I’m calling this series BEA Prepared. In case you missed them, check out Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3. Today, it's time for Part 4...

So, we're now less than two weeks away from the start of BEA (WHAT????). If you're anything like me, you've already been packing in your head for about a month. But, it's now time to actually drag your suitcase out of the attic and start to think about how to pack.

Now, of course, how you pack will differ greatly depending on whether you're flying or driving to New York. But, there are a few essentials that should find their way into everyone's bags, no matter how you're getting here.

1. DO Pack: Clothes
Last year's outfits
I mean, duh. Of course you're not going to be at BEA naked. Although, that would make this the most memorable BEA EVER. So, okay - it's established. We will wear clothes. But, what kinds of clothes? For the show days, I always choose comfortable, "nice" clothing - meaning, I didn't go in denim shorts and a concert t-shirt. Keep this in mind - BEA is a madhouse. You will be getting close to a lot of people. You will be squeezing through tight spaces. You will be sitting on the floor. So, you might want to save the cute sundress with the short skirt for the after-hours parties or everyone will be getting a peek at your Wonder Woman underwear. And, trust me - tight skinny jeans aren't the best choice either.

Now, I'm betting Saturday and Sunday for BookCon, the shorts and concert t-shirt wouldn't be quite as out of place. But, for BEA, comfy khakis, twills and cottons are the way to go.

2. DO Pack: Shoes
It doesn't matter what shoes you pack - you will want to cut off your feet by the time it's all over because they hurt so bad. With that in mind, why make matters worse, right? Anything with a big heel is just asking for trouble. I love my ballet flats. I have, maybe a dozen different pair? So, that's my go-to shoe choice for BEA. 

3. DO Pack: Tote Bag With Show Day Essentials
But, for the love of Mike, only pack ONE tote bag. Because, if there's one thing you can get at any booth at BEA, it's a tote bag. But, you will need one that is your main tote - the one you arrive with, and the one you stuff with all your essentials.

In my tote, I carry:
  • My schedule - I've had nightmares about leaving this at home!
  • A plastic pouch for my swag - nothing worse than bent or torn swag
  • Tissues - in case the Ellora's Cave Men need sweat dabbed off their glistening pecs. Or, you get a runny nose. Either or. 
  • Advil - for the aforementioned aching feet or the stress headache from missing your favorite author
  • Cell phone charger and cord - so I can keep playing Candy Crush in line
  • Business cards - for sharing with new friends
  • Snacks - because, lunch? Who has time for lunch?
  • Water bottle - friends don't let friends pay $5 for a bottle of water
  • Wallet - for tipping the bag-watching ladies and for buying some fro-yo 
  • Lanyard - last year, BEA didn't provide lanyards for your badge. The year before they did. I'm bringing on just in case. 

4. DON'T Pack: Books or E-reader
You would think this would be self-explanatory. But, no. I thought about bringing my Kindle the first year. I was so glad I chose not to. I would've worried about leaving it lay or having it stolen. It would've prevented me from talking to people around me, and that's just fun. And, you're getting all these awesome new books! If you want to read while in line, pick one of them. You will already have so much to bring home with you - don't add to your problem.

5. DON'T Pack: A Laptop
I had loft goals of doing blog posts in my hotel room at the end of each day. PPPFFTTHHT. After the craziness that is BEA, and then the after-BEA shenanigans, the absolute LAST thing I wanted to do when I finally got back to the hotel room was screw around on my computer. I wanted to fondle my new books, get into PJs, and go to sleep.

So, what do you think? Is your packing problem any clearer? Anything you think should be added to this list? I'd love to hear from you!


LRAtRandom said...

You crack me up. Tissues for the elloras cave dudes! Lol.

Loved the Wonder Woman book reference too!

But seriously, great list!!

Unknown said...

I love your funny...yet so true. :)

Kel said...

I've seen a lot of people advising an external power charger, too, so you don't have to track down and/or stay tied to an outlet. Great list!