The Definitive Guide to Packing for #BlogHer13

OK, so the title of this blog post might be a bit presumptuous.

Does going to my very first BlogHer conference last year in New York make me an expert on packing for the event?

Probably not. But I’m a practical girl, and I thought I’d throw my advice out into the blogosphere as we get closer to the big event in Chicago.

You know, because there aren’t any other bloggers writing about BlogHer ’13 right now.

For what it’s worth, here’s my two cents on packing for BlogHer ’13:

I think this picture was taken on the last day of BlogHer '12. I had bangs. And wore comfy clothes and shoes.

I think this picture was taken on the last day of BlogHer ’12. I had bangs. And wore comfy clothes and shoes.

1. Pack enough clothes for the amount of time you are leaving.

People tend to stress out about what to wear to BlogHer. Unless you’re a fashion blogger, I wouldn’t worry too much about your attire. Wear clothes that define who you are, not who you want people to think you are. I’m not big into shoes or the lastest designers. Last year, I had t-shirts made with my blog url on the front and twitter handle on the back. I was comfortable. It was fine. You might want to bring a sweater in case it gets cool in the air conditioned hotel and something a bit dressy for evening events.

2. Bring business cards.

Or not. Honestly, if you don’t have the time or the money to print out business cards for your blog, don’t stress. I have a stack of business cards from last year that just sat on my desk for months after the event. I got so many, I was overwhelmed. I recently went to a conference for entrepreneurs with a woman who told people that she forgot her business cards. That gave her control over who she would interact with after the event. She made notes about people on the business cards she collected so she knew how to follow up later. Genius. I still have some business cards, stickers and magnets from last year that I’m taking, just in case.

3. Have something handy for taking notes.

There are tons of great panels, roundtables, presentations and workshops at BlogHer, not to mention the random conversations you have with other bloggers. You’ll want to take notes at some point. My iPad and wireless keyboard worked pretty well for me last year. I’d suggest taking a laptop and your own hotspot, if you have one,  if you’re planning on live blogging. There were 5,000 bloggers using the same wifi last year. It wasn’t pretty. Of course, you can go old school with a simple pen and notebook. Whatever floats your boat. If you’re like me, you’ll forget half the stuff you learned at BlogHer before you step on the plane to go home. Notes are handy!

4. Snacks will help you get through the long days.

There’s a lot going on at BlogHer from morning until evening. I’m a picky eater, and I like to eat every couple of hours or so. While BlogHer does feed you, there aren’t exactly snacks laying around when you want them. And the food isn’t always what you want. (Though you can probably find some good, free eats in the sponsor exhibition area.) I like having some sort of granola / energy bar or trail mix in my bag for sustenance in between activities or for that late evening snack.

5. Leave room in your luggage for swag.

The BlogHer conference is known for its massive amounts of swag from the many sponsors that attend. Whatever you’ve heard is true. The sponsors are amazingly generous to bloggers. Last year, I left with everything from a Hot Wheels car to a vibrator. Leave extra room in your suitcase so you don’t have to explain the random items in your carry-on bag.

That's a big bag of swag.

That’s a big bag of swag.

6. Arrive with a basic plan of attack.

I’m a planner, and there’s a lot going on for three days. Last year, I printed out the agenda for the conference and noted the breakout sessions I wanted to attend and the sponsors I wanted to visit. I had a basic schedule in mind before I got to New York. Of course, you also want to be flexible. You might find a blogger or group of bloggers you want to connect with instead of going to a session. You might opt to network with some of the many sponsors exhibiting. Or you might just want to disappear for a little while and take in the city of Chicago. It’s your experience. Enjoy it.

7. Don’t forget to bring an open mind.

BlogHer is a big conference. It’s hard not to be overwhelmed with everything going on around you. With thousands of bloggers in one place, just know that there are bound to be a few bloggers that are just like you there. My most memorable experiences last year were the conversations I had with other bloggers. The ones I still keep in touch with a year later. The connections are all around you. Be open to them!

Will I see you at BlogHer ’13? What are you packing?

[Read my recap of BlogHer 2012]

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  1. I wish I was going and reading you post makes me wish I was going even more! Next year!!
    Michelle recently posted..LOCK IN Peace of Mind from Appliance Repairs with EquityLock® Protector {Giveaway}My Profile

  2. Thanks, Jennifer. I am a newbie BlogHer attendee and worrying about what to wear during the day and then at night. I hate worrying about clothing, but there it is. Agh!

    I hope to meet you at some point in those 3 days. How will I ever find you amid 5,000 bloggers?

    Enjoy and safe travels,
    Cathy Chester recently posted..Wordless Wednesday: South Beach/Miami Celebrates American Freedom All Year RoundMy Profile

    • I remember last year feeling so much pressure about what to wear. Until I read a couple of other bloggers’ posts and tweets about just being yourself. It was fine that I wasn’t all dressed up.

      So excited that you’ll be in Chicago! I found the easiest way to find people was to text. Email me your phone number when you get a chance!
      anotherjennifer recently posted..Philanthropy Friday (rewind): VOS FlipsMy Profile

  3. I was afraid this was going to be a fashion-based post and was happy to see it wasn’t focused on that. I don’t care what other attendees wear and think a lot of people waste time worrying about what clothes to bring. Your advice was spot on. I wear comfortable clothes (capris, jeans, or slacks) during the day and summer dresses at night WITH comfortable shoes always.

    Hope to meet you there!
    Kay Lynn recently posted..Fitbloggin’ 2013: Nutrilite Trout Lake FarmMy Profile

  4. P.S. I want to doubledown on your advice about snacks. Have something with you. Sometimes I forgot to slow down enough to eat.

  5. A vibrator? Seriously?? That is funny! I wish I was going. Having just been to my first conference, although much smaller, I think these are great tips for all of these types of events. Especially the snacks and sweater!
    Alexa recently posted..Friday Fiction (Rewind) – Where we BeganMy Profile

  6. Useful packing tips, Jennifer!

  7. Out of all the things on my list, I didn’t have snacks! Sheesh! And that’s the most important thing! At least for me. My business cards are on order. I may go with pen and paper this time, since my laptop was cumbersome at bloggy boot Camp. I love your list – although I’m sure I’ll pick your brain more before the big weekend.
    Ilene recently posted..The B SidesMy Profile

  8. These are great tips, and I’m really sad to be missing it this year. Next year is my year, I suppose. Snacks and business cards are so important!
    Tamara recently posted..I Am Number Four.My Profile

  9. One of these days, Im going to one of these! Maybe when it’s in Chicago again. Have fun and great tips!
    Tess recently posted..Tuesday ThingsMy Profile

  10. Not going – I’m not at that level yet but it sounds like fun!!! Take lots of pictures and schmooze schmooze schmooze!!
    Krystal recently posted..Different, not lessMy Profile

  11. I am currently sobbing uncontrollably right now…. it is KILLING ME that I am not going. :(
    Chris Carter recently posted..Devotional Diary: PrayerMy Profile

  12. I need to remember snacks! Otherwise I’ll be a grouch! When I went to Bloggy Boot Camp, I regretting not bringing my laptop, but there is an advantage to a good ol’ pad of paper and a pencil. I plan on bringing both this time!

    • I’m a total grouch without snacks. I usually have a big water bottle with me as well. Last year, I left it in one of the rooms. Luckily there’s usually water scattered about the hotel.

      My problem with pen and paper is that I can never read my writing!

      I hope to see you in Chicago, Ginny Marie.

  13. I’m stressing about comfortable shoes and I’ve now added snacks to that list.

    • Snacks are so key, as others have noted. And if I don’t have comfy shoes, my back starts hurting after a while if I’m walking around a lot. I’m like an old lady!

  14. Fantastic post!! Great tips for any conference.
    Man, I wish I was going to BlogHer! But I’m pinning this post for next year when I *hope* I can go!!
    And you looked so cute with your bangs!! :) –Lisa
    The Dose of Reality recently posted..Dosepocalypse: It’s Worse Than Living In A Sorority HouseMy Profile

  15. Hi Jen, I’m not going but I figured you’d gone before based of the title of your post and I just wanted to hear what you had to say about it. It seems so huge. I am not really good with large crowds so this doesn’t appeal to me. I would like to go mingle with some friends and talk to sponsors though.
    Joi @ Rx Fitness Lady recently posted..Why I Think Everyone Should Take a VacationMy Profile

    • I’m not a fan of big crowds either. My family came with me last year to NYC. We made a vacation out of the trip. It was nice to leave the conference and see them at the end of the day. This year, I’m lucky to have a roommate that feels the same way about these big events. I’m sure I’ll find down time to just talk to other bloggers and sponsors and maybe take a walk around Chicago.

  16. I can’t make it this year but will keep these suggestions for next year. I’m going to follow your plan to register in Nov. for the early bird pricing! Have fun! I’m looking forward to reading about your experience!
    Mo at Mocadeaux recently posted..The Sassy New MeMy Profile

  17. Thanks for the tips!
    Pinned this to my “Travel tips” Pinterest board.
    Laura recently posted..Aircraft Desktop PicMy Profile

  18. Great post! I think I have worried too much about what I “should” be wearing, but as I’m not a fashion blogger, I’m going to wear what I would usually wear (and focus instead of what Linkouture jewelry to wear!) I look forward to meeting you there!!
    Bev recently posted..A Fantastic Opportunity to Support the ArtsMy Profile

  19. You will absolutely see me at BlogHer! I hope we’re able to finally meet :-) I have business cards… and that is about it. Hey, I’ll be glad to show up without food stains on me thanks to the boys.
    Jennifer recently posted..Duchess Kate, We Need to Talk Mom to MomMy Profile

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