Packing List for A Writing Conference - A Wandering Scribbler
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Packing List for A Writing Conference

packing list for a conference

Packing List for A Writing Conference

Last week I visited the AWP Conference on behalf of Spalding MFA Program.  In case you didn’t know, I am the Editor in Chief of Soaring, the Spalding MFA Alumni Magazine.  It was great to visit with fellow Alumni and faculty that I’ve spent a lot of time with over the past few years and meet some new people.  Now that I’m home, I wanted to put together my packing list for a writing conference in case any of you are thinking of attending one.  And actually, this isn’t just for a writing conference, this is for any conference or even that you need to travel for and be professional at.


  • Top-of your choice. (I’m not the best at giving exact family advice.)
  • Bottoms- your choice too.
  • Comfortable/warm shoes- for walking tours, getting to the conference hotel in case it’s snowy or wet.
  • Warm jogging clothes
  • Running shoes
  • One or two nicer outfits for nights out.
  • Pajamas
  • Socks
  • Underwear


  • Macbook Air- Though I could probably get along without it, I feel really lost when it’s not with me.  Definitely have an obsession.  And while I will have my blog posts ready to go beforehand, I like having the ability to check my site, make any changes, and just make word documents that are difficult or impossible on an iPhone or iPad.
  • iPhone- Besides being connected to it even worse than my laptop, I’m bringing my phone because of Sched and the great schedule system for the conference.  Instead of carrying around stacks of paper, I can access a personalized schedule on my phone.
  • Camera– For taking photos of DC, the conference, new friends, anything else.
  • All chargers
  • Earbuds- For listening to podcasts or music on the the way or when I need a moment to myself.

Networking Items

  • Business Cards- For easily handing out information.
  • Elevator Speech- Like business cards, you can easily let people know about you or your site quickly.  Make it clear and to the point.
  • Notebook- For taking notes during panels or sessions or for any other information you want to share.
  • Pens-Same, but if you would rather take notes electronically bring your laptop or tablet.
  • Knowledge of who you want to meet- this probably won’t be anything physical, but knowing about companies supporting AWP, agents or publishers you are interested in, and bloggers you want to talk to will let you have things to talk about for just small talk or something more professional.


  • Make up bag
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Contacts/Glasses
  • Face wash
  • Moisturizer
  • Body lotion
  • Body wash
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Hair products


  • Mints-To make sure you make a good, not smelly, first impression.
  • Comfortable shoulder bag- To carry what I need during the Summit without being uncomfortable.
  • Water Bottle- To make sure I drink enough water and save myself from buying some.
  • Chap Stick
  • Granola bar/ healthy snacks- For the long train ride or down time where I need a little energy I’ll have something to turn to.
  • Wet wipes- for freshening up after a long train ride.



And if you haven’t already registered, but want to attend visit the site.

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