The 5 Things Every Mom Needs to Take to a Conference

There have been some years where I have gone to no less than 6 conferences.  Usually, I go because I'm speaking, or very interested in the topics being taught.  Either way, I have gotten my packing and preparing down to an art.  Most of it depends on packing 5 essential items:

1.  Your wallet and ID.  You can't board a plane without an ID, and you can't buy anything without your wallet.  I always insist that Moms bring some form of plastic payment (even if it's a prepaid debit card) so that you can pay for anything you lose or leave behind.  (I actually left every shirt I packed to a big conference across the country. I only had pants, and that credit card was a lifesaver!)

2.  Business cards.  They don't always have to be expensive; UPrinting business cards will do just fine.  Make sure that you include your name, Twitter handle, website, and email, so that others know how to get a hold of you.  If you can include your logo or a photo of yourself, it will help others remember you when they sort through a stacks of business cards after the conference.

3.  An extra bag.  Even if you are cheap and don't check a bag on your flight to the conference, you will want to bring a flexible (or even foldable) cloth bag for the trip home.  Some conferences load you down with swag or other items, and you don't want to be stuck with no way to safely transport the gear!

4.  A Camera.  If you choose to bring along your expensive DSLR, make sure your insurance covers it in the case of theft or loss.  Otherwise, a simple point-and-shoot or even your phone's camera will help you document the people you meet and places you see (making for great blog posts later!)

5.  A great attitude.  Conferences can be scary, even for a seasoned professional.  You never know who you will meet, or what may come from the, however, so it helps to approach them with an "anything is possible" mindset.  Some of my most amazing experiences have occurred at conferences!

Do you attend conferences?  What do you never leave home without?

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