Conference Packing: What’s in YOUR suitcase?

suitcase of memoriesThe FGS conference in Fort Wayne, Indiana is about a month away. I am leaving for GRIP this Saturday. I will be going on a research trip to Salt Lake City in September. My summer travel plans are ticking by. Regardless, I do have a checklist for what to bring to any given event that’s genealogy related.

  1. Bring a sweater. I don’t know about you but even though it might be 90 degrees and 99 percent humidity outside, being inside can sometimes be like the arctic. For that matter it can also be 90 degrees and humid. My point being bring a sweater and dress in layers. There is nothing more miserable that being too hot or too cold. Be prepared.
  2. I have a small zipper pouch of essential office supplies: sticky notes, sticky flags, pens (1 ball point and a few colored felt-tipped), pencils, a few paperclips, highlighters (I prefer yellow), etc. I don’t use this as much as I used to, but I am one of those people who write in the books that I buy so I use these items a lot.
  3. Business cards. I will be milling about with fellow genealogists and potential clients, so it’s important to have some cards on hand at all times.
  4. I used to always bring my laptop, but since I got a blue tooth keyboard for my iPad, I am loving the lightweight portability of just carrying around a small bag rather than my backpack or rolling suitcase. (Don’t forget the chargers for all of the electronic devices!) When going on a research trip, I make sure that I have all of my files synced with my iPad, mainly my latest Reunion file. I also put all of my travel itineraries, hotel, air, car reservations in Evernote, which syncs to my iPad/iPhone.
  5. Pre-planned list of the programs I wish to attend. I will copy the syllabus to my iPad to have with me at the lectures. I have a .pdf viewing app that allows me to highlight and make notes right on the syllabus pages. No more need to print them out ahead of time, only to realize you printed the wrong pages, or carry around the giant books they used to give out at conferences.
  6. Leave extra suitcase space for the books you might buy and the free swag you will pick up.

Of course, the above list is in addition to all of the socks, undies, t-shirts, shorts/pants, and toothbrushes needed to have an enjoyable trip. Good reading material is a plus as well. I usually have the latest NGSQ or other genealogy book with me for the plane ride. I hope to see you at FGS or any of the other amazing genealogical conferences and institutes available throughout the year.

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