For the longest time, I would zip my suitcase shut only to have my chest clench and my stomach drop. I knew I’d forgotten something necessary for my travels…but I no idea what. Sound familiar?
Last night I packed up for my first American Christian Fiction Writers’ (ACFW) Conference in Dallas, TX. For three days, I’ll be surrounded by industry professionals and other hopefuls in a conference designed, in part, to make or break new authors. No pressure. I have to be poised and ready to pitch at any moment to any one. This is not the time to forget my hairbrush.
So I employed the help of my awesome husband and his worry-free packing method to help me prepare for success.
- Start with the most important stuff–passport, driver’s license, tickets, money. These are the things you cannot make it off the ground without, so they need to be the first things you pack.
- Rundown each day from morning to night and immediately pack all the things you need for that day. For example, here’s the rundown of my day one. Morning (plane): Wrinkle resistant dress, sandals, headphones, things to do. Afternoon: Black heels, briefcase pre-packed with proposals as well pens, ibuprofen, and lipgloss. Night: PJs, toothbrush, makeup removing wipes, etc. Going through the day step-by-step will ensure you don’t miss a thing.
- Pack a day’s back up in your carry-on, including an extra pair of underwear and your toothbrush (don’t pack your toothpaste they’ll take that from you at security). As a word of caution: More and more often airlines are checking your carry-ons at the gate, so a rule of thumb for traveling: Don’t bring what you can’t live with losing. You never know what will happen on the plane or during your travels, so if it’s irreplaceable, you’d be wise to leave it at home.
- Make your own “facebook.” When I am preparing for a conference, I make a document or set of index cards with the name, picture, and pertinent information of the key people I need to meet, such as the company they’re from, relevant business history, and when possible, a mutual point of interest to get the conversation going.
- Be über organized. Organized is not my natural state… Organized chaos maybe. But for conference I fly against my natural tendencies. My notes and proposals are color coded and alphabetized. Everything is labeled and easily visible, so that I can pull out the necessary information within seconds of running into the right person. Such organization will leave an impression of professionalism and takes the weight off of you in the heat of the moment.
I was still hesitant to leave the house this morning, but more out of habit than because I think I actually forgot something. Now my bags are ready, though I don’t know if I’ll ever be!
What do you usually forget when you pack? Do you have any methods for remembering the essentials? Do you lay out for weeks in advance or do you throw everything in the morning of? What’s your funniest packing mishap?