This post uses affiliate links.
Alt Summit week continues here on Blogging It Forward! Can you tell I’m excited? I went to Alt Summit for the first time last year, which now makes me a total pro at all things Alt. Well, maybe not (definitely not), but I did learn a thing or two! I packed a lot of things I didn’t really need and I needed a lot of things I didn’t pack! So I compiled this list of things you do and don’t need to bring to Alt Summit, in the hopes it will help some first timers.
You do not need to bring your …
Laptop – Strangely enough, a blogging conference is a good place to unplug. I brought my iPad but I left it in the hotel and just jotted down some notes before bed. Otherwise I took all my notes in a notepad so I would feel more present. You stare at your laptop screen all day, every day … it will feel good to take notes the old fashioned way for a few days! The only exception is if you are participating in a Design Camp or a Round Table that requires a laptop, such as the sessions about Photoshop or Illustrator!
DSLR – I brought my DSLR last year because I thought I could get some practicing done, and I did on Saturday during the photography tour. But carrying it around to the sessions every day was a waste! It’s just so much easier to use my phone. Plus, at the parties, you’re mingling, passing out business cards, eating and drinking … if only we had five or six hands! So if you’re only a casual DSLR user, I would leave the bulky camera at home or at the very least in your hotel room during the day.
Media Kit – A question I see a lot is, “Should I bring print outs of my Media Kit to give to sponsors?” The basic answer is – NO! It’s just an extra thing to carry around that isn’t really necessary. Instead, tell your new sponsor friend that you’ll be in touch via email when you get back home, then make a note on their card or flyer to remind you. The exception is if you already have been in touch with a sponsor and you have made special arrangements to bring them your Media Kit. Otherwise, just focus on your business cards and elevator pitch!
Tote bag – I predict there will be a million free tote bags from sponsors, so you don’t really need to bring your own bag! You can if you really want to. I did, because I have a special tote bag with clear pockets where I keep my business cards.
You do need to bring your …
Notepad and a couple pens – If you take my advice and jot notes by hand, be sure you bring a notebook with lots of pages, some kind of bookmark to keep track of where you left off (I love Post-It tabs for this), and a couple pens.
External phone battery and two phone chargers – If you use your phone a ton (like I do), you should get some kind of external battery extender. I use this one by Kensington for my iPhone 4S and iPad. This one by Anker seems to work with iPhone 5 and most smartphones. And why TWO phone chargers? One to leave in the hotel and one to take with you during the day, in case you need to do a quick recharge in between sessions.
Business cards – Exchanging business cards at Alt is like drinking water – totally natural and necessary. Bring lots! I ordered 400 … I’m feeling extra sociable this year.
Snacks – I have some food allergies so I put a couple power bars in my purse to tide me over until lunch time, just in case I couldn’t eat the snacks provided.
Comfortable shoes – I know, I know … you want to wear the cute shoes that pinch your feet if you walk more than 10 steps. That’s okay. My advice is to wear comfortable shoes during the day, and go crazy with your cute heels at the evening parties.
Extra travel bag – I received sooo much swag last year, I wish I had brought an extra empty travel bag for all of it! At the very least, keep this in mind when you’re packing and make sure you have some extra space for all the goodies you’ll be bringing home.
Warm jacket – Even if you’re staying at the conference host hotel, you WILL be outside at some point and you WILL need a heavy jacket. The conference session and the parties all have a coat check (unattended clothing rack) available. I even left my snow boots at the coat check during the evening parties.
Ear plugs – If you’re sharing a room with a new friend or you’re a light sleeper, you may want to bring some ear plugs! I’m a very light sleeper, every kind of noise wakes me up. Discovering ear plugs changed my life.
If you have attended Alt Summit before, what would you add to the list?