Cloudy with a megaphone next to text that says "Must-Have Items to Pack for a Conference."

5 Must-Have Items to Pack for a Conference


If you’re like me, then it’s probably been a while since you last attended an in-person conference. As many of us prepare for upcoming conferences like TrailblazerDX, Salesforce World Tours, or Community Dreamin’ events, I wanted to share a few things to consider when packing for a day of connecting and learning!

1. Comfortable footwear

Footwear can truly make or break your day at a conference. Busy event days are not the time to break in new shoes or wear uncomfortable ones. I love a platform or “cushy” sneaker like these Nike Air Force 1s. The platform sole provides some extra cushion against a concrete floor. Whatever shoes you pack, make sure you’ll be comfortable walking and standing in them for 12 hours. If you want to go the extra mile and make your own custom pair of kicks, check out Trailhead leader and part-time bedazzler Chris Duarte’s guide to bedazzling your own conference sneakers.

2. A smartly-packed bag

Do you really need to bring your laptop? Are you sure? If you aren’t presenting or working while at a conference, I suggest leaving your laptop and bringing only the essentials. However, if you need to bring it, pack smart. Empty everything out of your bag and then pack only the items you’ll need during the day. I love a backpack for days I’m traveling or attending a conference—look for padded straps and room to store essentials. I leave my business card in the front pocket of my backpack in case it gets separated from me at an event. Wirecutter has some recommendations for the best laptop backpacks. Of course, a Salesforce conference is also the perfect time to show off your vintage Dreamforce backpack!

3. Healthy snacks

We go to conferences to learn, connect, and network. Packing snacks and water in your bag allows you to focus on your experience. You don’t want to miss a great session because you had to get in line for lunch. I always bring a few snacks with protein. If you’re staying at a hotel and unable to pack a lunch, Starbucks is a great one-stop shop to pick up some bars, nuts, and a sandwich box before you enter the conference. A few of my favorite high-energy snacks are from RXBAR, Hu Kitchen, and Honey Stinger. Now that you have snacks covered, don’t forget to hydrate! Recirculated air dehydrates you (it really can!) so it’s extra important to keep water accessible. Most conferences have refillable water stations, so pack a reusable water bottle.

4. Connected tech

Of course, you’ll bring your phone, but don’t forget to pack the other items you need to stay connected! You can always bring a wall charger, but my favorite conference tool is a battery pack that doubles as a wall charger. My favorite small battery pack can serve as both a USB charging block and its own battery pack if you can’t grab a session seat near an outlet. There are tons of battery options available, but make sure to bring a charged one in your pack so you can keep learning all day (and not miss any conference tweets!). If you like taking notes on your phone, decide on your notes tool/method before the event. I like to use Quip to take notes for each session, and I keep a private Quip folder for the conference. I also keep a running Quip doc of “general notes and to-dos” for an event, where I jot down personal notes about things I want to look up or complete after I leave the conference.

5. Paper tech

Many of us use our phones to take notes or snap pictures of valuable slides. In some scenarios, you may not want to use your phone, though. Maybe you’re recording part of a session for your notes, or you’re low on battery, or you want to jot down notes to give to someone. A notebook and pen always come in handy. A small notebook like this is easy to stash in your bag or pocket, and the elastic and inside pocket make it an easy place to store extra cards (and new character stickers!) as you collect them.

I hope this list will help you have a fun and productive event!


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