10 Conference Packing Essentials

Education conferences are a rite of passage. Often incredible but always exhausting, the experience can be easier if you remember these important items. From staving off headaches to keeping your phone out of the red, here are our top items […]

Education conferences are a rite of passage. Often incredible but always exhausting, the experience can be easier if you remember these important items. From staving off headaches to keeping your phone out of the red, here are our top items for keeping stress at bay. With these babies on hand, all you have to worry about is how your students are faring with the sub.

external-charger

 

1. External charger

This affordable battery pack from Intocircuit will keep your phone and laptops charged, even when all the outlets in the back of the breakout room or at the airport are in use. The two USB ports can charge two devices simultaneously and it holds enough juice to charge your phone three to five times. 

charger-cord-tags

2. Charger cord tags

Labels are not just for students’ jackets and teachers’ desk staplers! These sleek and cheap tags will keep you from mistaking your iPad cord for the Kindle’s, and they’ll also keep other conference attendees from grabbing your precious cords by mistake.

tip-apps

3. Bill-splitting apps

Group restaurant dinners at conferences are a blast … until it comes time to settle the bill. Make it as painless as possible with our two fave (and free!) bill apps. Splitwise makes it a cinch for one person to put the bill on her card and then send the other diners an e-invoice. The other diners can then pay her back via PayPal (and easily be reminded electronically if they are forgetful). iTunes’s Tip Calculator app also makes dividing a bill and adding a gratuity easy as pie. 

biz-cards

4. Business cards
Just because your district does not provide cards is no reason not to have these time-tested tools for networking. Besides, you can order the coolest ones when you choose your own design. We are in love with Moo’s Mini Cards which are sleek and stylish. 

padded laptop sleeve

5. Padded laptop sleeve

There is no need to schlep a laptop bag and a purse when you attend a conference. Simply slip your laptop into a protective padded sleeve, making your favorite large bag or tote conference- and computer-perfect. 

zip-top-tote

6. Tote with a zip top for women

In need of a new tote? Choose one that has a zipper up top so valuables do not spill out and is large enough for your laptop (see #5). We are impressed with this roomy, on-point reversible tote from Zara

laptop-backpack

7. Laptop backpack for men

We agree that your beat-up old backpack has vintage charm, but for conferences, a professional look gives you an edge. Find a refined shape with space for your laptop, like this Slimline Backpack from Mobile Edge

 swag-bag

8. Compact foldable tote for swag

Heading to a conference known for its amazing expo floor and swag? No need to pack your two days’ worth of outfits into a massive suitcase. Simply slip in an extra takes-up-no-room foldable tote. It will expand to hold all the T-shirts, water bottles and books you desire. 

pill caddy

9. Headache relief 

What is it about conferences that brings on a pounding head? Save yourself the search for a gift shop and super-expensive two-pill envelopes and pack your own relief. We recommend filling these compact pill caddies.  

 foldable-flats

10. Foldable flats

It is easy to be optimistic about shoe comfort at the continental break-out session. But by the cocktail keynote, your dogs may be barking. Tuck these foldable flats in your tote for some sole-ful relief, or check out these additional comfortable shoes for teachers

What are your must-have items for conferences? Share in the comments! 

Posted by Jessica McFadden

Jessica McFadden is a writer, blogger and parent living in the Washington, DC suburbs. A daughter of a teacher and a member of a family of teachers, she is happily at home interviewing teachers, principals and education specialists.

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