So Xerocon 2019 is just around the corner. Two days in Brisbane for the conference and a cheeky extra day at the end (to work of course). Well it is going to be 27 degrees all week so why wouldn’t I take time to enjoy the sun?. But what are my “must have” items to pack for a two day conference?

I travel to about 3-4 conferences every single year, plus I used to be a tour guide in Europe so travelling, packing light and not bringing useless crap is my middle name (well obviously not literally).

But it doesn’t stop me from packing a few “weird items” but for me they are essential, or maybe they are just habit now. Who knows.

For weekends away overseas, I would only take carry on luggage, as I just didn’t want to waste time waiting for my bags at the luggage carousel when I had a new country to explore.

Now whilst travelling to a tech/accounting conference is slightly different, you don’t need to take the whole kitchen sink with you. Some things can be left behind but there are also some must haves that I simply can’t travel without.

  1. Noise cancelling headphones. Now this may seem weird to have at a conference, but they are not for the actual conference itself, they are for the plane as I like to get an hours kip on the plane. I could read a book, I could watch a tv show, I could play games on my phone, I could respond to emails – but really, I just want to shut out everything and have one hour of peace. As a mum, I know that screaming kids on a plane are inevitable, but noise cancelling headphones avoids most of that. Plus if you don’t like talking to strangers, they are the perfect excuse not to have to speak to whoever sits next to you. I also find these really handy to use at my hotel to help me get in the zone when I am working. It removes distractions and tells me “that it is work time now”.
  2. A power board. What, you didn’t realise that I moonlighted as an electrician? Nope – I don’t. However, I often don’t stay at the best, most expensive hotels #tightarse. And for some hotels the power points and usb chargers for phones and ipads are almost non existent. So instead I take a 4 outlet power board which has two usb chargers in built to the power board. Now I can charge my phone, my laptop, my ipad and my portable charging device all at once.
  3. A tupperware container. Ok – so this #mumhack has been around for donkeys ages. But it is so good I have to share it again. At conferences there is often enough food left over to feed a small African nation. And I hate seeing food go to waste. And as mentioned earlier I often stay at cheap hotels which don’t have breakfast included. So, after everyone has eaten and before staff take the food away to probably throw out, I stash a little extra in my tupperware container. Not only great for breakfast, but even better for when I get the munchies after hitting the after parties to soak up some of the alcohol.
  4. Rocktape & ScissorsOK, so if you have ever had sporting injury you might know what Rocktape is. It is kinesiology tape used to tape body part to help recover from injury but still give you the level of movement you need. The stuff is magic. Now I am not anticipating pulling a muscle at Xerocon (although the dance floor does get a mean workout). But I can use this tape for all kinds of things. It can be to prevent or cover blisters on my feet, it can be to cover the top of my shampoo/conditioner bottles, it can be used to “fix the girls” when wearing my dress to the gala dinner. The list of uses really is quite endless and has saved me from a few wardrobe malfunctions over the time (Janet Jackson are you listening?).
  5. Bobby pin. No, I am not that vain that I carry a bobby pin to fix my hair (I mean my hair and the Brisbane humidity will never be friends and a bobby pin ain’t going to fix that). But I use a bobby pin to pick locks (in a good way – not in a “end up in jail” way). Ever since my tour guide days, we would have about 2 passengers each trip that would have a few drinks, lock their suitcase and have no idea where their key was to unlock the suitcase the next day. You would be surprised how the humble bobby pin comes into play. They all thought I was a superstar. Maybe I have just watched too many magician shows to learn secret tricks.

So there you have it, my random yet essential items I bring with me to conferences. Sure I could go on about the “only bring 3 pairs of shoes, or take a capsule wardrobe, or pack once take half out then pack again” rules – but they are boring.

Packing for a conference is like solving a puzzle. I have my essentials, then I have my “what could save my arse” items for the next three days. If you get the mix right and can still carry your own bag, you have packed well.

See you on the dancefloor!

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Stacey Price is a Chartered Accountant, BAS Agent and self confessed numbers nerd.

Founder of Healthy Business Finances , wanting to revamp the perception of the “traditional accountant” and share her love of numbers with anyone who will listen.