Less than a week until the Big Show of blogging! BlogHer13 is in Chicago next week with the specialty sessions like PathFinder and HealthMinder on Thursday and the main conference on Friday and Saturday.
This is about the time I freak out about BlogHer. Here are my top 5 tips for getting ready and heading off the panic attack. This weekend is a great time to make sure you take care of the little details to ensure your time in Chicago goes smoothly.
Your Travel Itinerary
Double-check your flight times and hotel reservation details. Prevent any unpleasant surprises! Also, if you are sharing a room, make sure your roommates’ names are on the reservation. If they arrive before you, they won’t be shut out.
This happened to me last year at Bloggy Boot Camp. My friend Susan had to get a hot stone massage in the hotel spa until I arrived. It could have been worse. but still.
If you are taking the train or a plane in, connect with other attendees on Twitter or Facebook to share a ride to your hotel.
The key to BlogHer is comfort. If you don’t have shoes yet, think about if you can get a new pair broken in this week. There’s always the socks-and-a-hairdryer trick. If you have new shoes, have them on your feet every possible minute this week before you leave.
I always pack a shoe-mergency kit: a little makeup bag with bandages, moleskin, gel pads, etc. One of my favorite products is a little stick of Friction Block from Band-Aid. Keep these things in your handbag. Your feet will thanks me.
You are likely to get several tote bags at BlogHer13. You will get branded totes as swag and with swag.
Because of the abundance of big carryalls, I use a smaller handbag during the conference hours. I prefer a cross-body bag so my hands are free.
My cutest is a Kate Spade, but my most useful is a small, cloth cross-body messenger bag from ThirtyOne Gifts.
I’ve seen inexpensive bags in a similar style at Target. Essentials for your bag include a small wallet, your phone and charger, mints or gum, business cards, powder and lipstick, a pen and small notebook, and your little emergency kit.
My bag fits my iPad, which I use during the day instead of a laptop, and in a pinch to take photos and video.
For evening events, I like a little wristlet big enough for phone, cash and credit card, lipstick, and business cards. Needless to say, never leave your bag to save your seat at a meal or party.
Pack light on the way in. Plan outfits that can go from day to night if you won’t have time to change completely. A wrap dress can be a great casual day look with a light cardigan or denim jacket (it can be cold in the conference area), and move into night with just a change of shoes, accessories, and lipstick.
I like to freshen up and change clothes for dinner and parties, so to travel light I like to pack shoes and accessories that can go with several outfits. Keeping your wardrobe in the same tone or color palate can give you maximum versatility.
I travel in my heaviest items like jeans and boots so they don’t take up prime suitcase real estate. Knits travel the best and take up the least room.
Your Swag Plan
You will get more free stuff than you can even hope to bring home. Before you leave the conference, sort swag carefully, and leave anything you can’t tote home at the Swag Exchange. Don’t leave it in your hotel rooms. It’s a pain for housekeeping and they probably can’t keep it anyway.
In previous years, BlogHer has offered a shipping center. Some hotels also offer this service, but consider the cost. Some of the best swag is on paper: free coupons, offers, and blogger promotions, so double-check before you toss!
I pack an empty duffel in my suitcase. During the conference I put my dirty clothes in the duffel. When it’s time to go, my suitcase is freed up for swag. Consider your airline baggage fees while packing. Is this free stuff worth the cost to get it home?
Get your plans in order this week so you can relax and enjoy the BlogHer experience. There are so many women there, so many parties, so much to do. Accept you can’t do it all. Pace yourself, stay hydrated, and take it easy when you need to.
Looking forward to seeing you next week! If you are a midlife blogger, follow the hashtag #BH13Midlife on Twitter to connect. I’m speaking on creating community in the midlife space on Saturday starting at 2:30. See you in Chicago!