Conference Packing Tip: Save some room!!!

The first of what I’m sure will be many stories/learnings from my two week conference……

Where there is a conference, there is free stuff. Whether it’s papers, books, bags, water bottles, coffee mugs, or some other random tchotchkie, it doesn’t matter. Every time I’ve been to a conference, regardless of length, I have ended up cramming freebies into my suitcase before my flight home. Inevitably, some get left behind in the hotel room (sorry maids!!). This is especially true after the two week conference I just attended. I purposely stayed away from the exhibit hall so I wouldn’t get too much stuff, and I know I missed out on some cool items (smelly candles? hand carved necklaces? dangit!). So moving forward, I am going to strategically leave some extra space in my bag for the freebies. It may be junk, but it may be something I really want, and I want to have room for it! I recommend you do the same.

Readers, what is the weirdest thing you’ve ever gotten from a conference? In the last year I have gotten a fly swatter, a paper mustache on a stick, and an inflatable airplane hat. Useful? Ah, not so much. But fun! And memorable, which I guess is the idea…..

(Don’t forget about our awesome contest!! Win a vacation for two from Home2 Suites by Hilton!! Open for one more week.)


  1. A worm hat. It was a hat that looked like you had a hook going through your head with a worm hanging off the end. It was as bizarre as it sounds, but I still took one home with me!

  2. When I go on any trip, I always make sure I pack my bag ‘not stuffed to the gills”. So that I have some space without using the expanding zipper, but also have the zip-extra space to use also. We go to Hawaii for 9 to 21 days every year and this has helped immensely. This past April, I utilized the Post office “if it fits,it ships” boxes,and sent the stuff home for 15 bucks I didn’t even have to worry about it all fitting! 🙂 Then 3 days later had a reminder of my trip too! 🙂

  3. I have to echo the advice on flat rate shipments. Many countries now have something similar. While I wouldn’t use it for worn hats I have used it for liquids greater than 100ml and also for chocolates and heavier items. It makes for stress free travel on the return trip.

  4. The conferences I’m allowed to attend (mainly because it was in my city) was full of practical things, so no random amusing things.

  5. On a trip to Chicago i passed this wonderful sports store. And ended up buying myself a pair of running shoes. Only when I got back to the hotel I remembered my bag was already stuffed. Finally I put my normal travelling shoes (smaller than the running shoes) into the bag and wore the new running shoes on the flight. In addition had to carry one pullover in my hand the whole trip home.
    Was worth the effort tough, I still love the shoes (and they were half price compared to what they cost at home)

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