Packing for a Long Conference: The Results (Clothes)

A few weeks ago, I wrapped up my longest work trip to date: a two-week conference in Florida. You guys helped me make my plan for packing for this long trip, which I really appreciate. But I’ll be honest: my packing was not perfect for this trip. I brought too many things, didn’t wear all of them enough, and ended up checking my bag because it was too heavy for me to lift. Boo. But I know for sure what to do differently next time…..

What I took:

  • 4 dresses
  • 1 pair of pants
  • 2 skirts
  • 1 pair of shorts
  • Jean jacket
  • 3 cardigans
  • 2 casual tees
  • 2 nice tops
  • 2 tanks
  • 3 pairs of flats
  • 1 pair of flip flops
  • 1 pair of athletic shoes

What I should have taken:

  • 2 dresses
  • 2 pairs of pants OR
  • 1 pair of pants/1 skirt
  • 1 pair of shorts
  • Lighter-weight jacket
  • 2 cardigans
  • 2 casual tees/tank tops
  • 2 nice tops
  • 2 pairs of flats
  • Flip flops

So as you can see, I was pretty close. I just brought one too many of, well, everything. Four dresses was definitely too many! And 2 skirts and a pair of pants was, again, too many. Two dresses and two other bottoms would have been perfectly adequate. The jean jacket was too heavy and didn’t pack compactly—I would bring a different jacket next time. I ended up wearing the nice tops and tanks under the cardigans often, but didn’t wear my casual tees very much. I could easily have worn the nice tops with my shorts on downtime. Two cardigans would have more than sufficed—I rarely wore them unless I was wearing a tank. Finally, the shoes. Three pairs of nice shoes were too many; two would easily have sufficed. And though I knew ahead of time there would be little time for exercising, I brought shoes anyway, and did not wear them once.

The moral? It is possible to carry-on for a long trip, but you have to be ruthless in your decision making. I wasn’t quite ruthless enough! Next time, though, you can bet I will be rocking the rollaboard. In the next few weeks I’ll do a post about packing other stuff for a long conference. Because after all, when you’re gone for two weeks clothes are really just half the battle…..


  1. Did you have access to laundry or are you extremely neat (I spill stuff when eating)?

  2. Hah, great question! I did have access to laundry (stayed at an Embassy Suites) but didn’t use it. I did spill something on one shirt, but got it into the sink, let it soak, and it dried like new so I could use it again. I will say, though, that since I’ve been pregnant I’ve covered more of my shirt with napkins (since the belly is what sticks out now, and therefore catches all the mess….) and that seems to be keeping me neater than before…..

  3. Ive been reading your posts about this trip with extreme interest because I’m going to be traveling for three weeks in August on business. The first week in Dallas yuck! And hot! And then two weeks in northern Europe where it’s going to be about 60 degrees. I’m amazed that you only brought what you did. Did you just stick with one color scheme base such as black, brown or blue? In my case I need to dress professionally during the day and then into something different for group dinners. Any advice?

  4. This post was brilliant! I have never seen anyone write down what they SHOULD have brought right below what they DID bring. The way you organized it, it was so easy to follow your reasoning! I will bookmark this to check when packing for future long trips.

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