Three weeks from today, I'm heading to Fort Wayne, Indiana for the Federation of Genealogical Societies 2013 Conference. The conference runs August 21–24 but I'm adding on an extra day for researching at the Allen County Public Library.Thinking of things to pack is rarely my problem. My car looked like this for the trip to FGS 2012 in Birmingham last year. I was traveling alone.
I don't deny over-packing when I'm traveling by car. (There wouldn't be much point since I just showed you that photo.) If there is room in the vehicle and I might want it, it goes. Especially if it's shoes. Or electronics. Or camera equipment. But what is at the top of my conference packing list?
Tablet and Smart Phone
Conference syllabus, note-taking, social media, my schedule, quick photos, communication, research plan. All of that happens on either the phone or tablet.
I use the phone for most social media, quick photos, keeping up with friends and tracking my schedule — mainly because my tablet is Wi-Fi only and there isn't always a connection available.
Since I try to avoid paper whenever possible these days, I'll load the conference syllabus and my research plan for ACPL to my tablet. I break the syllabus down into individual segments for each session I plan to attend plus second (and third) options in some time slots.
The tablet is also used for taking notes. I prefer handwriting lecture notes because I can write faster than I can type on a virtual keyboard but you won't find a legal pad or notebook in my bag. My tablet is a Samsung Galaxy Note with the S-Pen (which is great for handwriting). My notes and the session syllabus then go to Evernote so I can actually find them whenever I want to reference them later.
Speaking of a bag . . .
Packing for a conference day is one time I try not to overpack. When the day starts at 8:00 a.m. and ends at 6:00 p.m. (and that's just the session schedule) the last thing you want to do is lug around a heavy bag. Determine what you must carry with you all day and use a bag that is big enough but not too big.
Extra Phone Battery
Having a spare battery for my Android phone really comes in handy. I can go 36 to 48 hours without charging under normal circumstances but from early morning to whenever I call it a night at conferences, the extra battery keeps me connected.
Just in case I run a little late one morning, I'll have breakfast bars in the room. (Just in case? One morning? That's my story and I'm sticking to it.)
There is still plenty of time to make plans to attend FGS 2013. Get registered and start working on your packing list today.
This post was written in response to the last prompt for the FGS Ambassadors.