This past week I got to travel between San Juan, New York and Los Angeles, which is every city girl's dream, right?
The reason I went to California is that I was fortunate to be the keynote speaker a young women's conference. I was excited and a bit nervous. To knock off at least part of the nervousness I decided to be well prepared and to dress the part. However, I don't like to overpack and extensive traveling in the past few years have thought me a few things that I would love to share with you.
Today I have joined a fellow blogger Ruby Josephine from
(who also happens to be an avid traveller and a dance teacher in Morocco) to write a series full of tips for different kind of traveling experiences. Check her
about permanent back-packing!
Today's post is how to pack for a conference or for a speaking engagement.
Before starting to pack:
-decide if you want to pack in a carry-on or in a bag that you will check in. Most airlines allow one free bag (50lbs).
For this post I will use a carry-on because it saves me time when I arrive and I can save some bucks when the airline does not offer in-state first free bag service.
1. Start with "the one":
Usually it is easier to pack after you decide what favorite piece for this trip is. You can also prioritize a particular color scheme and build outfits from there.
For this trip I chose a color scheme that I am really into right now and that in many ways consists of neutrals and I just brought pieces to add color.
2. Build outfits with the 2 for 1:
Once you have your favorite pieces, start building outfits including at least 2 multifunctional bottoms (like a black skirt or cute pair of jeans). This is important because this is how you save space. By packing pieces that you can use more than once and that you can pair with different tops, making each other look completely diverse from the next.
3. Pops of color:
Choosing a color palette that include mostly neutrals may seem boring at first but it is here where the fun begins. In order to complete your look make sure you pack:
- colorful statement jewlery which could include at least 2 necklaces, bangles, 2 pairs of earrings and perhaps a nice watch.
I usually pack a pair of funky earrings for a fun after party meal or drink with new friends, a pair of classic pearls for when I want a more polished look and a pair of hoops for a casual traveling day. But I just happen to love earrings so take this simply as an example.
- bold lipstick and nail polish: this a very simple way to add color and interest to your overall look. Plus lipstick does not take a lot of space.
When going to a conference as a speaker I like to do my nails in gel so it will last. This is a simple unwritten rule that many women follow. I am not fully aware of why that is but my guess is that we get a small sense of accomplishment and care for our own self when our nails look pretty. I have recently discovered an Essie "nail bar" in the swanky drugstore of our neighborhood. They do gel polish as well as regular nail polish and I am very happy with their services.
-At least one scarf and/or cardigan: Feel free to play it bold here since this is the removable part of your outfit.
Note: conferences are usually held in climate controlled places that can get cold. This is why you should always bring a sweater, cardigan, shawl, or just a cute light cape.
- a nice purse that will hold all your essentials like: a bottle if water, lip balm and/or lip gloss, your tablet or anything else in which you carry your notes, a snack and your phone (I may add a camera and/or an extra layer)
-Hair accesories: think a hat, head band or a statement headpiece that looks elegant while setting you apart as a stylish person.
-Shoes: This is another simple and unexpected way to add color to your outfits. However, shoes do take space so hopefully I can help you how to do it right.
It is said that "Cinderella is The proof that a pair of shoes can change your life" and maybe it won't change your life per se but it will definitely make your outfit. Having the right shoes is like having the right underwear, it can bring your outfit from average to great.
The 3 shoe formula:
- pack a pair of flats, a pair of nice heels and a pair of running shoes (if you like to work out to release the stress of having to speak) or walking shoes
Note: depending of where you are going you may want to replace your flats for strapy sandals.
This 3 shoe formula has worked wonderfully for me in most weekend conference trips. I think the hard part is to choose which pair of flats to pack. I would suggest to pack a
solid but colorful
pair of flats that will complement every outfit you plan to wear them with.
5. Extra space saving tips:
in a blogger chat we agreed to say that "the" best way to pack is to roll your clothes as oppose to folding it because it allows for more to fit.
Put all your product in travel size bottles, keeping in mind the complementary ones that you will receive from the hotel where you will stay. Another way to save space is to not bring anything and do a small shopping run to get travel size things that you will need for the weekend.
Note: most hotels offer a lot more travel size products than the ones displayed in the bathroom of their rooms and are only available upon request. When you call the front desk they can inform you of complementary (nice way of saying FREE) things that you can have brought to your room.
Bring your hair styling hot tools, except a hair dryer because every standard hotel room in North America has one. A clothing iron is usually included as well. This will save you space.
6. Extra travel savy tips:
-After clearing the security check point, I usually buy a bottle of water that I put in my bag to have in my hotel room as I get situated and settle in. Water bottles in hotel rooms tend to be overpriced (even more than the airport ones ha!)
-I pack energizing munchies that can also serve to boost my immune system.
- If you are a blogger, speaker or coach of some sort make sure to bring your business cards and be ready to make friends.
I have met wonderful people on the road and I was happy to have a business card to share my information.
- Most speakers are required to be there earlier, which allows for down time to rest and go over notes, explore the premises or the city even. Remember this possibility when you pack.
While you explore be conscious of your look because chances people will be excited to meet you and will be taking pictures with or of you at all times and you always want to look your best. It may sound vain but those are the images they will share on social media, those are the images people will remember about you.
What do you pack for something like this? Let me know your best packing tricks!
Also here is a
I found about making your blow out last longer that can be useful during a conference because you may be running from one session to the next and let's face it it gives extra time to mingle!