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What should I pack for a writing conference?

Conference newbies, you've come to the right place.

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Preparing for #AWP22? Readying your carry-on for other literary events this spring? Here’s what to stash in your bag before you go. 


Snacks & sustenance.

Ever seen the coffee line at a big conference? It’s the stuff nightmares are made of. Trust us: Unless the conference is providing food and beverages, you’ll want to bring your own or risk missing a must-see event while you wait in line.


A phone battery & charger.

Slim, ultralight batteries will keep your phone alive while you record or live-tweet your sessions.


Paper & more pens than you think you need.

And stash those pens in different spots: You don’t want to spend the first 15 minutes of each panel fishing around in your bag for a writing utensil.


Business cards.

You’d be surprised how many people will ask for your card at a writing conference. Vistaprint, Canva, Staples, and the UPS Store (among many others) all offer customized business card options. They don’t need to be fancy, but they should include your name, email, and website. Pro tip: Stash them in the conference lanyard behind your nametag for easy access.




Conference air-conditioning units are no joke. It may be 80 degrees outside, but it’ll probably be 60 and drafty inside. Come prepared!


Room for new finds.

You probably won’t be able to resist the siren song of the conference bookfair – and that’s perfectly fine because you were smart enough to leave plenty of space in your carry-on for all the books and swag you pick up.


For more advice, see our six must-know tips for getting the most out of a writing conference.