What to Bring to Your First Business Conference!

Hi there, women on the move! I'm writing you from a Trailways express bus on the way to NYC for the HSMAI Digital Marketing Strategy Conference! I am so pleased to be traveling to the city today to just be a sponge at this exciting conference. 

But- here's the thing. I found it so challenging to determine what to bring with me, and couldn't find by good advice online.

So, my friends, in this spare time I have on the bus I'd like to share with you the contents of my business day bag! The bag itself was from Stitch Fix, they helped me put my entire outfit together. I really hope this can help you plan what to bring for your first big business trip into any major city!




Before we even dig in, I need to tell you that the key thing is ALWAYS my iphone (which is practically surgically attached to me!) but there are a few apps that I rely on whenever I travel into the city that I would be remiss to omit!

#1: My iPhone and The Travel Apps I'm Counting On for my NYC Business Day Trip:

• UBER - this app has saved me more than a couple times. If you haven't heard about this app that lets you summon a taxi with your built in GPS, actually SEE the driver's picture in advance, read and leave ratings, and pay automatically... Then welcome to the future. 
🚖 Use PROMO CODE gm98w to get your first ride free (up to $20).

• Embark NYC - for a Hudson Valley lady such as myself, it can be downright exhausting to navigate NYC's extensive network of public transit and city streets, and this is one situation where Google Maps just doesn't do it for me. Try Embark for specific, GPS and Map driven directions. It even gives you a buzz when you're on the subway and your stop is next! TOTAL lifesaver.

If you're not planning a trip to NYC specifically, I will say that Uber works in most places, and I wouldn't be surprised if there were Embark apps for every metro area. Hey- it's NYC, and if you can make it there... You can make it anywhere! *winks*

So onto the juicy stuff.

#2: iPad

The second item in my bag is also a no-brainer for any digital marketer. I'm planning to use my iPad during the conference to look up websites mentioned, speakers, and instantly connect with any online concepts using my iPad. I'm also going to be tweeting though this. I don't know about you, but it just seems more professional to interact on an iPad device than a phone during a conference.

#3: Pen & Paper

The third item I'm bringing to the HSMAI meeting at the Marriott Marquis @MHMarquis is pretty low-tech. 

It's a different kind of pad, along with my favorite pen on earth - the uniball vision elite in bold black. Ever since I was about 18, I've been using this brand of pen for all the important stuff.

Wait, was that 2 items? Well I consider them 1 because neither is helpful on its own.

#4: The Conference Agenda

Although I'm sure they'll be handing this out at the event, it makes for good light reading on the way, and a chance to brainstorm questions -  and a reminder of why the ticket was so darn expensive! Also, can this bus please go any faster? 

#5: My Wallet

No, I'm not opening my wallet for you but I will say I have a little emergency cash, my return ticket, and a zippered section just for receipts from the trip so I can keep track of expenses.


#6: My work name badge

I have a special place in my heart for this badge, and no offense to lanyards but I have a feeling I'll prefer this. (I am keeping an open mind, though)



#7: Business Cards

Again, kind of obvious but I do have an interesting method to share- try tucking some in your iPhone case. Boom. Never without a business card, because, hey, I'm never without my iPhone.


#8: Heels

Oh did I mention that my bag is huge? These babies are in there, too. I'll change out of my semi-sensible Montana girl boots and into the heels when I'm arrived at the Marquis.




Just in case I can't grab food and my blood sugar takes a dive, a little snack goes a long long way! Here I have Justin's classic Almond Butter which I'll take straight just like I used to do Protein gel back in my long distance cross country running days (ah, high school, I was so fit then!) when no one is looking! Hopefully it won't come to that. I mean that in the most sincere way possible, because I have honestly always brought a bar or something never a packet of almond butter lol! But hey, #preparedness if we get stuck in an elevator I'll be the one with the 80 calories of negotiating power.



10: Makeup Bag

In the words of the great Stevie Wonder, makeup is a world within itself! Or something like that. And, fortunately for me we have almost arrived to Port Authority. I will say this though- travel light (lighter than me if you can - this trip was pre 7am so little time to makeup in advance. And for heaven's sake, bring an extra pair of panty hose. They'll fit.


I hope you enjoyed this little peek into my special trip to the city. Although it isn't my first (or last!) this one represents a challenge and an exciting opportunity I was happy to share with you.

Let me know if this blog post has helped you, or if you have any advice to share. Please add your voice in the comments below.

Never stop Learning, Growing, and Reaching.

~Laura

Content by Laura Gabriele