by Denise Hunter
With the ACFW Conference a week away, here are some timely tips on packing, gleaned from 8 years of packing for ACFW. If you plan ahead, you can avoid ironing, tedious decisions (you’ll have enough to make once you’re there), and wasting precious time that could be spent gabbing with writing friends and schmoozing editors and agents.
1. Decide in advance what you’re wearing. A few days ahead, try on lots of outfits with shoes, heels, jewelry and belt. Try to stick with suitcase-friendly fabrics (avoid linen and 100% cotton).Take photos with your phone of you in each outfit. Seeing the photos helps you view the looks objectively and quickly, allowing you to choose the best outfits. This way you pack only what you’ll wear.
2. Once you’ve decided what to wear each day, delete the extra photos. Roll each item tightly, minimizing wrinkles. Refer to the photos at the conference so you can remember what goes with what.
Or try this little trick. I did it last year and it worked like a charm.
3. For super easy unpacking, put each outfit (pants, shirt, jacket, necklace) on its own hanger. Set it in the bottom of your suitcase, smoothing out wrinkles. Layer each additional outfit on top, leaving arms outstretched. Put cosmetics, hair dryer, shoes, etc on top, then fold the excess clothing around the top, like your outfits are giving them a hug. When you arrive, hang them in the closet and you’re done.
4. If you’re flying, put a tiny square of plastic wrap under the lids of flip-up liquids like shampoo. Aircraft pressure can make lids pop up. Been there, done that. Never again!
5. Put all liquids in a zip top bag to protect everything else if a spill happens.
6. Use the smallest suitcase possible. Objects packed tightly don’t shift and create wrinkles.
7. Make a list of things you can’t pack until the last minute so you don’t leave anything critical behind. If you’re driving and planning to take advantage of the book sales and auction, bring an tote bag. If you’re flying, it may be cheaper to mail the goodies home.
8. Bring Melatonin or your favorite sleeping aid. It’s hard to wind down after a busy day, and you’ll need your rest.
9. Along the same line–bring earplugs. The silicone kind are my favorite. Your roommate might snore or (even worse) be a morning person. Yes, Colleen Coble, I’m talking about you.
10. Bring a carry on for anything you can’t live without in case of luggage loss: laptop, meds, one-sheet, bare minimum makeup, etc.
Planning ahead takes time, but it’s worth it to be hassle-free upon arrival. Then you can concentrate on the important things like friends and worship and networking.
Denise Hunter is the best-selling romance author of over 20 books, including Barefoot Summer (Thomas Nelson). She’s been a member of ACFW for 8 years, has played drums for the ACFW worship team, and often encourages new writers to join the organization. When she’s not writing, Denise enjoys reading, traveling, playing drums, and eating chocolate (preferably dark).