Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Debby Packs Her Suitcase…for the RWA National Conference


By Debby Giusti

Have you ever played the children’s word game about packing a suitcase? My grandchildren and I play it when we’re riding in the car. The basic idea is for players to take turns mentioning items they would add in alphabetical order to a suitcase. To increase the challenge for older children, each player repeats the entire list that continues to grow as items are added.

I’m attending the Romance Writers of American National Conference in Denver this July and wanted to share some of the items I’ll pack in my suitcase as well as travel tips for first-time conference goers or anyone planning to attend a conference in the not-too-distant future.

Let’s see what’s in my suitcase.

I found the luggage at Stein Mart.


Debby packs her suitcase and in it she puts an…AlphaSmart!

I write my rough draft on the small word processor that runs on 3 AA batteries and was initially designed for special needs children. The AlphaSmart is sturdy and durable and has a screen that shows only four lines of text and has limited editing functions. Each of its eight files holds 25 pages of text when downloaded into a computer. The Alpha allows me to work on my current manuscript when I travel or have free time at the conference.

Debby packs her suitcase and in it she puts…Books.

Seeker books are included in my suitcase for end-of-the-day reading and relaxation. I also tuck a few copies of my latest release into my carry-on to give away as I travel.

Debby packs her suitcase and in it she puts…Coffee Creamer.

I brew coffee in my room each morning, and because I prefer liquid creamers to powdered products, I pack a box of individual serving creamer cups and my favorite sweetener in my suitcase. Chocolate gets packed too.

Travel Tip: A few years ago, my roommate packed powered Coffee-mate in a plastic baggie. TSA opened her suitcase and may have thought the white powder was an illegal drug. Someone sliced through the baggie, and the Coffee-mate spilled all over her clothes. What a mess!

Debby packs her suitcase and in it she puts a…Devotional.

I use a monthly devotional that includes scripture passages for each day—an Old Testament reading, Psalm and New Testament reading—so my Bible, which is heavy, stays at home. 

Debby packs her suitcase and in it she puts…Earbuds and Earplugs.

If you enjoy listening to music, pack your earbuds or headphones in your carry-on to tune into the airplane’s sound system immediately upon boarding your plane. Earplugs help to drown out ambient noise whether in flight or in the hotel.

Such cute luggage.

Debby packs her suitcase and in it she puts…Favorite mix and match outfits for daytime wear 

And a party dress or two for evening events, such as the RITA Awards Ceremony and after-party Thursday night.

Travel Tip:  With the current airline luggage weight requirements, I try to pack light—or a light as possible—and stick with basics on the road. Black slacks are a must and can be worn with various tops or jackets. Daytime dress for most conferences is business casual, although in my pre-pubbed days, I included a business suit for pitch sessions with editors or agents. 

Debby packs her suitcase and in it she puts…Glasses. 

Extra reading glasses and a second pair of contacts are a must as well as a reading light that could double as a flashlight in case of emergency.

Debby packs her suitcase and in it she puts…Hangers. 

Yes, the hotel provides hangers but never enough, especially if I’m sharing the room. Hand sanitizer and wet wipes travel with me as well.

Travel Tip: Keep wet wipes in your purse or carry-on for quick clean ups while traveling. I often find crumbs from the previous passenger’s meal on the fold-down airplane tray. Call me a germophobe, but I wipe the tray before enjoying an in-flight snack.

Debby packs her suitcase and in it she puts an…iPad

To check email and access the web. If I’m on a tight deadline and need to work while at the conference, I’ll take my laptop, otherwise, it stays safely at home.

Travel Tip: To lower the odds of having TSA rummage through my suitcase, I pack electrical cords, battery chargers, umbrellas and curling irons—items that could look suspicious when scanned--in my carry-on bag. Going through security, I place those types of items in a plastic bin to be screened separately.

This set of luggage is lightweight and so cute!

Debby packs her suitcase and in it she puts…Jewelry. 

An unusual pin or necklace can be a conversation starter. Some writers wear unique jewelry that ties in with their brand or genre to stand out from the crowd. Check to ensure you pack the right accessories for each outfit. Don’t forget an evening handbag for the Awards Ceremony.

Travel Tip: If you’re flying to the conference, remove jewelry, belts and sweaters or jackets prior to going through security and store them in your carry-on tote.  Before being scanned, you’ll need to remove your shoes. If you’re not wearing sock, take a pair to slip on to protect your feet.

Debby packs her suitcase and in it she puts…Kleenex tissues. 

I always go through a lot of tissues and include a number of packs in my purse, makeup bag and carry-on tote.

Lots of color selections.

Debby packs her suitcase and in it she puts…Lip balm. 

A lint remover roller too, and a TSA approved lock to secure my suitcase during travel and in the hotel when I'm away from the room.

Debby packs her suitcase and in it she puts…Money. 

Namely dollar bills for tipping housekeeping, taxi drivers and bellboys. Rule of thumb for the cleaning staff is $3-5 a day as a thank you. I leave the tip on the bed in plain view with a note saying it’s for the housekeeper.  Tip cab drivers fifteen to twenty percent of the fare. The customary tip for bellmen is $1 to $2 per bag. Add more for extra help, such as filling the ice bucket.

So Bright. So Lite!

Debby packs her suitcase and in it she puts a…Notebook 

And pen. Sometimes they’re provided in the conference handouts, but not always. If you plan to take notes on your iPad or laptop, remember your battery may run low so include paper as a backup. I’d rather be prepared than unable to take notes in the various workshops.

Debby packs her suitcase and in it she puts…Oils, 

Creams, lotions and other toiletries. Although soap, hand cream and shampoo are provided in most hotels, I have a few allergies and always bring my own products. Hotel air can be drying and my skin requires a little more TLC when I’m traveling. Invariably, my eyes become bloodshot so VISINE comes in handy as well.

Debby packs her suitcase and in it she puts…Promotional Items 

For the Goody Room. Heavier giveaways can be mailed ahead to the hotel, although check hotel fees for holding boxes until your arrival. Print outs. Don’t forget to make copies of your hotel and conference registration forms, special event tickets and any other paid admission forms.

Debby packs her suitcase and in it she puts…Quick Snacks.

Power bars, chips, cookies as well as breakfast on-the-run items, like granola bars or pop tarts. Dried fruit, crackers, gum and mints as well. Lunch is provided Thursday and Friday at the RWA conference, but attendees are on their own for the rest of the meals.  

Blue's my favorite color.

Debby packs her suitcase and in it she puts a…Rolling Bag 

Or carry-on tote with wheels. I use my carry-on to haul promotional items and giveaway books to the Goody Room instead of having to carry heavy items through the hotel.

Debby packs her suitcase and in it she puts…Shoes. 

Some cute, some comfy. Conference hotels are large and require lots of walking. Be good to your feet. Break in new shoes ahead of time. Add bandages in case of blisters.

Debby packs her suitcase and in it she puts…Tea bags 

For an afternoon cup of hot tea. Add ice to make iced tea.

Debby packs her suitcase and in it she puts an…Umbrella. 

A small travel size fits nicely in my carry-on.

Debby packs her suitcase and in it she puts…Vitamins 

And other supplements. Lots of folks take Airborne when they travel. Vitamin D3 and Vitamin C also boost the immune system. Cough drops, throat lozenges, pain relievers and antacids are good to take as well.

Darker colors don't show the dirt!

Debby packs her suitcase and in it she puts a…Warm Sweater,

Or a stole or jacket. Conference rooms can be extremely cold. Dress in layers and always include a wrap.

Travel Tip:  Be sure to check your airline’s suitcase weight requirements, and weigh your luggage at home so you can shift heavy items into your carry-on if you’re over the maximum weight allowance.  Hotel fitness centers often have a scale that you can use to weigh your luggage for the return flight. I have a hand-held luggage scale that I take to ensure I don’t exceed the weight limit.

Debby packs her suitcase and in it she puts…Xenagogy. 

What’s that? A guidebook of the local area. This month’s Romance Writers Report published an excellent article on Denver, “Getting the Most Out of the Mile High City,” by Mariah Ankenman. A google search can provide information about local attractions, restaurants, shopping, churches or tourist attractions. Do the legwork before you leave home for a more relaxed and rewarding conference.

Debby packs her suitcase and in it she puts a…Yellow Highlighter 

To mark and easily identify workshops and meetings listed in the conference program. A lot happens each day and it’s easy to miss a workshop or publishing industry event. Marking my conference program helps me remember the programs and talks I don’t want to miss.

Debby packs her suitcase and in it she puts…Ziploc Bags. 

I pack my clothing in large-size Ziploc bags to keep the fabric from wrinkling or balling up in the suitcase. I can easily slide the bags back and forth as I search for items in my suitcase. Include an extra bag or two for dirty clothing and wet bathing suits or damp workout outfits. I have a number of nice makeup totes, but I routinely keep my toiletries and hair products in Ziploc bags for easy packing and retrieval.

Travel Tip: I carry 3 ounce or smaller containers of important liquid items in a quart-size plastic bag and pack that in my carry-on tote. Items such as contact solution, shampoo, cream and hair products, in case my checked suitcase gets lost. I also pack a change of clothing in my carry-on.

Freshly baked scones and blueberry muffins are on the breakfast bar. The coffee’s hot. So is the tea. Grab a cup of your favorite brew and let’s talk about what’s in your suitcase. Leave a comment to be entered in a drawing for the third book in my Amish Protectors series, AMISH RESCUE, which is Sarah’s story.

Happy Writing!

Wishing you abundant blessings,
Debby Giusti


Amish Rescue
By Debby Giusti

Hiding with the Amish
Englischer Sarah Miller escapes her captor by hiding in the buggy of an Amish carpenter. Joachim Burkholder is her only hope—and donning Plain clothing is the only way to keep safe and find her missing sister. But for Joachim, who’s just returning to the Amish, the forbidden Englischer is trouble. Trapping her kidnapper risks his life, but losing Sarah risks his heart.

Order HERE!






85 comments:

  1. Morning, Everyone!

    I'm pouring a cup of coffee and looking forward to chatting about conference travel and what to pack!

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  2. AAAHHH! I LOVE this post. Packing is serious business!! You and I are similar packers, Debby, right down to the liquid coffee creamer. Funny story--when we adopted our 13 month old daughter from China, she was on a special powdered formula. I took disposable bottle liners, premeasured out the formula we'd need on the long, long LONG trip home, rolled them up and secured each with a rubber band. Piled about twenty of those in my carry on.Thought I was being SO smart with all the motherly prep there. But...um. Guess what that looked like?? And boy, I looked like a MAJOR distributor, too. :) We did get home without being arrested, and I'm thankful for customs agents with babies of their own and senses of humor. :)
    I will be in Denver too--and I'll look forward to seeing you there!!

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    1. Did they allow you to keep the formula, Laurel? You needed to feed your sweet baby! Sounds like something to include in one of your delightful stories.

      Coming home from one of Barbara Vey's Readers Luncheon, I filled my carry-on with books I'd purchased and/or been given in the Goody Bag, plus some of my own books. TSA took me to the side and everyone seemed very concerned as they opened my bag...then they all sighed with relief. The books had looked like explosives!

      So glad you'll be at RWA! Looking forward to seeing you there. I'm flying in on Tuesday. You?

      If I run out of creamer, I'll know where to find more! :)

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    2. LOL, Debby smuggling explosive books onto an airplane! That sounds like a story to me! Yes, they did let us keep the formula, thankfully!!
      I'm flying in early Wednesday morning and mi creamer es tu creamer. :) And I buy the good stuff, too-- Coldstone creamery. :) :) Can't wait to see you there!

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    3. So glad about the formula!

      I don't know Coldstone creamery creamer! Where do you buy it? Must check my local stores and upgrade, if possible. :)

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    4. Ingles has it here! It's my favorite, BUT it does have 30 calories per teensy little dollop. Nothing's perfect. :)

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    5. For 30 calories a pop, it must be extra rich! :)

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    6. I used to carry a regular sized container of powdered creamer in a ziplock. I guess I should try to liquid!

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    7. I haven't tried the Coldstone Creamer, either. Now I must look for it at Tops or Wegmans!

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    8. Laurel, I can't wait to see you in Denver!

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  3. Wow, Debby, you are obviously a seasoned traveler! What a great list. I've never been to a conference so there are things on there I wouldn't think of. I'll bookmark this one just in case I make it to one someday!

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    1. Yeah, this is a great list! I once got to a conference and I forgot ALL MY SHIRTS!
      I had this tidy row of hang up blouses to pack at the last minute so they woudn't get wrinkly. They were still hanging there all unwrinkled when I got home.
      And I had like pants and blazers, several blazers with the perfect tops to match....but I was wearing a short sleeved red sweater which matched NOTHING but the black pants. And the hotel was waaaay out, like at an airport and there was no easy way to buy new shirts so I just that same stupid red sweater everyday and looked like a DORK I'm sure.

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    2. I feel your frustration, Mary! Your red sweater was your brand for that conference. I'm sure you looked stunning!

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    3. Mary, that's awful! That was following Debby's mix-and-match to the extreme. haha

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  4. Cute post Debby! I am going to ACFW for the first time in Sept. and since I'm a fear-of-flying type, I haven't been on an airplane since all the security stuff went into effect. So I am dreading that part and the part about figuring out how to get from the airport to the hotel with all my stuff. Yep - definitely not a seasoned traveler but a self-admitted wimp. Your post helps me figure out what to take. Just go through the alphabet - right?

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    1. The hotels have shuttles that are great. The ACFW website will have information soon. Check the conference page on the website and scroll through the menu on the right hand side until you get to "airport transportation services."

      And have fun in Nashville!

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    2. Cindy I got a hotel room last night for the Gaylord and part of registering was they offered me a 'buy shuttle ticket' option. $24.
      I didn't get it because we have learned to use Uber which is a fraction of the cost. The $24 is per person, so we can get to the hotel for waaaay under $48. (My Cowboy is coming with me)
      But if you just buy that shuttle ticket at the same time your register then all you have to do is....find the shuttle....stand there and panic in case you MISSED the shuttle....with your vivid imagination think about getting on the WRONG shuttle.
      And while you're doing all that.....the shuttle will arrive.

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    3. PS I'm a nervous traveler too. Can you tell. :)
      PSS I'm a huge Uber advocate..though I don't have a smart phone. But My Cowboy has one and he's not afraid to use it!!!

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    4. Cindy, I don't fly much either so it will be a learning curve for me.

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    5. I often grab another conference goer in the airport and we buddy up and take a cab. Taxis are sometimes as cheap as the shuttle service. So far, I haven't Uber-ed. If other gals were going, I would join in the ride but not sure I want to Uber alone.

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  5. Loved getting a peek inside your suitcase. Great post! Loved the tips.

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    1. Sally, weren't you at the Girl's Weekend in Holmes County? Wish I could have joined you! Will you share your thoughts and some of the details?

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    2. I went to Berlin with my mom, step-dad, and sister to visit Amish country for a few days. It was so much fun! I am about 4 hours away and want to go back to eat at Der Dutchman! There were so many things we saw and learned. The retractable clothesline got a lot of my attention. It must have been wash day. Clothes were hanging way up in the air, the other end of the clothesline attached to the side of a building or something.

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  6. Hi Debby!

    What a great list! I'm heading off to a writer's retreat this weekend and I was nodding as I went through your list. I'm driving rather than flying, so that makes things easier. But I'll keep your list handy as I pack today!

    Have fun in Denver!

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    1. Driving makes packing so easy...I just keep adding things to the car! :)

      Tell us about your retreat, Jan.

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    2. I'm going to the Linden Hill Retreat, hosted by Gabrielle Meyer and our own Erica Vetsch. Erica and Gabrielle are there already, but the rest of us will arrive tomorrow.

      RETREAT! Doesn't that sound fabulous?

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    3. It's sounds wonderful, Jan. Enjoy!

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  7. I forgot to add that I have a copy of the Bible on my Kindle, so it's with me as long as I have my phone and/or Kindle. When I travel, I take my devotional and my Kindle with me so I don't miss any days.

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    1. I have a Bible on my phone, as well, but I enjoy praying the daily scriptures from my devotional. Also, Bibles are usually in hotel rooms, although I've stayed in a few recently that didn't have Bibles and I'm wondering if that's a new trend. I hope not. Did you know that the owner of Marriott is Mormon, which is why you'll usually find The Book of Mormon in Marriott rooms, along with the Bible.

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    2. Yes, I did know that about Marriott. My husband once worked for a company that was owned by Marriott.

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  8. This is a great list, Debby.
    I am a nervous traveler and obsess over stuff before, during and after. I have found this chilled out mental place now where I just think, "What problems can't be solved with a credit card?"
    And once I do that, I can just relax.
    I've found the 'must haves' are my credit card, ID and my phone. That's it.
    Yes, I take much, much more than that, but those are the core and if I have them I let all the WORRY go.
    I include my laptop on that list but even that, no I wouldn't replace it, but I could live without it for a few days IF I HAD TO.
    I've also gotten to carrying around my favorite flavors of tea in tea bags. I'm a little bit picky about tea and can't drink the usual free tea bags supplied in a room. So I forget that, too, sometimes, but it's a comfort item that's hard to replace if I forget it.

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    1. I always pack my bag and then remove a number of items when I realize the suitcase is over the 50 lb limit for the airlines. When I shop for conference clothing, I always go for lightweight outfits. Anything heavy doesn't get purchased. And I have to cut down on the number of shoes to take because they add weight. Ah, the plight of the conference goer who has to fly to her destination!

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  9. I also had a Kindle break inside of checked luggage once, so I carry that on.
    And this year I don't think I'm taking a fancy dress. Oh, maybe, but I could take a fancy TOP and wear it with black pants and be set.

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    1. I mean for the Rita awards night.

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    2. I agree, Mary. Black pants can be anything. I'm not buying a dress for the ACFW gala, I'm just seeing what I have that could be dressy enough. Unless someone asks me to be a bridesmaid between now and September.

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    3. Too funny, KB. The nice thing is you'll see casual outfits as well as the very dressy...so anything goes!

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    4. I'm looking forward to making RWA again someday to wear my mother-of-the-groom dress again! :)

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  10. Also, comfortable shoes. Is that up there? There is so much WALKING. I wish I had the nerve to wear my Nikes but I don't quite. But I have comfortable flats and my feet start hurting fast in bad shoes. I can get away with that at say...church where I do little walking. But in a hotel where you walk sometimes for MILES between your room and the conference center, that can be painful.
    Also FYI a hotel will often give you bandaids if you ask at the front desk. Speaking for me and my easily blistered feet....THANK YOU HOTELS, FOR THAT!!!

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    1. I included comfy shoes in the list. Also break in new shoes before the conference. Shoes are so important. Mary, you're right. We do walk miles and miles and miles at some of the big conferences. Usually because I can't find the right room for a certain workshop.

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  11. Debby, this is good advice. I ALWAYS bring too much. I bring projects that have nothing to do with writing, for my "down time," which does not exist at a conference, I'm either in session, eating or sleeping. I'm going to try to bring less to ACFW, and travel lighter. My real downfall is coming home...I pick up enough freebies, swag and sample publications to fill a second suitcase.
    Glad we live in the electronic age and we don't have to carry so many partial manuscripts. That was another back-breaker.
    Well we'll see.
    Mary, I'm going to try to avoid sneakers too, and invest in some Cute Flats before I go.
    On another track entirely, after powering through a few months and going on sheer will, I'm enjoying writing again, so there's that.

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    1. KB, pack a flat-rate USPS box in your suitcase, along with packing tape and mail home some of those goodies and books you pick up at the conference. Mailing stations are usually set up at the larger conferences. If not, the business office can help.

      I'm so busy attending workshops and networking with other writers and visiting with friends that I don't take time to work on my own stories at the conferences, which is one reason I leave my laptop at home. Unless I'm on a tight deadline and HAVE to work, which has happened. Conferences are expensive and I want to get my money's worth!

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    2. Debby, that is BRILLIANT! And a way to extend the conference.

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  12. Great list, Debby. You did such a great job coming up with something for every letter of the alphabet. I am a terrible packer myself.

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    1. The letter "K" had me stymied. Kleenex was the only thing that came to mind.

      I was thrilled to find Xenagogy. What else could I have packed that started with an "X"?

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  13. Denver in July sounds a wonderful break for the heat. This is interesting to me to get a feel of this part of the business life of an author, attending conferences. Net-working, marketing, etc., with so many aspects to the business. When I used to travel non-rev, working in the airline industry for several years, I learned to travel very light.

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    1. Years ago, I traveled to conferences with a former flight attendant. She would bring one small carry-on, while I had a full-size suitcase AND carry-on. I was always in awe!

      Back in those days, suitcases usually weren't weighed so mine would be so heavy...but I could take everything I wanted and needed. Now, I have to pick and choose what goes in my suitcase! :)

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    2. Cathy, I'd love to learn your packing light tips. Do you roll your clothes?

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  14. Wow, and I thought my packing list was huge! How do you get it all in there?

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    1. Laughing, Pam! I always struggle! Put things in suitcase, take things out of suitcase, put things back in suitcase...

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  15. What fun, Debby!! I love your list. The lip balm and moisturizer are especially important for Denver! Last time I went there for a conference, I thought my face was going to crack and fall off! I've never in my life felt so dry.

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    1. So true, Missy! It's the altitude. I need to remember to drink lots of water!

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  16. You know, one additional thing to think of is the weather. I went to San Francisco for conference, leaving Georgia in July without thinking a thing about cool weather. I about froze while there. I was in the overflow hotel so had to walk about a mile each day, and at night it was in the 40's! So please me smarter than I was!

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    1. I've been checking Denver weather. I remember that SF Conference. Oh my gosh! We all froze! So many gals were in sundresses and sandals. My hubby is from there so I knew to pack for the cool summer temps...although I didn't expect it to be that cool!

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  17. Debby, I also agree about taking my iPad mini. I have an Apple (bluetooth) keyboard that I also take so I can type out my notes. My laptop is my only computer, so I hate to travel with it.

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    1. You do a great job with your iPad, Missy. I'm more old fashion and stick with a spiral notebook and pen! :)

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  18. Hi Debby:

    I think you just worked the miracle of feeding the crowd of five thousand with a few loafs of bread and fishes…only in reverse! I'd like to see a picture of the inside of that suitcase when you unpack it.

    You also set a new record for referring to yourself in the third person in a first person POV post. I haven't been so jarred since I helped my mother put up preserves at summer's end.

    Did you know you can use your AlphaSmart as a keyboard for a regular computer? I think the Alpha has a great keyboard with wonderful feel. I is way better than most laptop keyboards.

    One suggestion: get a suitcase with a unique color and pattern. That way you can see it coming out of the carousel with ease and it is not likely someone will take it off the carousel thinking it is theirs. I think the 'fruit salad' set you pictured is perfect for this.

    Do you know if the awards ceremony will be live streamed this year? If so, could have give us a link. My wife really likes seeing all those women in their evening gowns. I like the period dresses for the historical writers.

    That brings up the question: "Do you have an Amish gown to wear?" What a way to promote your brand. Everyone there will soon know you and what you write. (Sorry, I can't stop thinking about marketing.:0)

    Vince

    P.S. this was posted without a preview as blogger didn't allow me to proof read it first.

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    1. Sorry I jarred you, Vince! :) I'm blaming it on the suitcase game I play with my grandchildren!

      I have a bright ribbon tied around the handle of my suitcase so I can easily identify it. It's typical black, which everyone has, so I wanted a way for it to stand out. I've had cute luggage and lightweight luggage but neither lasted very long.

      Actually, I'll be adding a lot more things to my suitcase...too many, probably! Then I'll remove a couple outfits and do a little more mix and matching. Somehow I get to the various conferences with everything I need. :)

      I haven't seen anything about the RITA Awards Ceremony being live-streamed, although there's usually a chat set up with the winners listed as the announcements are made. ACFW has the live-streaming and the period dresses.

      My AlphaSmart keyboard is stiff and not as user friendly as my ergonomic keyboard. Your Alpha must be "younger" than my old work horse! :) Good to know that it can be used with a computer. Thanks for the tip!

      No, I don't have an Amish dress. I do have the white kapp and the black bonnet, but that's the extent of my Amish clothing. :)

      Hugs to Linda!

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  19. I want to go to the ACFW conference this year but I haven't written a word ( well maybe a few ) in 2 years and because of that, I can't justify the cost. I might try anyways because I feel I'd learn so very much. Most likely will wait till next year. And I'll definately will bookmark this post. Thanks for the advice!

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    1. Hi Pat. The conferences are very expensive so I understand your hesitation to go. I never attended a National RWA Conference--or ACFW--until I was very close to selling my first book. I did, however, go to wonderful regional conferences that were less costly and provided great workshops and networking opportunities.

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  20. I loved reading your very creative packing tips. Hope you have a safe trip and a wonderful time.

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  21. Fun post. One day I hope to go to a conference.

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    1. You will go, Wilani! Keep pushing forward and your dream will come true.

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  22. Love all the ideas, Debby, and what a CLEVER way of presenting them! :)

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    1. Thanks, Glynna! I use Ziploc bags to pack my clothing...a tip I got from you some years ago. So grateful!

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  23. I first starting using Ziplocs of all sizes when I spent a couple of weeks in England/Scotland/Wales ages ago. I don't even remember now who suggested that, but it sure keeps clothes "sliding" against each other rather than balling up and wrinkling. I also use little "snack size" Ziplocs to put my travel shampoo, lotion, conditioners, mouthwash, etc. That way if one of them leaks they don't get all over the others.

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    1. I also find it's a good idea right before I travel by plane to check on-line for the latest TSA luggage & carry-on restrictions. Those seem to change every time you turn around.

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    2. More great tips. Thank you, Glynna!

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  24. How much fun was this??? I LOVE Conference season, and your post will dovetail nicely with my post on Monday! Have a wonderful time at RWA! See all the things, meet all the people, learn all the stuff!!!

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    1. Eager to learn what you're blogging about on Monday, Erica! But you're on a writers retreat now with Jan! How fun is that! Any packing tips you want to share?

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    2. I pack light, and it's a fine balance, how much do I really need vs not forgetting something!

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  25. Oh Debby, what a FUN post!! I am sooo excited that you're attending RWA, and will eagerly await seeing photos! I loved how you went through the alphabet with those useful items - - wow! I always overpack, but the last couple of times I've traveled, I tried to do better and not go overboard, LOL.
    Praying that you'll have a safe, wonderful time! :)
    Hugs, Patti Jo

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    1. Thanks for your prayers, Patti Jo! I always over pack too!

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  26. I tend to over pack too - just in case.

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  27. I have had so much fun at conferences! That was where I first came face-to-face with the Seekers, old and new! That was where I learned the "who's who" of publishing and some of the good and the bad and the ugly that goes on behind the scenes... Because it is just plain smart to go into a business with your pretty eyes wide open!

    Debby, I love not only this post but the hope and promise it contains. I'd love to be with you in Denver... but I know I'll be with you in April at CFRR in Maryland, so that's something to look forward to from WNY!!!!

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    1. So glad we're both going to CFRR in 2019!!! That retreat is the BEST!!! Love all the wonderful readers and writers. Bless the amazing ladies who make it all happen! Carrie, Annie, Beth and sweet Bonnie!

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  28. Hey, a new tip for travelers if you have an Uber app like I do.... Make sure your phone is on and charged and that your tracking is set to "on"... and set up your app before you go so your credit card company doesn't look at it with suspicion. I love being able to have a car come for me at the touch of a button... and no tip required because of the Uber and Lyft set ups.

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    1. Great tips, Ruthy. No tip? Really? Interesting!

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    2. That last comment contained back-to-back "tips." I hope you could unravel what I was trying to say.

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  29. Debby, these are great tips. And speaking of tips, I wholeheartedly agree about tipping. Though I hope you don't really keep the money in your suitcase.


    When I pack, I put each of my outfits on a hanger, along with the jewelry I'll be wearing with it, then I simply grab the hangers and lay everything in the suitcase. When I get to the hotel, I then pull all of the hanging clothes out and put them in the closet. Fast and easy and I don't have to hunt for the jewelry.

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    1. Hi Mindy: I just printed this out for my wife to read. Is there a way to attach the matching shoes to that hanger? Big baggies?

      Vince

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    2. Amazing, Mindy! Will consider your packing technique...although I worry the hangars might snag the clothing. Ever have that problem?

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  30. Hi Debby:

    My limited experience with conferences is that the bigger they are, the more classes that you really want to take seem to all take place at the same time! And to make matters worse, on top of that, the class going on in the adjacent room is annoyingly having so much fun laughing and clapping it makes you want to get up and go over there! And that's not fair to the poor teacher in your room especially if she is very nervous and this is her first experience being an instructor. Sometimes I just hurt for the poor instructors.

    My advice: check which classes are given when and be sure to select which classes you are going to attend long before the conference. Trying to decide 'which class should I go to' between classes can be very stressful and make you late for either one of them!

    Are you prepared for class conflicts?

    Vince

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    1. Great tips, Vince. Yes, I plan my schedule in advance. Also it's good to ask around and see who's good at presenting workshops. I would have missed my first exposure to Michael Hauge if Stephanie Bond hadn't given me a head's up on the airplane, heading to RWA. Since then, if Hauge speaks, I'm usually in the audience....preferably sitting close to the front! :)

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