Packing List for RWA (Romance Writers of America) Conference in New York

I wouldn’t dare presume to do a packing video for RWA. If you’re looking for that, look to the master: Erin Knightley’s Packing Video (it is extraordinary). But while I was chatting last night with the Smacaroons, we were talking about packing lists.

So I thought I’d share my bare bones list--add or subtract to it as needed. I have a packing spreadsheet for outfits, but I’ve already been laughed out of social media for it, so I shan’t post it here. But, just know, if you’re sitting next to me in a session and have an issue with your shoes or hair or head, let me know. I’ll help you out with my magic pink bag of goodness.

Alexandra Haughton SOS Bag

Oh, before I post the checklist, I’ll say this: pay your bills this week or set up bill pay. RWA is the third full week of July, and I know I like to make my house payment then so it is set to go on the first—and I certainly don’t want to foget while I’m at Romance Camp.

Bare Necessities:


  • Blister bandages (those cushy gel ones are best)
  • Paper tape (good in a pinch for blisters and for those with latex allergies)
  • Shoe back stick-ons (even your most comfortable shoes will hate you by Friday)
  • Shoe inserts (same)
  • Bandages
  • Painkillers
  • Safety pins
  • Rubber bands/bobby pins
  • Lint roller 

Get Ready

  • Makeup bag w/ all your pretties
  • Quart bag for liquids per TSA
  • Meds
  • Deodorant 
  • Hair stuff—comb/pick, brush, spray/gel—if you use it
  • Tampons/pads/liners (Oh, this list is lady-specific...sorry, dudes)
  • Glasses/contacts/sunglasses
  • Laundry bag
  • Shoe bags
  • Quart/gallon bags

Out the Door

  • Evening bag
  • Purse with zipper top (we’re in the big city)
  • Cards/Cash
  • Umbrella (yep, look at the forecast)

Con Specific Stuff

  • Business cards and holder
  • Swag for Goody Room (and container per RWA Guidelines)
  • Badge pins from previous conferences
  • Notebooks, pens/pencils (or just pick up some pens in the goody room if you’re not picky)
  • External battery charger (the con hotel will zap your
  • Comfortable tote bag (or use the conference freebie if you’re not picky)
  • Scarf/Shawl if AC is chilly in meeting rooms or on the plane
  • EDIT: Envelope for keeping receipts tidy for the tax man (and chances are you can get one in the hotel if you I did). 

 You Look Marvelous

  • Unmentionables
  • Slips 
  • Clothes for con and fun (don’t forget your RITA outfit!)
  • Shoes, shoes, shoes, and more shoes
  • Socks/hosiery as needed
  • Jewelry/Roll

Tech Stuff

  • Laptop, tablet, phone, ereader AND THEIR CHARGERS/CORDS


What would you add? I'd love to know what you consider essential for travel!