Y’all, I am a BEA veteran. This year will mark year three for me and so I feel fairly qualified to dole out advice to you about Book Expo America and the things you should bring with you as a blogger. Last year I brought a big-ass bag and LOL got it stuck in a subway turnstile with Jamie, who also got her big ass bag stuck in the turnstile as well which Shanyn just laughed. ALSO this isn’t like a comprehensive list of what to pack just a few tips that work for me.
NOT THIS YEAR. I am going to pack smart. And I bet you want to pack smart too!
Tip One: Don’t Be A Dirt Bag: but at the same time, if you don’t have room for toiletries leave them at home. I am not packing toiletries, but instead will just pick some up at Duane Read as it is easy to pick up a razor, shave cream, Dove shampoo, conditioner and soap and face wash at the store and then just throw them away at the end of the week.
Tip Two: “I’m here to help you make an impression.” You don’t need your whole wardrobe with you. Look, I get it. You want to bring dresses because you are a fucking lady. Or zombie apocalypse weapons. Or a coat. You don’t need all that. New York is hot as balls in June but at the same time, you’ll be at BEA which is a professional event with air conditioning. So what should you bring? Business casual clothing, but I’d err on the side of business. Last year my clothes were all business and professional and let me tell you, I was treated, very very well. I mean, I guess if you want to bring your jeans and go in jeans that is your prerogative, but keep in mind how you want to be seen and treated. I want to be seen as a professional when representing myself off-blog therefore I dress like it. My whole BEA wardrobe this year is going to be dresses and skirts, because I know it will get hot, plus putting on a dress takes like 3 seconds and you look so well-dressed wearing one. You’ll also want to put your best face forward and if you wear make up, don’t forget that because like me, you’ll be in a panic if you forget your foundation and cover up.
Tip Three: Comfortable shoes. Dude you have heard this tip a million times. Now, I am not suggesting pairing sneakers with a dress, because that shit looks whack, but you know, wear shoes where you won’t want to chop your feet off after standing in them all day. BEA is NOT the place to break new shoes in. What I would suggest is maybe two pairs of shoes, one pair that you are wearing, and one pair that you pack, so as to save space in your bag. I’ll be packing super cute black flats and these comfy thick soled gladiators that I just got.
Tip Four: Capture your moments! Seriously, bring a camera, you’ll be sad if you don’t get pictures with all your BFFs and pictures of authors and panels. However, on that same token, it’s also great to just live in the moment instead of out to take a picture every second.
Tip Five: Leave the books at home. Dude you are going to BEA, there’s going to be A TON OF BOOKS FOR THE TAKING AHHHHHH! That stated if you are taking transportation like a plane or a bus (HOLLA), bring an eReader, it takes less space AND you can carry it with you in line to read while you wait an hour for John Green to sign your book if you aren’t standing by your friends or by people you want to get to know. Like, personally I don’t strike up conversations with strangers in line unless it’s to complain because I am shy. I KNOW I KNOW. So last year I actually read two whole books on my kindle while waiting in lines at BEA.
Tip Six: Who the heck are you? Yo, business cards are MAD CHEAP and a wonderful investment plus you can give them to your contacts and also people who want to check your blog out. I got mine from Vistaprint and got suckered into ordering return labels and a silver engraved business card holder. That noise was less than $35 altogether. That stated, my business cards have my mailing address on them, so I can’t just give them out to every single person I meet.
Tip Seven: Hair today, gone tomorrow. For the love of god, brush your damn hair or throw it up or something. You can pack a hairbrush or buy it at the store. And if you don’t have to brush your hair, well lucky you!
Tip Eight: Backpacks aren’t just for kids and people hiking. Yo, bring a backpack on the BEA floor and your shoulders won’t get super tired.
Tip Nine: Is your phone smart and not dumb? BRING THAT. Download the BEA mobile app. Also Hop Stop. And I’d recommend that microphone recording app that already comes with it for when you sit in on panels so it makes your recap later much easier. Don’t forget to put in contact information of bloggers you want to hang out with. It’s way easier to text on the floor than call.
Tip Ten: Speaking of technology… if you have chargers and battery rechargers, don’t forget those, seriously it’s hell when your phone dies. Or your camera. You could also bring a laptop or a tablet. Personally, I am not bringing a computer at all this year because I want to unplug for my week and live my vacation to the fullest. I don’t plan on having time to write up posts or any of that.
Tip Eleven: Bring your sunglasses, cuz friends, the sun never goes down on a bad ass and you are all badass to me.
See also: How Not To Be A Douche At BEA