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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

BEA Packing 101

Book Expo America is just days away and you're all packed, right?
Think again. 

Take five minutes and re-evaluate what you've packed. Yes, it's probably fine for your standard vacation, but packing for BEA is a whole different beast. Clothes and tolietries are essential, but there are a few things you should know about how to pack.

Light layers that mix and match. - I know everyone says this and you're probably saying "Yeah, gotcha. Next!" But I'm serious. Temperatures in NYC will be soaring and the climate of the Javits Center is always unpredictable so light layers are a must.

Roll up your clothes. - It saves space, and it prevents wrinkling. This is especially helpful with dress clothes and dresses. However, I wouldn't use up all the extra space you gain from rolling up your wardrobe. You'll probably mail 90% of your books back home, but there will be the precious few you want to take home in your suitcase and the extra space will come in handy.

Pack three bags in your luggage. - Outside of your tolietry bag, you'll need 1) a backpack, 2) a reliable tote bag, and 3) a purse or bag for walking the city (unless you're a dude). You'll get tote bags in the exhibit hall, but it's good to start out with one you trust to carry weight. The backpack is to carry your empty totes, water bottle, camera, wallet, etc and any books you need to stow quickly. You may be inclined to bring a messenger bag instead. Don't! The backpack is best for weight distribution. Your shoulders will be tired enough as is. The purse is self-explanatory, unless you're good with the backpack for non-BEA activity.

Don't pack books. - There are a lot of events going on during BEA, signings with authors you fear might not ever come near your city. Whatever you do, don't pack books to bring to get signed. You will be going home with plenty! If you do bring books, be selective. No more than a handful because you're not going to want to lug around the extra weight all day. (Although, the backpack would be excellent for this.)

Power up. - Keep all your power cords together in a Ziploc bag or a specific compartment of your luggage. Again, bringing power cords seems like a no-brainer, but there's a catch. Your cell phone charger should live on your person if your phone is prone to lasting less than 8 hours. Cell phones, specifically texting, are the ONLY effective for of communication in the Javits, and if your cell phone dies then you'll be stranded without a lifeline, despite being in a room packed so full of bodies you can barely breathe.


  1. I love the idea of putting all chargers in a plastic bag.I'm taking a few different size bags just in case one works better than the other.

  2. This is VERY helpful. It'll be my first time going and I'm trying to get a handle on everything I need to do and bring. Love this packing advice--you're fabulous!

  3. I only plan on bringing two books for TAC. It would have just been one, but I've already read it so I need an unread physical book to balance out the e-galleys I'll read on the train ride.

    But anyway, great post! I was just trying to figure out some packing today and what clothes I should bring plus getting some totes together. Perfect timing!

  4. It looks like the weather for next week is going to be fluctuating between sunny and rainy. Joy. Thanks for the tips I never need to layer my clothes because it's so hot where I live but I will learn for next week!

  5. Fantastic tips! I always found rolling clothes to be really useful too! :)

  6. Great tips Susan and I agree layers is a must even though its hot outside its cool inside. The first day I went I didn't bring a sweater (light one) and I was cool. I brought it the second day and it was much nicer. Plus if you have a light sweater its easier to store in a tote bag so you not carrying around a bulky one.

  7. Thanks for all the great tips! First time going to BEA and I am already nervous about it. Hope to see you there!

  8. Great tips! I am still not even packed yet. I have several lists though, so hopefully I don't forget anything.

  9. I need to start packing tomorrow night, I may bring a long a backpack. I never thought about that.

    Maybe next year ...