If you are planning to go to BEA for the first time it is very hard to know what exactly you should pack. I know that my first time I brought so much stuff that I didn't need and I packed clothes that were way too formal.
So, whether this is your first or hundredth time going to BEA here are my tips for what to pack...
Clothes:You are obviously going to need clothes. My mistake when I went to BEA for the first time was that I packed only dress clothes. This is a professional conference, but you are going to be there ALL. DAY. LONG. and you are going to be standing in lines and running around. You need to be comfortable. My suggestion is to pack jeans, shorts, and nice tops. Book related shirts are the best.
You want to be comfortable, but still classy and presentable since you are going to be networking your butt off. I suggest comfy chic.
After the conference is over for the day you are also going to want to check out NYC and it is so much better when you don't have change into something else. It also leaves extra space in your luggage when you don't pack two pairs of clothes for everyday.
You are going to be on your feet all day, so you need comfortable shoes. My first time I, again, made the mistake of being too formal and packed flats. My feet hurt sooo bad by the end of the day. You really need to have comfortable tennis shoes or sandals. You will be the most comfortable.
You might not have a whole lot of time to blog while you are there, but you never know when some inspiration happens in the middle of the night where you might want to blog at the hotel. They offer wifi, so you might as well take advantage of it.
I also use my laptop to double check my schedule for the day, follow bloggers after each day of the conference, check out books I heard about from other book lovers, and to take notes of what I want to blog about when I get home.
If anything you should at least bring a tablet with you.
Now, I'm not talking about bring whole suit cases, but you might want to at least bring a duffle bag or two. You are going to be bringing home a LOT of books and you are going to need to put them in something to get them home. If you are taking a train or plane home you might want to look into mailing them home, which they offer on site at the conference, but if you are like me and you are driving you are going to need bags to put these books in or they will be all over your car.
Also there is a luggage check-in on site so you can put the books you get in your luggage instead of trying to haul it all back to the hotel.
Make sure that you are packing all of your chargers from phones to laptops. You are going to need them. You are also going to be gone from your hotel for most of the day so it is honestly best to invest in a portable charger for your phone. There are ones that you charge at night and then use later, solar powered, and battery powered. I suggest the battery powered ones, because they are cheaper and you can continuously get a charge out of them if you have batteries, but I also suggest you leave the batteries out of the device while you aren't charging your phone, because it will kill the batteries if left in.
Since you are going to be networking so much it is seriously MANDATORY to have business cards. Every blogger has one and everyone is going to ask to exchange business cards with you. You can also leave your business cards with authors that you know you are going to write a review for and also with publishing houses to contact you about review books.
I personally use Vistaprint for mine and you can get 250 cards for $10. You need to order them right away, though, to get them in time.
Business Card Portfolio:
Since you are going to be exchanging so many cards with people you really need a place to put them. I suggest a business card portfolio that you can get basically anywhere. This keeps them safe and organized for you to go back to later to follow bloggers and contact publishers.
Small, Cross Body Purse:
My mistake my first time going to BEA was that my mom and I brought a back pack full of stuff with us. You are going to get so many bags while at BEA that it is pointless to bring another one with you. My suggestion is to just bring a small, cross body purse that can hold your schedule, your phone, and some money. It's all you're going to need.
You might get cold on the way to the conference and might get chilly while at the conference, so I suggest a light jacket, sweater, or hoodie. You are going to work up sweat from all the running around and walking you are going to be doing so make sure you don't pack anything heavy. It will just weigh you down to carry it everywhere.
While at the conference you definitely need money. You are going to want to buy lunch, give donations for the books you get, and buy book related things. After the conference you are going to want to check out the city, buy souvenirs, and buy dinner. Make sure you are bringing money and budgeting lol.
DON'T BRING BOOKS:
Whatever you do, do not bring books with you. You might think you will have tons of time to read, but you won't. You are going to be at the conference all day and by the time you get to the hotel you are just going to want to eat and sleep. Don't bring books with you. They will only take up space and weigh your stuff down.
Those are my suggestions for what you need to pack for BEA. I am sure there are other things that I am forgetting, but these are the essentials.
I hope you enjoyed this list and I hope to see you at BEA!