Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Conference Prep ~ RWA 2009!!!

by Debby Giusti

The Romance Writers of America National Conference runs from July 15 to July 19 and will be held in Washington, D.C. this year. I'm flying in on Sunday so yesterday I tried on clothes and decided what to take. The new airline baggage restrictions mean tightening my wardrobe and cutting back on non-essentials. (I noticed fewer ball gowns for the Awards Ceremony on Saturday night last year with more ladies opting for short dresses, which are easier to pack and take up less room in the suitcase.)

The photo above left shows Janet Dean, Missy Tippens and Debby Giusti ready to party! Debby's signing at the Literacy Book Fair above right. Below Steeple Hill authors gather to congratulate Linda Goodnight for her RITA win!

I'm packing mainly black and white items so I can mix and match. Two pair of comfy sandals and one pair of heels should get me through the week--a change from years past when I'd pack at least five pairs of shoes.

Black slacks should work with casual jackets for the workshops and transition with a trendy top for evening dinners out. If there's room, I'll pack a little black dress and evening pants with dressy tops for nighttime fun.

Although D.C. will be hot and humid, the hotel might be chilly so a sweater and shawl are a must. I might throw in a long sleeve shell for under my jackets just in case the hotel temp is really frigid.

I sometimes send books home via the mail so I'll tuck a small pair of scissors and strapping tape into my suitcase. Yes, the hotel should have a shipping office, but the lines can be long and having the box ready to mail speeds the process.

Since I like to read in bed, I'll include a reading light as well as extra hangars, sugar substitute and perhaps extra coffee packets for the in-room coffee maker. Sometimes I include small boxes of milk that don't need refrigeration. I wrap them in zip-lock plastic bags and pray they don't leak while in flight.

Although the RWA registration packets are loaded with goodies, sometimes they don't include notepaper so a couple of spiral ring notebooks and a handful of pens and pencils are a must. I ordered a new batch of The Writer's Prayer and postcards, featuring my latest book cover for the Goodie Room as well as candy and other giveaways.

Tomorrow I'll head to the bank and get a wad of dollar bills for tips. Even though I rely primarily on plastic, cash is necessary for the airport shuttle, taxi fares and for splitting checks with other writer friends.

Remember to buy small 3-ounce toilette articles if you're including them in your carry-on luggage. I usually double zip-lock bag them and place them in the suitcase I check. Often I'll discard them at the hotel instead of bringing them back on the return flight, and the small size is perfect for a week long conference.

In the days ahead, I'll probably pack and unpack my suitcase a number of times until I get it just right. Can you think of something I've forgotten? What's the most valuable item you always include in your suitcase? Be sure to share your packing tips and any other information that would make this RWA Conference the best ever!!!

Hope to see you in D.C!

Wishing you abundant blessings,
Debby Giusti


Debby Giusti said...

After I posted my blog late last night, I realized I'd forgotten to mention packing business cards. They're great to exchange with new friends to keep in touch throughout the year.

mez said...

Wow! Great tips for anyone traveling.

Debby Giusti said...

Hi Mez,
Thanks for stopping by!!! Are you heading to RWA? If so, be sure to stop by my table at the Literacy Signing and say hello!

Ramona Richards said...

Wow, I'm impressed with your preparation! I usually just pack the night before and hit the bank on the way to the airport. I'll miss seeing everyone this year, but hope everyone has a fabulous conference!

Debby Giusti said...

I was hoping you'd be at RWA so we could reconnect. I so enjoyed getting to know you at the HOD Readers Luncheon. I'll post what I gleaned from Nationals at this site on July 29th. Hope everyone will stop back then.

Project Journal said...

It sounds like you are well prepared and ready to go! I hope you have a GREAT time!!

Debby Giusti said...

Hi Hannah,
Thanks for stopping by! I'm packing today. UGH! Not enough room in the suitcase.

Project Journal said...

There never is Debby! I know that I will be feeling the same way when I begin packing my suitcase for a 2-week overseas trip! I have less than 2 weeks to prepare myself for it. Amazingly enough, everything always seems to fit...
Hannah : )