18 Things You Must Pack in Your Conference Tote Bag

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When you attend a crochet and knit conference, a blogging conference, or any other kind of conference, it’s a good idea to pack a tote bag full of the items you may need throughout the day. Many conference meeting rooms and vendor areas are quite a long walk from your hotel room, so it’s much easier to carry with you everything you might need. You don’t want to waste time taking a long trek back to your room or your car!

Here’s my list of conference tote bag essentials!

1. Tote bag

A tote bag is essential for carrying everything you will need. There are many styles to choose from. I love a tote bag with a flat bottom so that it stands up without falling over and with outside pockets to help me access the things I need more frequently. I love this one I recently received from Red Heart Yarns.

Red Heart Tote Bag

2. Business cards and holder

You will want to have your business cards with you to hand out to new people you meet. Be sure to bring a long a nice holder so they stay in prime condition instead of getting all bent up at the bottom of your tote bag.

3. Conference binder

I like to create a conference binder for all my conference paperwork: travel reservations and confirmations, my schedule, any class information/homework/materials fees, any business cards I collect, the conference brochure, etc.

I find that a 2″ – 4″ D-ring binder, such as this heavy-duty one from Avery, works very well.


Check our blog later this week for a new post on how to create your very own conference binder.

4. iPad or tablet and its charger


I find my iPad is absolutely essential to have with me. I can easily hop online to check email, post a conference photo to Facebook/Twitter/Instagram, post quick social media updates about the fun I’m having, and stay up-to-date on the Facebook and Twitter feeds for the conference itself.

Many conferences are now making a Guidebook app available for their attendees instead of or in addition to a printed conference booklet. I like to have the app available on both my iPad and my cell phone.

5. Cell phone and charger

Yes, you will want your cell phone with you. I find the easiest way to get in touch with friends is through texting. Many conference venues are so loud it’s virtually impossible to carry on a cell phone conversation.

Just be sure you turn your phone off or set it to vibrate when you are attending class sessions.

6. Writing utensils

I always like to have at least one pen and one pencil. Actually, I prefer to have two of each. You’ll be so busy and easily distracted at a conference that it’s easy to lose your writing utensils. I always make sure I have inexpensive ones with me. A conference is not the place to take your expensive fountain pens!

7. Water bottle


It’s important to stay hydrated at conferences. It gets expensive (and wasteful) if you have to buy water at the concession stands. I like to take my own water bottle with a filter, like this one from Camelbak, so I can fill it up anywhere.

8. Healthy snacks

You’ll be burning up a lot of energy with all the walking you’ll do at a conference. Your schedule may be so busy you don’t have time to eat much during the day. Be sure to take along some healthy, energy-boosting snacks with you. A ziplock bag full of trail mix can work wonders!

9. Layers of clothing

No matter what time of year, you are likely to encounter temperature extremes. You might have to walk outside in the summer heat only to find that you’re freezing on the conference floor. Or the conference floor may be quite warm due to the number of people, and you find that the hallways or restaurants are quite chilly.

It’s always a good idea to carry a light sweater, jacket, shawl, or pashmina with you.

10. Small zippered pouch for little items

I’ve listed many little items below. I like to keep them all in a small zippered pouch so I don’t have to dig for them at the bottom of the tote bag.

11. Lip balm

The air in hotel rooms and conference venues is notoriously dry. To prevent your lips from getting dry or chapped, make sure to have a lip balm with you and use it regularly.

12. Mints or Gum

This one should be obvious! You’ll be meeting lots of new people throughout the day, and you probably won’t have time to pop back to your hotel room and brush your teeth after meals, snacks, or a cup of coffee. Mints or gum will help keep your breath minty-fresh.

13. Adhesive bandages

Paper cuts. Blisters. Other minor accidents. Bring along a few adhesive bandages in several different sizes. You’ll be glad you did.

14. Antibiotic ointment or hand sanitizer

If you get a minor cut or scrape or a bruise, you’ll want something to kill off any bad bacteria.

15. Painkillers of your choice

I often end up with a headache at conferences, whether it’s sinus-related from the stuffy, dry air, tension-related, or simply from carrying a heavy purse and tote bag around with me. My personal preference is ibuprofen, but you may find acetaminophen or aspirin works better for you.

16. Tissues

Hopefully you’ll be having too much fun and won’t have a reason for crying, but there are many other reasons you might need a tissue every now and then. Gezundheit!

17. Hand lotion

Handy trick: Did you know if your skirt is full of static and sticking to your pantyhose, you can put lotion on your hands and rub them over your hose to eliminate the sticking?

18. Your crochet (or knit or other craft) project

If you’re attending a crochet or knit conference, you’re definitely going to want to bring along a small project to keep you occupied during the rare moments of downtime. It’s probably a good idea to make sure this project is stored in its own project bag inside your big tote bag.


That sounds like a lot to put in your tote bag, doesn’t it? To cut down on weight, you can buy travel sizes of many of the small items or just put a few in a small zippered bag or other container.

The heaviest thing in the bag is going to be your conference binder, so be sure to come back later this week for my tips on how to put that together so you aren’t carrying unnecessary weight around with you.

Your Suggestions

Do you have any tips or suggestions for what you like to have in your tote bag when you’re attending a conference? Leave a comment and let us know!





3 thoughts on “18 Things You Must Pack in Your Conference Tote Bag”

  1. I save prescription bottles for little storage containers. I like to take one and fill with quarters when I am going somewhere like a conference. You can also roll a few bills up and put around the inside. Just ta have some cash handy in case you need it for a vending machine or something. It never hurts to have a little money stashed somewhere besides your purse. I would add that to my zippered pouch so it is out of sight but handy.

  2. I would put my pens/pencils in a small case. I would also get a small cosmetic bag and put in all my crochet/knitting notions. My final item would be a small pocket notebook for jotting down things quickly. A hair clip I would fasten onto a strap. And of course my medications and eye drops. And I would have everything in small cases, one for phone/charger, another for tissue, lotion, band aids, so forth, etc. so I would not have to dig around my bag for anything other than my project…


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