This blogpost is the fourth of five in a series of conference tips. Today we're talking about why you’ll be glad you packed an extra suitcase or box for the conference.
The first year I attended the HSMG conference, I had no idea how many freebies and goodies that would land in my lap. The moment you check into registration you’ll land a giant sponsor-filled goodie bag that in past years has contained molds, fragrance samples, herbs, pail openers, and so forth. The freebies don’t stop there. There are raffles, give-aways at evening special events and also vendor tables where you can buy and win more soap-related products and services. There are also three days of conference handouts, which pile up quite a bit. When combined, all of these can take up quite a bit of space in your luggage.
On my flight home to Boston after my first conference, I showed up at the Palm Springs, CA airport to find out that my luggage was 10 pounds over the limit. The ticketing agent looked and me and smiled politely, "I'm going to have to charge you a $90 over-the-limit fee." So I transferred 10 pounds of goodies back into my carry-on and lugged the bag all the way back to Boston (and a layover in Denver to boot..ah, no pun intended). I promised myself that would be the last time I would shlep all that extra weight. Somehow I would get those goodies home without paying the price with my wallet OR my back. Since then I’ve smartened up and packed a small empty carry-on size suitcase within my regular luggage. This allows you to strategically pack for the way home.
If, for whatever reason, you don't feel like packing a second suitcase, there is another option. Mariann Smith of Just Bubbly (Rockaway Beach, NY) packs a prepaid and pre-labeled, USPS flat-rate shipping box just for this reason. Simply pick up a large flat rate box at your local post office, purchase a prepaid label, pack it in your suitcase, and you're ready to go. You might want to bring along some packaging materials and plastic ziploc baggies to compartmentalize small items. When you've packaged up your box, drop it off at the front desk of the hotel and it will see you when you get home!
Whether you decide to pack the extra suitcase or prepaid flat rate shipping box, you'll be glad you did! Your shoulder, wallet and plane carry-on companions will thank you.