BY MONIQUE QUINTANA
Packing at Home
Since the conference is in Washington D.C. this year, I’m taking a chunky grandpa style cardigan and 1 peacoat. Even in cold climates, dressing in layers is important because you’ll go back and forth between body temperatures. It can get really stuffy with all those writers in one place, especially in the book fair.
I usually pack a lot of lightweight skirts and dresses and layer over them when I get dressed. If I were taking pants, I would only take about three pairs, because the fabric takes up so much room in my luggage.
I find it helps to take two pairs of shoes. I wear my Doc Martins to the airport because they're bulky, and I pack my flats.
Rolling Method: My favorite method to pack because you it allows you to pack a large amount; it’s witchcraft. I simply roll garments as tightly as possible. If you’re packing a backpack, place the largest rolls on the bottom and work your way up.
Filing Method: This is a great method for both luggage and backpacks. Fold your garments in small squares and place them in the bag, as if it were a file cabinet. This makes it easier to pull things out quickly and see what you have. It’s especially good if you're packing mostly pants and/or shirts that are prone to wrinkling.
I fold bras in half and squeeze them into the corners of the luggage or backpack, making sure they’re not close to any zippers or closures. I usually place socks and hosiery in the smaller pockets on the outside of luggage. Backpack pockets are good for things like cosmetics, toiletries, and phone chargers.
Going Through the TSA
If you’re wearing shoes with laces, untie and loosen them before you get in the TSA line, so that they’re easier to pull off. If you want to fly without socks, bring a pair just to wear while you’re going through security, so you’re not walking on the bare floor.
I always wear a chunky sweater with a coat over it. These can be removed together very quickly.
Place all your liquids in a quart size plastic bag. If I’m on a shorter flight, I usually buy my toiletries at a discount drugstore when I arrive at my destination.
Laptops always need to go in a separate TSA bin. iPads and tablets don’t need to be pulled out.
Try not to wear any sort of hard wear on your clothes. This usually slows down the process.
Going to the Conference
Pain relief. The conference is intense, especially if it’s your first time.
Books you want to get signed from other writers.
Water bottles and snacks. Concessions at the conference are expensive.
Notebook and Pen to take notes at the panels
A super lightweight tote bag tucked inside a larger bag. This is especially helpful if you’re working at the book fair. You can leave your heavier bag at your hub and use the lighter bag to shop around. This prevents you from setting things down and forgetting about them.
A lot of us end up with a lot of books and free swag that we want to take home with us. It would be a good idea to buy an inexpensive suitcase at a discount store to carry these goods home. If you have a friend on the same flight, you can share the suitcase and split the cost to check the bag at the airport.
Monique Quintana is the Beauty & Fashion Editor of Luna Luna and the Editor-in-Chief of the blogazine, Razorhouse. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing Fiction from CSU Fresno, and her work has appeared in Huizache, Bordersense, and the Acentos Review. She is a Pocha/Chicana identifed bruja feminist and mother to a fourteen-year old son, who is her greatest manifestation. She teaches English at Fresno City College.