Thursday, July 31, 2014

Tips on Packing For a Red Hat Convention

These great packing tips were posted on the Red Hat Society's Queens and Members Board by Marcy the Queen Bee of the FUN-Key Flint Red Hat Society Chapter (Michigan, United States). We hope they help everyone who is getting ready for the 2014 Golden Gate Gala this August. If you have any additional suggestions, please feel free to share them in a comment.
OK, Red Hatters -- let's help those of us who know how to pack for a Red Hat Society convention as well as those of us who don't know how to pack for a Red Hat convention. Some of us are great packers and some of us are not-so-great packers but we can always learn from someone else.

I will start the ball rolling so you can enjoy the "Golden Gate Gala" in San Francisco this August.

  • ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS travel in your colors -- red and purple or pink and lavender. Clothing that is not in our colors takes up valuable space that could be used for new purchases.

  • Extra-curricular activities such as swimming, jogging, exercising, etc. are in our colors. I have found inexpensive swimsuits in purple at the end of the season.

  • Extra-curricular activities such as sightseeing or tours and special themed events are in our colors. This includes any special attire for activities BEFORE and AFTER the convention.

  • Print out the agenda. Next to each activity, list the things you will need -- slacks, t-shirt, jacket, tennis shoes, visor, or cocktail dress, red satin heels, dressy red hat, bling, etc. If you know how to use Excel, you can list each day and the events, then fill in the blanks with the clothing, shoes, hats, and whatever.

  • Place everything you think you MIGHT need or use on your bed or another flat surface. Remove half of the things you placed on the bed and you will still have too much!

  • Some of your jewelry can be placed in plastic fishing tackle containers that have removable dividers. Smaller items such as earrings and rings can be placed in plastic craft containers or pill containers.

  • Invest in multiple sizes of the plastic bags that you can squeeze the air out of. Place slacks in one bag, shirts in one bag, underwear in one bag, pirate gear in one bag, ad infinitum. Once you squeeze out the air, you will be able to place the bag in your luggage and not worry about the contents shifting. The plastic bags are reused for packing to go home.

  • Roll your underwear, belts, socks, nylons, and other small items and stuff them in your shoes or inside your hats or purses.

  • There are special containers at pharmacies and dollar stores for your medications. Pill bottles take up valuable room in your suitcase. I use a plastic container, tape it shut and then place it in a ziplock bag. One of our Members places each day's meds in a small plastic ziplock bag used for beads and jewelry. (You can find these small bags at your local pharmacy or craft store.) She labels each bag for AM or PM or whenever. If you take special medications, include a list of your medications and the dosage.

  • You will be on your feet a LOT during the convention. Those sexy, strappy heels will look great with your ballgown, but they will not work when you might have to change your clothes 3-4 times in one day! Take a pair of comfy shoes or slippers for walking to and from your room and change into your sexy strappy heels when you get to the ballroom!!! You will also need comfy shoes for travel and sightseeing.
Some of you might be bringing large hats to the convention. You have two choices -- you can wear your hat for travel or you can pack it! And if you are flying, you MIGHT be able to put it in a bag in the overhead compartment. I have purchased two mesh picnic gadgets and use them for my hats. I pack one stack of hats and place the picnic gadget over the crown of the top hat and place the stack in a suitcase. I then take the second stack of hats with a picnic gadget and place it upside down in my suitcase. Small items such as belts, nylons, underwear, etc. are then placed in the surrounding spaces. My two stacks of hats will look similar to this (imagine the hats in the mesh cages):

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