Packing checklist and tips for GHC

With the Grace Hopper Celebration for Women in Computing (#GHC15) just around the corner, I decided to share my travel packing notes along with a checklist that you can use as a template/trigger and customize to your needs.

Last year, when I was packing for GHC (#GHC14 in Phoenix), I created a packing list in Workflowy: any item that I put into the suitcase or bag, I immediately added to that list. I also made sure that when I returned home, I created a sub-list called “Didn’t use” and dragged there the bullet points for items that weren’t useful/used during the conference.

These are the general categories for the items I’m packing:

  • Clothes
  • Body care
  • Electronics
  • Documents
  • Food


Pack clothes that
— mix and match well
— are good for layering: camisoles, shirts, scarfs, cardigans/sweaters
— are for backup, in case of spills, rips, etc.

There is no dress code for the conference, and the types and styles of outfits that you see at GHC are just as diverse as its participants. I would definitely recommend wearing something that you are very comfortable in. Yes, jeans and T-shirts are acceptable: a lot of attendees wear T-shirts or polo shirts with the company/university logo, and some put on the T-shirts that are given away during the conference. I plan to wear last year’s shirt as an easy conversation starter.

The gallery on the GHC website can give you some idea of what attendees like to wear:

Here are some of my pictures that showcase various outfits from the GHC2014:

2014 ABIE Change Agent Award Winners Panel Moderator Dennis Whittle (Ashoka Changemakers, Feedback Labs & Global Giving) | Panelists Barbara Birungi (Women in Technology Uganda), Durdana Habib (IEEE) and Judith Owigar (Akirachix)
Lunch break with friends at GHC14 in front of the Phoenix Convention Center.
Nationwide-sponsored ABI Scholarship recipients with Nationwide representatives
Dance party on Thursday
Closing dance party on Friday

You might also check out the variety of outfits that attendees donned at the opening keynote of the conference…

… and at the dance party:

Decide what you will wear each day:
* Travel clothes (trip there)
* Pajamas
* Undergarments

— Conference clothes —
* Day 1
* Day 2
* Day 3
— — —
* City exploration
* Travel clothes (trip back)
— Accessories —
* sunglasses
* glasses/contacts (include a backup pair)
* jewelry
* towel

Comfy shoes are a must. Bring a backup. Pack bandaids that work with the shoes.

Body care

Being comfortable and confident in my body is a main step towards enjoying the trip.

— Makeup bag (to carry with me) —

Mascara / Pencil
Base / Powder
Lip balm
Hair ties / clips / pins
Nail file / clippers
Sunscreen / sunglasses
Breath freshener / gum
Floss sticks
Hand sanitizer / wet wipes
Band aids

— shampoo + conditioner + hair serum
— toothbrush + toothpaste + tongue scraper + floss
— face wash
— shower supplies
— deodorant
— unmentionables
— vitamins / medicine


— headphones (remember the charger if using bluetooth)
— device + charger + necessary cables for:
* phone
* camera + battery
* computer
* tablet?
— power strip / extension cord


— passport & I-20 (yay, int’l student! :-))
— wallet with ID, credit cards && cash
— itinerary / addresses / relevant phone numbers (hard-copy backup) — confirmation numbers for tickets / rental car
— business cards
— résumé (how many? 5–30)
? journal / notepad / pens (will be available at the conference as swag)
? sticky notes (HP provided a great pack at #GHC2014)


Convenient snacks to carry (when traveling, and during breaks), as well as easy solutions for breakfast and dinner in the “hotel” room.

— apple / banana / grapes
— chocolate
— granola bars
— nut / dried fruit mix
— oatmeal / cereal
— water bottle
— tea
— mug / tumbler
— immersion heater

Around the Web

Need more inspiration or additional tips?

An Insider’s Guide to the Grace Hopper Celebration
by Rose DeMaio

Stop Wasting Your Money, Get More Out Of Your Next Conference
Posted by Popforms (Kate Matsudaira and Kate Stull)

Happy packing!