Hopefully you won’t find yourself waking up in the middle of the night panicked that you now need the very thing you forgot to pack. Or, finding out moments before you have a meeting or fun place to go, you ran out of or forgot something essential. 

So, to all the newbies, and seasoned travel veterans, I’m running an Authors Dish specifically targeted on what authors and industry professionals always include in their suitcases, what they stash in their conference bag to avoid hunger pains and the things they forget once and hopefully never again. While some of the authors contributing are not attending we love that they want to contribute. 

May this inspire you to plan, make your lists, and triple check so you are prepared for just about anything. If you’re heading to RWA2019 I’d love to say hi. Comment below so we can be sure to meet up in NYC.

Stay tuned as we’ll have plenty of tips and tricks in the upcoming weeks so check the blog daily.

Today in the cafe are USA Today Bestselling Author Robin CovingtonAuthor Kelly Maher and Author Cate Taylor

Rae: What five things do you have to pack when attending a conference? 

Robin Covington:

a power strip for all my chargers (and my roomies)
earbuds to play music as I go to sleep – hotels are noisy!
at least two black jumpsuits – they go with any occasion!
my planner – its the only way I get it all done
flat shipping boxes and packing tape to mail books home



Kelly Maher:

1. Comfortable shoes. This is an absolute must for me as I developed plantar fasciitis when I first moved to DC and it stuck around for 2.5 years. I never want a recurrence of it if I can help it.
2. Pen and paper. While I often do take notes on my phone or tablet, in some rooms, the set up is just more conducive to pen and paper. Plus, I love the feel of a perfectly matched pen and notebook.
3. A refillable water bottle. It is *so* important to stay hydrated during the conference, and the hotel will suck you dry.
4. A wrap or cardigan. Just as the hotel air is dry, it’s often overly cool. I tend to run hot, so sometimes the cool air will be welcome, but I have a very fine range of when I’m comfortable and will go from feeling hot to “can’t get warm ever again!” in under 5 minutes.
5. My ereader. While I am a total extrovert and you’ll often catch me in the halls talking with people, sometimes I need a few minutes to regroup in quiet and read for a bit to let my brain process all of the conversations.
6. I’m going to stick in a bonus for those who rely on tech: portable battery charger!




Cate Taylor:

        • Crocs (or other comfortable shoes). You’ll be on your feet much of the day and walking a LOT. Unless sexy shoes are your brand (a la Kim Kincaid and her fabulous footwear!), consider sacrificing a little fashion for comfort. I wear “fancy” Crocs or my Chucks.
  • A pashmina. No matter where the conferences are, July is going to be hot. So the rooms will be air conditioned and/or the nights cool. A pashmina is a lightweight, easy to pack and carry way to keep the chill away. I usually bring a few, at least one dressy and one casual.
  • A towel. Because one should always travel with a towel. (Shout out to the late Douglas Adams for that tip!)
  • Business cards/bookmarks. It seems like a no-brainer, considering you’ll be networking, but you wouldn’t believe the number of people who forget. I’ve had agents and editors have to write their info on slips of paper because even THEY forgot!
  • Really good unscented lotion. My skin dries out in the air conditioning and then I get itchy.


Rae: What is your snack attack must haves in your day bag?


fruit and nut granola bars
haribo gummi bears
dentyne fire gum

Kelly: I usually try to pack something with protein and tend toward peanut butter Clif bars. However, by the time I realize I’m hungry and need a hit, I tend to need to eat 2 to quench the craving. I’m honestly horrible about eating healthy, but when it comes to conference snacks, I like things like the Clif bars, Sargento’s Balanced Breaks kits (I prefer the white cheddar, almonds, and dried cranberries), or dried fruit packs from Trader Joe’s. They’ve got these 3-packs of dried apricots that are fabulous.

  • Trail mix
  • Twizzlers (satisfy my sweet tooth but don’t melt all over the place like chocolate)
  • Mints





Rae:What’s the one thing you forget to pack and swear to remember next time?

Robin: I have a laminated list that I triple check – I can’t remember the last time I forgot something – I usually overpack! LOL

Kelly:   I’m really lucky in that I’ve been going to conferences both for writing and the day job about 3-4 times a year for the last eight years that I’ve got my packing down to an art. If anything, I’m usually out of tissues. But, that’s the fabulous thing about being in New York, there are stores where we’re going! (Duane Reade, owned by Walgreens, is the convenience store of choice in NYC for those who’ve never been.)


  • Slippers!

Rae: Thank you so much authors! I’ll be keeping a running list and will post it a week before RWA2019 so that hopefully no one needs to make a quick run to the lobby market or drug store around the corner. I’ll see you soon for new authors and more ideas!

Robin Covington: A USAToday bestseller, Robin Covington loves to explore the theme of fooling around and falling in love in her books. Her stories burn up the sheets…one page at a time. A Native American author of color, Robin proudly writes diverse romance where everyone gets their happy ever after.

She is an unapologetic Indiginerd and comic book geek. She hoards red nail polish and stalks Chris Evans.

A 2016 RITA® Award finalist, Robin’s books have won the National Reader’s Choice and Golden Leaf Awards and finaled in the Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice, HOLT Medallion, and the Book Seller’s Best.

She lives in Maryland with her handsome husband, her two brilliant children (they get it from her, of course!), and her beloved furbabies, Dutch and Dixie Joan Wilder (Yes – THE Joan Wilder)

Drop her a line at robin@robincovingtonromance.com – she always writes back.

Social Media Links:

Email: robin@robincovingtonromance.com

Website: http://www.robincovingtonromance.com

Facebook Profile: http://on.fb.me/YSW9n3

Facebook Page: http://on.fb.me/1fCyWuQ

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RobinCovington

Tumblr: http://robincovingtonromance.tumblr.com

Instagram: https://instagram.com/robincovington/

Pinterest: http://bit.ly/1c1Tm5u

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Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5812874.Robin_Covington

Street Team: http://on.fb.me/1hZdeEu

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Bookbub Follow: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/robin-covington

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Kelly Maher is the author of contemporary romances that feature smart heroines, witty heroes, and settings that make you feel like you’reliving there. A city girl at heart, Kelly currently lives in DC where she works as a librarian when not writing.

Website: http://www.kellymaher.com

Cate Tayler is a beach baby, born and raised on the Connecticut coastline. She met the love of her life while serving in the US Air Force, and after extensive overseas travel, they are now raising their four children in the wild suburbs of Maryland. In addition to writing contemporary romance–always with a happy ending!–her passions include cooking, everything 80s, sappy Hallmark movies, Wonder Woman, and the Miami Dolphins.

Connect with me:
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