With General Assembly about a week away it’s time to start pulling together that list of supplies and gadgets you’ll need to insure, despite Murphy’s law, that your technology experience go as smoothly as possible. We in ITS have put together some tips on what to carry, and a handy checklist you can take with you as you run around gathering stuff for your trip.

Your Gadget Bag

If possible, use a carry-on or personal bag for all your tech stuff.  This way you know it’s all in one place and won’t wonder if your cell phone charger is in your toiletry bag.  If you can get it all in your laptop bag that’s perfect. There are supposedly checkpoint friendly laptop bags out there that can help you breeze through airport security without taking your computer out of the bag for a scan.  I however have always had to send mine through the scan separately.  Make sure you have easy access to your laptop.  Don’t put your laptop or gadget bag into your checked baggage – carry it on.  You don’t want all your important communications and storage devices and power cables to end up down under. It’s beautiful there but the conference is in North Carolina.  When packing the bag you might want to use twist ties on all those cables to save on frustration later.  If you are super organized then try this special geek knot tip. If you like to travel as light as possible; buy what you can when you get there.  Why haul it around if you can get it easily once you are there.

Easy Access to Your Files

If you have files (Ex: PowerPoint slideshows, Flyers, etc.) that you’ll need at GA, we highly recommend you bring a copy with you on a laptop or flash drive AND put a copy somewhere on the internet that you can access. If you are looking for a place to park files on the internet, some great free options include: weTransfer, Dropbox, and Gmail. The idea here is that you’ll have quick access to any file you want during GA.

Note: If you need a file at GA with sensitive information such as credit card or social security numbers, please check with IT about safe handling of that data.

Before You Head to Charlotte – Tech Checklist

Try to get everything in one bag, including your laptop.

  • Laptop sleeve if it’s going in a larger bag (also good protection if you need to pull it out of the larger bag and place it in a bin for scanning)
  • Laptop power cable
  • Mouse (using a trackpad for hours on end in a stressful situation can result in RSI)
  • Cell phone charger
  • Phone or PDA sync cable if you sync it with your computer
  • Camera with media-storage device
  • Extra or rechargeable batteries for all gadgets
  • MP3 player (charger, sync cable)
  • Calculator (a feature of many cell phones)
  • Lanyards (for your camera or cell phone)
  • Extra flash drives or storage discs
  • Download some relaxing sounds so you can escape from the chaos for 5 minutes

Shoot an email to helpdesk@uua.org if you think there is something we should add to this list.

Other Goodness

Travel and Venue Information
The General Assembly Blog
Tech tips while at GA

About the Author
Tim Griffin