Equipment Check! Signings, Social Media Events, and Travel Checklist

Know what you need, where it is, and how to use it – before you need it. Do an equipment check – both to ensure that you have everything you need and that it’s in good, working order prior to your event or travel. It’s also a good idea to keep a packing list when you travel, to ensure that everything you brought with you is accounted for and packed for the return trip.

Well, that’s a no-brainer, now, isn’t it? Nothing like fumbling with your new smartphone and sixty-two photo editing apps in the middle of that cool festival you’re covering. Or – like I almost did, yesterday, on a photowalk with my son – forgetting to put your SDHC card back in your camera after inserting it into your PC to load photos taken at the last outing. Ever put the wrong charging adapter into the backpack? Forget to pack the USB stick containing your presentation? Leave the spare batteries at home or forget to give them a fresh charge the night before? Have your pen clump up or stop flowing right in the middle of signing a book? So many little things that can go wrong and spoil the moment.

When it counts, you need a checklist. The items will vary, depending on the event – but advance planning goes a long way to ensuring success! Travel light; take as little as you need. Consider packing the following:

Book Signings, Presentations, Festivals, and Fairs

_ Adequate copies of your book(s) with prices shown.

_ Cash to make change, if selling books.

_ Smartphone credit card reader, if selling books.

_ Lightweight display stands. For small quantities of books, foldable stands are extra portable and inexpensive.

_ Marketing collateral (bookmarks, book-plates, brochures, etc.); candy; decorations.

_ Business cards.

_ Pen(s) that can’t fail, for signing books and taking notes. Some of us can kill a ball-point pen just by looking at it sideways. Extra fine felt tip pens or gel rollers usually work best.

_ PC/tablet or paper notebook for note-taking and/or presentations.

_ Copy of presentation slides or images on a USB thumb drive. (You can borrow someone else’s PC if yours isn’t compatible with the projector. You can carry your files in your pocket so you don’t rely just on the hard drive or ability to access the Internet to get to the backup in the cloud.)

_ Electronic pointer/remote control for PowerPoint slides, if presenting. USB adapter for bluetooth/wireless connection, if needed.

_ Dongle/cable for projector equipment, if not provided (check with event organizers if one might be needed).

_ Smartphone and charging adapter. A good smartphone also has a good front and rear-facing camera (5MP or above) and is loaded with apps you use and know how to use. (Check: Is your smartphone backing up your photos to cloud storage? If not, consider turning this feature on for important events and travel.)

_ Power strip. Are there ever enough outlets??

_ Ready-bag and/or waterproof plastic bins to hold it all!

Event Coverage/Travel

_ Business cards.

_ Pen(s) that can’t fail, for signing books and taking notes. Some of us can kill a ball-point pen just by looking at it sideways. Extra fine felt tip pens or gel rollers usually work best.

_ PC/tablet/paper notebook for note-taking, live blogging, presentations.

_ Stylus (for PC/tablet/smartphone).

_ Smartphone. A good smartphone also has a good front and rear-facing camera (5MP or above) and is loaded with apps you use and know how to use. (Check: Is your smartphone backing up your photos to cloud storage? If not, consider turning this feature on for important events and travel.)

_ Camera(s), lenses and lens caps, filters, cleaning cloths; batteries. If traveling, take everything you might need, but nothing you won’t. Pack efficiently.

_ Small, flexible tripod with universal adapter that can be used for both your smartphone and your camera.

_ Spare memory cards for photo storage. Faster is better, if your camera supports it.

_ Spare batteries, charging adapters, and cables for all devices. Make sure that you have the right batteries, adapters, and cables for the devices you’ll be using – that you didn’t accidentally pick up the ones for the devices you’re leaving at home!

_ Travel adapters (make sure you understand whether you need an adapter for the wall outlet prongs or a converter for the voltage supported by your device(s)!)

_ Power strip. Are there ever enough outlets??

_ Ready-bag to hold it all! (Can you get everything you need – plus wallet, passport, keys, etc. – into a single backpack and carry it all day without damaging your spine? Consider a safari jacket with lots of extra pockets.)

Be Prepared

When using new equipment or apps for your PC or smartphone, it pays to play with them intensively for a couple of days until you understand the features and how they work; are comfortable with using them; and can explain them to someone else. Have backup and contingency plans in case a key piece of equipment fails or an app fails to perform as intended. It happens – no matter how expert you are, it happens. Don’t spend all your time trying to troubleshoot something that didn’t quite work – laugh it off and move on. If you are taking that trip of a lifetime, don’t rely on just one camera, memory card, or battery, alone.

At least two days before the event (or departure on your trip) make sure your equipment is in good working order and all batteries are charged. If you have a smartphone, will you really need to travel with that notebook PC and tablet? Consider baggage fees, risk of loss/damage, exertion and exhaustion: You are not a camel or a donkey. Pack light.

Your Turn

Anything I’ve missed on my packing list?

HollyJahangiri

Holly Jahangiri is the author of Trockle; A Puppy, Not a Guppy; Innocents & Demons; and A New Leaf for Lyle. You can find her books on Amazon at http://amazon.com/author/hollyjahangiri. For more information on her children's books, please visit http://jahangiri.us/books.
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5 thoughts on “Equipment Check! Signings, Social Media Events, and Travel Checklist”

    1. Passport. ID. She’ll have her pen, of course. And paper. Underwear, if driving. Might forget it, if flying. Does she wear contact lenses? The solution – OR the case (not both – she’ll remember half of it). Charger for the cell phone – or she’ll bring the WRONG charger for the cell phone. Used to be, I’d say hair dryer, but every hotel has one now. Dress shoes. Lovely outfit to wear with hiking boots, isn’t it?

      It’s always something. She’s too busy thinking about what her characters are up to to remember what SHE’S up to – unless maybe she visualizes the whole trip as scenes in her novel, acts them out mentally, and packs as she goes. Sometimes that works.
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