Young Adult

So I’m going to BEA… NOW WHAT?!

FINALLY! The stars have aligned and I am able to go for the first time to BEA. I was pretty iffy about it for a while, but things just started to fall neatly into place and I decided that I am 100% going (unless some catastrophe hits <knock on wood>).


I have a roommate (and we’re hoping to find a couple more ladies to room with us!). I potentially have a travel buddy for when I land in the city. I’m super duper excited about going. But I am feeling like I have a million questions and am getting kind of nervous about so many things!

Luckily for me, many of my blogging friends and followers have been to BEA, so I feel like I have so many wonderful resources to go to for all my questions/worries. I thought I’d write a post about it in case you want to weigh in. Or maybe you’re going to BEA for the first time too and are having these same questions/worries!

What to pack?

This is probably my most nerve wracking question. Despite the fact that I’ve been packing for myself for probably 25 or so years, I still get nervous about what to pack when I go on new trips or to new places. I’m also a notorious over-packer. Seriously, I have a huge habit of packing enough for 3 weeks when I’m only going for 3 days. So I’m really wanting to avoid this… Here are the specific questions I have:

  • What type of suitcase? Should I just do a small carry-on suitcase (I am the QUEEN of packing carry-ons) or a small carry-on suitcase and a larger one? I’ve heard some people suggest bringing a larger suitcase to pack all the books and such you pick up, but as most airlines charge you for bags now, I was trying to avoid that extra fee.
    • True story: last time (only time) I went to NYC I managed to pack all my stuff for 4 day trip in February (note: thick winter clothes) in a small carry-on. I had to stop myself from telling everyone in the airport because I was so proud of myself.
  • What to wear? Like packing, I’ve been dressing myself for quite some time now. And I’m pretty sure I have a general idea of what to wear. But for those of you who have been, what have you found to be most comfortable yet still nice while walking around? Is it cold inside the convention center or a little on the warmer side? Pants, skirts, dresses?
    • Shoes are my biggest hurtle. While I have my trusty pair of comfy shoes that I wear to the trade shows I work at, they are hideous and I refuse to wear them to BEA.
  • Are there evening events where I will need an outfit change? While I guess this question mainly depends on what my plans are up there, I don’t want to not pack a nicer going out outfit and oops! Sorry, can’t go to this party/drinks meet-up/etc. because I didn’t bring anything nicer than jeans and tshirts.

Β What all is going on during the week?

I understand that this will probably depend on plans I make BEFORE I get up there, and that I will most likely just tag along with people because I’m not really picky, but what are some things that are “must dos” while at BEA? Which brings me to my next question…

What are some BEA don’ts?

I think my biggest concern with this is that I want to do it all, but don’t want to do things that will turn out to be a waste of time and have missed something a lot more meaningful. For example: I’ve heard for a couple years now that the Bloggers Convention, while interesting, is more or less a “how to be a good blogger” info session. While I’m sure I can use some blogging tips, I’d much rather save $150 and go grab coffee with some of my favorite bloggers and just chat about books, blogging, likes, dislikes, etc. What are some things that you’ve done and would now advise others to skip?

Any other advice for a BEA newbie?

There are so many questions I have, but they are probably ones that I’ll just have to discover the answers to on my own. That being said, are there any tips or advice you’d like to share? Maybe things like “bring a large tote bag instead of a purse” or “invest in a good ___ because it will be your best friend.”

Brittany @ The Book Addict’s Guide posted last year (I believe) some great BEA tips and how-tos. I definitely will be using some of her good advice! If you’ve posted something about BEA, let me know and I’ll link it here so others can check out your good advice!


5 thoughts on “So I’m going to BEA… NOW WHAT?!”

  1. I have LOTS of advice haha! πŸ˜€
    What to pack? — I packed minimal clothes. I wore dresses to BEA (you don’t have to but it was nice for the heat and to feel a bit dressier. People wear nice jeans and that’s okay too) so that eliminated mutilple pieces for one day and that was easy to wear during the day and at night! I packed cardigans that went well with everything I was wearing (neutrals, black, white, gray, etc) so I could wear them with multiple outfits and not pack as many and same with shoes. For my suitcases, I had one carry on and two suitcases. On the way there, I tucked my small suitcase into my large so I only had to check one bag and then on the way back, all my clothes were in a duffel to carry on so I could use both suitcases for books πŸ˜€ (I filled both and they were still under 50 lbs each so I didn’t have to pay extra). There may be evening events! Some people go out and there was a blogger meet-up last year at a bar.
    What all is going on during the week? — BEA is a pretty full day! There’s a LOT to do and unfortunately it’s a LOT of standing around in line. I’d recommend hitting up ALL of the booths you can first thing in the morning. Grab their schedules with all of their author signings and galley drops and then plan your day around those. I’ve also made schedules beforehand (BEA will announce author signings) of everyone I REALLY wanted to see and prioritized them because you will not be able to go to everything you want to! I’d recommend getting into line for signings and drops at least a half hour before hand (Last year they weren’t letting us line up earlier for some) and if they’re very popular books/authors, at least an hour beforehand (hence why you won’t be able to hit up everything you want to!) and bring a book to read in line if you wont’ be talking with friends πŸ™‚
    What are some BEA don’ts? — I’ve never been to BloggerCon but I’ve heard it’s not THAT important. I think there’s some good stuff there but I’m not sure if it’s worth the extra time and money (I’d say ask someone who has gone!) but I didn’t feel like I was missing TOO much. Of course the only other biggest DO (which falls under don’t kind of) is to act “professionally” aka, don’t run or shove (honestly, it happens) and don’t take more than one galley at a drop, even if it’s for someone else (unless they’re literally standing right there and you’re handing it to them). The galleys go FAST at BEA so it’s a no-no to take more than one, even if you’re taking it to send to a friend.
    Any other advice for a BEA newbie? — A huge tote or backpack really is your best friend on the floor! YOu can’t possible carry everything and suitcases aren’t allowed on the floor. Carry some extra cash to check your suitcase. Business cards if you want them. A water bottle + snacks so you don’t have to pay for them… Hmmm I can’t think of anything else at the moment but PLEASE hit me up if you have questions! πŸ˜€


  2. Candice, I’m so glad you are going to BEA this year! I’ve only been to BEA once, and I’m certainly no expert but I can tell you my experiences.

    For clothes, I’d bring layers. Last year it wasn’t hot in NYC, and sometimes in the morning it was a bit chilly. I wasn’t that cold in the convention center, because there were so may people packed in, but sometimes the workshop rooms were cold.

    I personally didn’t bring anything fancy. I wore a nice pair of jeans and nice tops. You could wear a dress or a skirt, but I don’t think that’s necessary. If you WANT to, then go for it. Lots of people will be in dresses, but if you don’t want to, don’t worry about it. You’re going to feel pretty haggard at the end of the day (or even half way through the day), so I think comfort is the most important thing. Of course, try to look a bit put together, but I wouldn’t stress about it too much.

    Definitely take some time to figure out what shoes. I brought my toms, and generally they are really comfortable, but my feet were aching at the end of the day. I actually think this year I’m going to get a cute pair of keds. They have a bit more support (gosh I sound like an old lady), and I like that they are lace up.

    I never went to any BEA or Publisher events outside of BEA, so I never needed to change my outfit. Perhaps you could bring one dress in case you feel the need to get a bit more dressed up.

    I haven’t gone to the Blogger Conference, but I’ve heard similar things. I’m actually only going to be in NYC Wed-Fri. I leave Friday night. I live in Central New York, so I can do that!

    I don’t fly into NYC, I take the train, so I’m not sure about carry on or not. Last year, I packed a lot of the books in my suitcase and brought them home with me. But a few I shipped, which was pricey, but seriously so easy. They have a mail center at the convention center, and you can dump all your books in boxes during the day and when you’re done you pay for it. But that is pricey, but also so easy, it might be worth it.

    As for being at BEA advice – don’t bring a purse. Bring a tote bag, and stuff your wallet, phone etc in there. You can also check a suitcase (outside where the actual BEA floor is) for a couple bucks and go back to that when you want to drop of books. When on the BEA floor people will also be giving away lots of totes, too.

    BEA is basically, hurry up and get in line. And then you wait . . . and wait . . . and wait. But it truthfully is so much fun. If we have the time, we should totally meet up!!! Where are you staying?


  3. YAY! I don’t think I will ever go to BEA (conventions in general sound terrible to me- crowds are not my thing), but I really wish I could do something like this so I could meet up with my blog friends in person. I really hope you have tons and tons and tons of fun, though!


  4. Hooray, I will see you at BEA! (And yes, I totally wanted that to rhyme.) But seriously, I’m sure you’re going to get tons of great advice on this! As a native NYC/NJ resident, I won’t be able to help out much when it comes to the packing & suitcases. But I do have thoughts on how to dress! For me, you can actually dress pretty casual at BEA, but it’s always best to just go with a business casual look. (But really, I was in jeans and a shirt last year, though I did toss a blazer on and wear nice flats). Plus, you should always wear flats when you’re on the floor! Your feet will definitely thank you for it πŸ™‚

    As for BEA itself, I’d suggest that you figure out what your “musts” are, like the authors you really want to see or the books you’re really interested in. It’ll help you get a general idea of what your goal is and then you can plan your schedule accordingly. Also, bring snacks and water because lines can be really long waits and it’s always good to have those things on you! Outside of BEA, I’d suggest seeing a show, going out to a nice dinner or going to blogger meet-ups πŸ™‚


  5. First time BEA is so exciting! Congrats! My biggest advice is to bring a wheeled suitcase TO the Javits Center. No matter how disciplined you think you’ll be, you are going to get a ton of arcs. You can stash books in quiet moments in your suitcase in coat check. You shoulders will thank you. Also you will get tons of tote bags but bring one really good sturdy one to see you through. I usually bring a carry on size suitcase to Javits and use it for the day to get books home. Even when I was super picky I wound up with a full bag at the end of the day

    For clothes I always go business casual which is usually a nice top and skirt or dresses and leggings depending on weather. You can wear jeans or more casual clothes but it’s always nice to make a good impression–also if you end up going to a meet up/party/event after you are ready to go. I almost never need it but I also try to bring a light cardigan or sweater just in case it gets cold in the Javits.

    In terms of going to BEA daily you should bring water (there are water fountains to refill), some light snacks and a phone charger because service is TERRIBLE.

    I wear comfy shoes from Sanuk Brand. They’re sort of like Tom’s. They saw me through months of working retail where I was on my feet for hours. If you think you want to wear cuter shoes, I’d definitely say bring a pair of something comfortable to change into just in case. If you are doing a lot of signings you are going to be on your feet A LOT for several days in a row.

    I also have a blog post of all the things I wish I’d known for my first BEA:


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