Ahead of 20Books Vegas, the annual four-day indie author conference hosted by 20BooksTo50K® creator Craig Martelle, a renewed era of travel has arrived—and it’s safe to say it’s more inconvenient than ever. In 2022, long lines, delays, and short staffing have all contributed to higher levels of stress and frustration as travelers return to in-person event attendance. With only a month left before one of the largest self-publishing conferences in the world, what’s an author to do?
We’ve been to 20Books Vegas before, so we’ve learned all the tricks and hacks that you need for the best conference experience. Although we’re not magically able to find extra planes, seats, or staff to ease the new reality of travel frustration, we can offer you a list of twenty products and travel hacks to make the trip a bit easier as you head to Las Vegas this November. From apps that offer added benefits to spritzes and serums to soothe your skin and ways to save time and money when you’re onsite, these are your must-haves for hitting the road once again.
Individual products are available on Amazon via the links provided, or view the complete list here. If you buy something using links in our stories, we may earn a commission. This helps support our magazine, but it won’t cost you anything extra.
Breeze Through the Airport
Planning should start with a Swiss Army tool to carry it all, and you’ll find it in this backpack: https://amzn.to/3LvUv8F. The three-compartment layout means your electronics can remain cushioned in the center for easy access during airport security. Other handy features include a spot to tuck your glasses, a water bottle pocket, a luggage sleeve so the backpack fits over your carry-on bag, and a built-in USB port on the outside—you can keep your portable charging battery inside and your mobile device tethered outside—and an RFID shield to keep your scannable passport information from any bad guys trolling the airport.
Stay warm, stylish, and organized while thwarting pickpockets with these infinity scarves (Black Infinity Scarf: https://amzn.to/3f9QBWY Plaid infinity scarf: https://amzn.to/3BZEjcF), which have a hidden zippered pocket to keep your valuables handy. The pocket is big enough for your mobile phone, boarding pass, and wallet, ensuring safe and easy access to what you need.
Slide through security without drama (llama) with these cute animal-themed compression socks: https://amzn.to/3LFaDVy. On long flights, compression garments can prevent ankle swelling and reduce the risk of blood clots often attributed to sitting for long periods of time, according to physicians at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.
(Don’t) Stay Thirsty, Friends
Studies show that flying causes dehydration and zaps your energy, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Keeping water on hand is a surefire way to combat the problem.
This water bottle https://amzn.to/3qVhMY3 is the perfect size for sipping often during long sessions and can be filled from the many hydration stations in airports and conference common areas. The flip top also locks securely to prevent spills.
Pro Tip: Clean and disinfect your bottle overnight with denture cleaning tablets to prevent bacteria and biofilm.
Another tip from frequent fliers? Don’t forget your electrolytes. “Electrolytes are minerals found in your blood that help regulate and control the balance of fluids in the body,” according to the Cleveland Clinic. “These minerals play a role in regulating blood pressure, muscle contraction and keep your system functioning properly.” https://amzn.to/3fcTdmI. These packets keep the wonder powder dry until you’re ready to tap it into your water bottle and give it a shake.
Spruce Up Between Sessions
Interacting in public means talking, and you should be prepared to do a lot of it over the four days of 20Books Vegas. In case your voice starts to get strained, keep some of these Throat Coat lozenges handy: https://amzn.to/3DIEyKk and stash this lip balm: https://amzn.to/3r3iZwp in one of your backpack pockets.
Of course, in a post-COVID world, you’ll need hand sanitizer: https://amzn.to/3xDBQlp and a place to store it. Use one of these hand sanitizer holders: https://amzn.to/3xDBQlp to carry it securely clipped to your backpack.
Dragon breath after the afternoon coffee break? Nip into the washroom and freshen your mouth with these small toothbrush alternatives called Wisps: https://amzn.to/3BZfTQB. They’re more effective than endlessly popping breath mints.
While you’re there, dab a little of this unscented Lume Deodorant where it’s needed: https://amzn.to/3BsMNr6 and give yourself a little wake-up call with this spritz water: https://amzn.to/3xESv8w. It’s cooling, soothing, and combats the drying effects of the sub-zero air conditioning at the conference.
Take Your Networking to the Next Level
Although plenty of 20Books-goers opt to bring a full-sized laptop, it’s far more efficient to just carry your iPad, phone, or tablet to sessions for note-taking. This Bluetooth keyboard: https://amzn.to/3BZMPZh connects and sets your tablet in the right position to type significant notes, and it comes with a spot for an Apple Pencil or stylus for handwritten notes, if you prefer.
Pro Tip: If you’re using a phone or tablet to take notes during a session, the Evernote app, available for Apple and Android users, will allow you to download the presenter’s PDF slides and mark them up digitally, as well as take photos of anything presented during the session for one complete record.
Worried about germs, or just don’t want the hassle of physical business cards? Here’s a touchless alternative. With POPL, add your contact information to the app in a secure profile, and then connect a contact with a tap or a QR code scan. You can also purchase devices like a sticky disk on the back of your phone, keychains, wrist badges, or metallic cards.
Pro Tip: Use link https://popl.co/?ref=indieauthormagazine and get 20 percent off with the coupon code: IndieAuthor
Get a Good Night’s Sleep …
Being away from home can lead to insomnia. Combat that with some pampering before bed to wind down—and remember that self-care has no gender. Start with removing the travel grime with these moisturizing cleansing cloths: https://amzn.to/3RaRdIZ, and then dab some eye cream: https://amzn.to/3dvF2Jk to reduce puffiness. Finish with this great vitamin C face serum: https://amzn.to/3fcVcYc, and you’re ready to catch some z’s.
Still can’t sleep? Tune out any ambient noise and light with an eye mask that doubles as a pair of Bluetooth headphones: https://amzn.to/3S2R77J. This model is designed for side sleepers and can be more comfortable than others on the market.
Pro Tip: Pair with the Calm app, available on Google Play and the Apple App Store, to tell you a sleep story, and you’re guaranteed to wake refreshed and ready for the next conference day.
… or Plenty of Caffeine
Whether it’s jet lag or a late night of conference shenanigans the night before, some people will still need a caffeine boost to make it out of their hotel room. Many hotels in Las Vegas do not offer a coffee maker in their rooms—they want you out and spending money on food and beverage in their establishments. Fortunately, we’ve got some ideas to try instead.
This folding kettle: https://amzn.to/3xJzVMt fits inconspicuously in any size bag and heats water in a snap before collapsing back down to travel size once again when you’re headed home. It’s perfect for several “cuppas,” but if you’re traveling solo, there’s a smaller solution in this heated travel mug: https://amzn.to/3BCUET6.
If you’re a coffee lover, try this handheld espresso maker: https://amzn.to/3f5s3hD for your morning brew. This machine uses small Nespresso pods and produces espresso shots with a few pumps of pressure and the hot water from your kettle. Our list includes three different flavors and strengths of pods to get you your wake-up juice for under one dollar per cup: Angelino’s Bold https://amzn.to/3Uw4kHG; Café Bustelo: https://amzn.to/3LFdj5y, and Lavazza: https://amzn.to/3BZRM4j.
Pro Tip: Lavazza also has a location inside the Bally’s Event Center, where 20Books Vegas is held. Visit their location throughout the day for an extra energy boost—after you’ve visited the infamous cake machine, of course.
With some careful planning and these secret weapons, you’re bound to have a great 20Books Vegas experience. We’ll see you there!
Have a product you love to use for your conference travels that’s not on this list? Let us know! We may feature it in future issues. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org