As an author and illustrator constantly on the move, I’m asked, “What’s the best book event travel bag?” The best event bag evolves from situations at events: “Did you have a safety-pin? Do you have a poncho? Do you have a Band-Aid?”
Below is a list of my longest lasting, preferred, and regularly used supplies for events. A good book event pack has everything necessary for events or airport travel. The big stuff: tents, tent weights, table, etc., are not a part of this list.
Ciao Rolling Carry On Bag: Rolling bags with retractable handles reduce heavy lifting. This bag carries up to 10 hardbound books either vertical or horizontal format. Deep pockets are found on left and right sides, front panel includes 3 exterior pockets and 2 interior pockets. It has enough storage space, to become a heavy hauler. Add a custom luggage tag with a book cover image to market your book while traveling. AGP Carabiner clip(s) are excellent additions to hold keys, or secure the bag while traveling. Use carabiner clips as makeshift chains too.
Paper/Writing Utensils: I generally carry a 6 x 9 inch Best Sketchbook. It is not only for drawing and writing inspiration, but also to track potential event and client contact information. Small notepads, post-its, and loose notebook paper are used for short-term purposes: signs, tracking inventory, spelling of customer names, and newsletter sign-up sheets. Pack a variety of sharpies, ink pens, or even a stylus to write on any surface from paper or clothing to digital devices.
Tripar Small Adjustable Easels: These lightweight clear easels fold flat and look professional on any surface.
8-ft Tablecloth: Choose a lightweight or sheer fabric tablecloth that folds into a gallon Ziploc® bag. Press the air from the bag before closing to minimize storage space. A disposable plastic tablecloth is handy for outdoor events not only to cover tables, but also to protect books from water.
Marketing Materials: Business cards, bookmarks, price sheet, order forms, and shipping labels can all be stored neatly in an accordion plastic file folder for easy access. Using a waterproof filing system looks professional, minimizes search time, and protects documents from water damage.
Cutting & Binding Supplies: Metal scissors, box cutter, or pocket knife are helpful, but not allowed on airlines or in some public buildings. Carry all sharps (scissors, pins, including zip ties) in a hard plastic pencil box. The container stores items neatly and can be removed easily. Duct tape, clear shipping tape, zip ties (various sizes), safety pins, and lightweight rope are handy for hanging banners, packaging supplies, and securing items.
Credit Card Processing: SquareUp credit card reader is still my favorite. I carry my reader in a neoprene case outside my bag for quick access. The SquareUp app syncs across digital devices and can be used by multiple users.
First Aid/Personal Products: Travel size first aid kit, Band-Aids, hand sanitizer, pain relievers, lip balm, deodorant, tissues/wipes, sunscreen, and snacks are life savers! Use a small grooming kit to store items neatly for quick removal and discrete needs.
Weather Proofing: Plastic Ziploc® bags (various sizes), trash bags (various sizes), hooded poncho, hand-held fan, portable USB charger/flashlight, phone charger, and cable come in handy when traveling in the rain or long distances.
Yes, the Ciao Rolling Carry On Bag will carry this and more. With a decade of experience and four retired travel bags, I can say my event bag is “a speaker’s first aid kit.” Not all contents are used at events; however, they keep you out of a bind!